The Weymouth 70.3 Iron Man event is the biggest and most popular in the UK. This year, 2,690 entrants took part in somewhat indifferent weather conditions. Early wind and rain caused the swimming section to be delayed till 7:25am and the course was shortened, because of the choppy water. The bike race and road race sections were not affected. George Goodwin won the men’s race, in a time of 3 hours 44 minutes and 2 seconds (although the official time awarded was two seconds longer – for unknown reasons). The ladies race was won, again, by India Lee. Thousands of spectators braved the showery weather to watch and appluad competitors as they came home. Once again, the finish line was just 50 yards from Aaran Guesthouse on the Pavilion forecourt.
On September 2nd, enironmental activists “Extinction Rebellion” took to the streets of Weymouth to draw attention to the variety of man-made emergencies facing us all. These dramatic threats include global warming, ocean pollution, food and natural resource loss, habitat and animal behaviour change and, of course, species extinction.
They marched along the Esplanade and through the centre of Town, where they marked predicted flood levels with coloured chalks on buildings and wrote alarming future facts on pavements everywhere. Some found the event irritating while most considered it a valid demonstration that time is running short on so many fronts and there is a growing urgency required of politicians and “World Actors” to take control and act in everyone’s interest.
Many reports in press, online and in Journals have pointed to a number of threatening changes in climate, population, supply of food, water, fuel, raw materials – you name it. Possibly the most frightening claim is that this time, the next “extinction event” where up to 75% of all species on Earth may be eliminated from the timeline – will not be as a result of nature but entirely the fault of mankind.
We were alerted to an event going on behind Aaran Guesthouse on 31st August by the booming voice of Steve Davies, Weymouth’s noted commentator. We emerged to find a raft race, between crews, mainly in fancy dress, proceeding from the Ferry Steps behind us to the steps on the opposite bank. There were about 8 crews: For us, the Vikings stood out, with sneaky tactics of squirting bale-out water over rival crews as they paddled nearby.
On the far bank was a welcoming committee, including a small dinosaur. About 100 people watched the event, which had all the flavour of a typical Weymouth activity – eccentric, fun and something always happening. We searched afterward for news online but could find none. We imagine the race may have been connected with RNLI Charity events concurrent in Bridport/West Bay and Poole. Anyway, it was a fun and interesting diversion from cleaning the kitchen (again!)
Weymouth Lifeboat Station was opended 150 years ago and this year, the event was celebrated with a flotilla of lifeboats through the ages. This took place right behind Aaran Guesthouse, in Weymouth Harbour, so we were well placed to view the parade of boats.
The UKBT Classic Beach Volleyball competition took place this year from 24th to 27th July, on the main beach, just yards from Aaran Guesthouse. Despite being snowed under with guests at this time of year, we were able to dash out and grab a few photographs of the proceedings. (We publish this on 18th September – that’s how busy it has been!)
There was music all day and hundreds of spectators were seated at the grandstand, constructed on the Beach. Local sponsors were Domvs (estate agents). Thousands of people watched (free) as the centre court and outside games continued. Weymouth is probably the best place to see this premier UK sporting competition, with added advantages of plenty of delghtful smal guesthouses and, equally important, great pubs and restaurants, immediately nearby.
Survey Drone overflies the Devonshire Buildings in Weymouth
Some people imagined it was Amazon delivering a “cloak of invisibility”. A few thought Putin was spying on us, or Facebook, or Google or any number of possibilities. In fact, it was a survey drone sent to image the buildings. The inspectors were looking at facias and roof structures for possible existing damage. Alternatively, they could assess risk of damage which might occur during Harbour Wall repairs later this year.
As “spy drones” go, this was a somewhat noisy affair. One could imagine Taliban fighters (etc) spotting the machine and shooting it out of skies within a few seconds of deployment. Onlookers noted a level of “dissatisfaction” among the populations of rooftop gulls, rooks and crows, during its flight pattern. We do not know whether militarised spy drones are quieter, but we hope so. It was difficult to determine the drone manufacturer nor make of camera carried, but the latter appeared similar to Canon-style video devices in common use. Flight times were about an hour each, in several sessions. Today, 17th, the Pavilion Theatre is under survey. This was a distinctly unusual instance of “sights in Weymouth Harbour“.
