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).
Tall Ship Irene
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.
In the previous week, Tall Ship Royalist also moored in Weymouth Harbour, also right behind Aaran Guesthouse. She has been a frequent visitor to Weymouth, often “popping” in for a night or two en route to other Sea Cadet ports around the UK. At nighttime, she is illuminated by uplighters on her masts, which makes for a very pretty sight when strolling around the Harbour.
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.
Weymouth Harbour Lions Club swim 25th December 2018
Christmas Day Harbour Swim for Charity, organised by the Lions Club
Every year, Weymouth Lions Club organises a charity swim across the Harbour to raise money for worthwhile causes. In recent years, the numbers of swimmers has risen to 500 or so and up to £20,000 can be raised. There are so many participants, the races have to split into 5 or 6 groups, for safety. Many entrants dress up in fancy costumes (which can be risky as my Nephew Karl found out one year!) The event is fully marshalled and safety crews are present on land and in the water, so everyone is safe.
Of course, if the Harbour Swim feels a bit chilly, then you can always try a spot of Ice Skating outside Debenhams in the Town.
The Trawler Nereus put into Weymouth Harbour, today around 8:30am, presumably to avoid stormy conditions in the Channel.
Nereus’ registration number is INS172, IMO 9634036, MMSI 235096106, 184 tons, call sign – 2GBQ9. She is a twin-rig, freezer prawn trawler, 19m, completed in 2015 by MacDuff. Just one of many fascinating vessels to be seen in Weymouth Harbour.
Weymouth Waterfest – filmed by Aaran House and donated to WHGLA.org.uk
Waterfest Weymouth – held in 2014, 2015 and 2016
Waterfest Weymouth took place in September, for 3 years, running from 2014 to 2016. Weymouth Bid sponsored the event, which included tall ships, gig racing and numerous demonstrations. There were exhibits of seaman crafts as well as rope and knots and how to identify them. Captain Jack Sparrow wandered about, chatting to visitors. Small yachts tacked back and forth across the Harbour. Gracing the waters were a number of historic vessels. These included Tall Ship Le Marite, the 1921 LT472 fishing smack Excelsior from Lowestoft, Sir Francis Chichester’s Gypsy Moth IV and TS Jack Petchey, among others.
Highlights of the event included “water-boarding”, but not like the CIA version. Here, water jets from a Jet-ski powered a hover board, propelling the rider 20 feet into the air in aerial acrobatics. There were also food and memento stalls dotted along the Harbour side.
TS Royalist and TS Pelican of London
TS Royalist is a training ship, She is a two-mast Brig, built in Spain at the at the Astilleros Gondan yards. The sailing ship honours the name of her sponsor, the Priness Royal and is the flaghip of the Sea Cadets. The ship boards up to 24 cadets and 10 staff and has her home port in Gosport, near Portsmouth. This present incarnation of the Royalist is a faster, sleeker design than previously, which permits better use of space and improved handling. Royalist is 32m long and 28m tall. Her IMO number is 9717369 and IMSI number is 235107983. Royalist's call sign is 2HZW6. Your author has sailed on the Pelican , around Weymouth Bay, an unforgettable experience.
TS Pelican of London
Pelican is another training ship, managed by "Advertures Under Sail". Built in 1948 as a steel-hulled recreation of French Clippers of the 19th Century. The ship is a square-rigger with an extra poop deck and is capable of ocean-wide voyages. Technically, she is a "Barquantine 3" rig, 35m long and 21m tall. Pelican can accommodate up to 32 trainees and 7 crew. IMO number is 5273329. Her IMSI number is 235057336. Call sign is MWAQ. Her builders, Chantiers et AteliersAugustin Normand, Le Havre, Normandy can be very proud of their work in this fine vessel.
Kaskelot and Bristolian
In 1948, J Ring-Anderson at the Svendborg shipyard in Denmark built Kaskelot as a 3 masted Barque for the Greenland Trading Company. Kaskelot is one of the largest wooden vessels still sailing. She is 47m long and 32m tall. Passengers can enjoy any of 8 cabins and there are several showers and facilities in addition. The ship has featured in a number of significant films, including Shackleton, Treasure and The Three Musketeers as well as Poldark. However, it was TS Pelican of London which attempted the recreation of Shackleton's ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic in 2014. Kaskelot details are: IMO - 5183120, IMSI - 235000132, Call sign - GDQK.
The Bristolian is a modern super-yacht, built by Yachting Developments, Auckland, New Zealand. She has an epoxy-binded kevlar/carbon fibre composite laminate hull and grp superstructure. The superyacht dates from 2008 and is 37m long and over 20m 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!
Queen Galadriel and Liara
Queen Galadriel is a converted trading vessel, built at Svendborg in Denmark in 1937. Originally the "Else", she was sympathetically restored and re-rigged as a Gaff Ketch in 1983 by the Cirdan Trust, for use as a youth sailing training vessel. She houses up to 16 trainees and 4 crew. She is 24m long and 28m tall. MMSI number is - 235015328 and call sign is - MCZD6. Galadriel often competes in the Tall Ships races to overseas ports. We think Queen Galadriel was one of the historic vessels present during the filming of "Dunkirk" in Weymouth Harbour (please accept our apologies if we are wrong).
