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!
Among the cars on display this time, were several fine MG’s and MGB’s, a couple of Rovers (2200TC and SD1), a lovely old Morris, Jaguars, Mercedes, a meticulous Singer Gazelle and a beautiful Alfa Lancia – which I would love to have driven off. Gorgeous!
With temperatures reaching 25 to 27 degC in Weymouth over the weekend, it was the hottest Easter for 70 years. The Harbour was the place to be. Crowds of people thronged the Harbour area, to watch the boats, to enjoy pubs and restaurants and to listen to live music by the Town Bridge. Behind Aaran Guesthouse, we noted a few luxury cruisers in Weymouth Harbour. Nearest to us was Argenta, a Prestige 630s class, costing somewhere from £1.2 to £2million. Further along the harbour were a few other luxury craft (below). We are now looking forward to the Seafood Festival in July, which always draws in tens of thousands of visitors and sees many luxury craft in the Harbour.
It was a very misty day when Tall Ship Irene first came into Weymouth Harbour. One could almost imagine a scene from Stephen King’s film, “The Mist”, with ghostly pirates shuffling along the decks in the fog. Irene was a cargo sailing ship, launched from Bridgwater in Somerset in 1907. She was designed as a Ketch with beaching abilities, so cargo could be more easily handled on river banks inland. without the need of a Harbour Pier. She had a long career hauling cargo, before a period of abandonment and neglect, before being restored as a houseboat. Later, she featured in a number of films and adverts, including “Pirates of the Caribbean” and depicted as “The Flying Dutchman” in the Tony Palmer film “Wagner”. (Extracts from https://classic-sailing.co.uk/article/irene-1907-history-ship). While in Weymouth, Irene was acting as a Sea Cadet training ship on a 2-day stopover.
TS Irene from the stern in fog
We were kindly sent a few more photographs by a Tall Ships fan. We reproduce those here by kind permission and we ask, could the donor please contact us again so we can credit these images properly..
Jigging in the Rigging TS Royalist sea cadets furling the mainsails
TS Prolific moored up right behind Aaran Guesthouse last night, leaving around 9:00 am this morning (19th April 2019). Another training ship, she has also been a prolific visitor to Weymouth Harbour and makes a very welcome sight among the fishing vessels and pleasure yachts. She is operated by the Ocean Youth Trust, built in 2005 in the style of traditional herring fishing boats.
TS Prolific viewed from Aaran House guest lounge just 15 yards away
On 10th April, an International Market arrived in Weymouth. This was one of dozens of events happening in Weymouth right throughout the year.There were a couple of dozen stalls stretching along St Thomas Street and around into the main shopping square. Several food stores tempted the passers-by – our favourite was the Churros stand! There were also jewellery, souvenirs and carved garden ornaments among the offerings –
Nearer to Debenhams, there were stalls selling clothing, shawls, bags, belts, watches and craftware, including polishing “gem”-stones – Something for everyone.
Bright for Sight run has previously been held on Boscombe Beach in Bournemouth and now, they have come to Weymouth. Our first such fun run was held on Saturday night, starting at 8:30pm, alongside the Pavilion Theatre. We strolled across the 50 yards or so to watch the start. Runners were dressed in bright colours and wore flashing lights, wherever they could.
The event was sponsored by Frith’s Opticians and raised over £1300 for Charity. A number of local businesses contributed and individual runners also raised sponsorship money. There were two distances, 5 km and 10 km. We hope this run will be back again soon and become a regular event on the Weymouth calendar.