As for the Harbour Wall repairs, these start 30th September and last for several weeks, until early December. Preparatory works will lead onto reverberatory pile driving, followed by percussive piledriving, finishing and making good works. It is expected most of the nearby guesthouses, including ourselves, will close during these works, for reasons of noise, access and safety. We hope our respective guests will bear with us and come back afterwards, to enjoy our hospitality, perhaps in the Christmas Season or New Year.
We popped out and took a few images (gallery above) around Aaran Guesthouse, on the Northern side of the Harbour. Some of our guests wandered as far as Hope Square and reported live music bands and many more stalls along the Cove Row side of the Harbour. Over 40 food specialists displayed their wares, from the Pavilion Theatre forecourt, down the harbourside to the Town Bridge and back along Cove Row towards Hope Square. Numerous other stalls could be seen, dotted among the main displays and in a few of the Guesthouse rear yards (e.g. The Gloucester at The Lantana). Not forgetting, numerous permanent Pubs and Restaurants, serving great seafood all year round (e.g. Ship, George, Enfants Terrible)
The weather over the weekend was warm, with sunny spells and a light breeze – much appreciated while sitting enjoying the food and the scenery outside the Harbourside pubs. Tens of thousands of visitors crowded the Harbour, looking for the ideal meal among the many options. We spotted crispy squid, “experimental” marmalades (eg. carrot, parsnip, etc), crepes, specialist gin, oysters, Thai Cuisine, Paella, Chimonea-fired pizza, Organic Farm produce, local cheeses, produce from The Garlic Farm, Isle of Wight, as well as some “usual suspects” – Weird Fish, CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) and no less than THREE cooking stages, with famous chefs showing their skills and tips for the public. A great day for exploring with this afternoon (Sunday) still to go…
Cornish Pilot Gig racing has become a popular sport recently. Gig racing clubs have sprung up all over Dorset and the South West since around 2000. On Saturday, we saw 19 Gig boats from towns along the Jurassic Coast taking part in demonstration races, with casual and team competitors of all ages.
In addition to the gig races, there were numerous other events taking place around Weymouth. These included separate live music venues at the Town Bridge and across the Harbour in Hope Square. There were numerous stalls along the Harbourside on the South Bank as well as Celebration of the US Memorial Day on the Esplanade. There was a funfair on the Pavilion Forecourt and Fireworks in the evening to celebrate the new Town Council.
Hard8 is a Sunseeker luxury motor yacht of the 86 Class. Launched in 2017, she is estimated to be worth £4.25Million. There are four cabins in sumptious decor with accommodation for two crew members. She has a foredeck, aft deck, flybridge and a bespoke hard-top cover for inclement weather. Hard8 is powered by twin 500HP diesel engines and is capable of reaching 30 knots. She is just one of the many sights of Weymouth Harbour.
At a slightly more modest scale, we also like the cross-harbour Rowboat Ferry, which has been running for decades between the Melcombe Regis wall and Weymouth’s Nothe Fort steps.
The Bristolian is a modern super-yacht, built by Yachting Developments, Auckland, New Zealand. She has an epoxy-bound kevlar/carbon fibre composite laminate hull and glass reinforced plastic superstructure. The superyacht dates from 2008 and is 37m long and over 120 feet tall. The yacht accommodates 6 passengers and 6 crew. MMSI number is 235096432 and call sign is 2GDJ5. Cruising speed is 13 knots and the yacht is truly a breath of ocean-going luxury. The International Superyacht Society awarded Bristolian “Best in 24 – 40m class” in 2009. Overheard in conversation when moored in Weymouth, the recent refit may have cost as much as £8.4million! Allegedly, the yacht is currently for sale for approximately £18 million.
Superyacht Bristolian Stern view
It’s difficult to grasp just how very tall this ship is – but we tried. The mast reaches many metres above out 5-storey building, for example. Even crows would be dizzy trying to reach that crow’s nest!
Superyacht Bristolian Mast view