The Liara was built in 2009 as a super yacht by Southern Ocean Marine in New Zealand. More recently, she has figured in sales listings at Boat International (2015) by Tim Langmead for Camper and Nicholsons at about €5.5million. Liara is a 9 berth, 3 cabin luxury super yacht fit for ocean racing, constructed in advanced composites, She is RINA Classified (Royal Institute of Naval Architects) and MCA Compiant (Maritime and Coastguard Agency). The yacht is 30m long and cruises comfortably at 13 knots. Having seen the interior at close range, your author can vouch for the stunning decor and abundance of luxury trappings. MMSI is 376355000 and call sign is J8Y3915.
Nao Victoria and the four "Challengers"
Nao Victoria is a replica of the Sanish Carrack or "Nao", which Magellan used to sail around the World in 1522. In 1992, Fundacion Nao Victoria built the replica as a self-contained floating museum and demonstration of Elizabethan sailing practices and conditions. The replica has also toured around the World and served as an exhibition of "exploration" vessels in many countries. Nao Victoria is 25m long, with MMSI number 224123770 and call sign ECHH. She sailed into Weymouth Harbour in April last year and featured on-board tours and "pirates" singing shanties up till mid-May.
Tall Ships Challenge (numbers 1 to 4)
The Tall Ships Challenger yachts belong to a fleet of racing craft, intended to race globally in what is regarded as the "wrong direction". The vessels serve as training craft, operated by the Tall Ships Youth Trust. Each of the four yachts can accommodate up to 18 crew members and, here in Weymouth, we often see the whole fleet right behind Aaran House. Geberal details are: length - 22m, 27.5m tall, beam cutter rigging, steel hulls, laid down 2000,
Stavros S Niarchos and TS Royalist by night
Stavros S Niarchos
In 2000, the Sail Training Association built the Stavros S Niarchos as a 50m long, 37m tall brig with square rigging. Mr Niarchos was a Greek businessman and philanthropist who donated his yachts in the 1950's to take part in the first Tall Ships Races. Maximum crew complement is 67 (48 passengers/trainees). The ship was auctioned under Berthon/ later Eggar Forrester, management in 2017 and now sails under the name "Sunset". We do not know who are the new owners. Under the name Sunset, her details are: IMO - 9222314, MMSI - 248868000, call sign - 9HA4838, Maltese flag, home port London, currently believed to be in the Piraeus area.
TS Royalist by night
We see the TS Royalist quite often in Weymouth Harbour. Sometimes we are lucky enough to observe cadets in the rigging, furling the sails as she enters port. Sometimes, as in the above photograph, the mast lights illuminate the rigging at night, a beautiful sight.
TS Royalist is a Tall Ship, built in 2015 by Astilleros Gondan, designed by Acubens as a brig and is now the Flagship of the Sea Cadets, Named by the Princess Royal, she boards up to 24 Cadets ans 10 staff, typically on 6-day "missions". She is currently bound for Plymouth. Her identification details are : IMO = 9717369, MMSI = 235107983, length = 32m, beam = 8m, draught = 3m, Call Sign = 2HZW6
Dunkirk, the wartime evacuation, heavily involved Weymouth Harbour and the armada of small boats. Therefore, it was appropriate that Dunkirk, the 2017 movie, also featured the port. Today is the second anniversary since filming. The crew were present for a week, during which time they transformed Custom House Quay into a wartime scene, as if by magic.
The cast included Tom Hardy, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Branagh. Naturally, there were hundreds of young ladies watching the proceedings in the hope of catching a glimpse of Mr Styles! Christopher Nolan directed the movie, which depicted this pivotal moment of the War via 3 perspective stories. The evacuation sequences included several short scenes from the area directly behind Aaran House. In the war, up to 450,000 troops were to use the Harbour again as they set off for the D-Day Landings.
Weymouth Harbour is one of the prettiest in the UK and it is easy to see why. There are colourful cottages, fine restaurants and inviting pubs dotted amongst Georgian architecture and interesting alleyways, leading to quaint shops (and more pubs!) All this and Tall Ships as well!
Because of its peace and picturesque charms, thousands of visitors enjoy strolling along the harbour side and watching the many pleasure craft and fishing vessels coming and going. Read More
HMS Vigilant manouvreing in Weymouth Harbour
Coastal Patrol Vessels
HMS Vigilant last visited Weymouth Harbour in March, this year. Because she is a fairly large ship, Vigilant moors behind Aaran House, where the water is deeper. The ship is named a few different ways, including prefixes of - PV, HMRC, HMCC and HMC (Her Majesty;s Cutter). She is a coastal patrol ship, operating to protect the UK's customs perimeter. Built in 2003, her MMSI number is 235521000: her IMO is 9276353: her call sign is ZITI4. Vigilant is 43m long, with gross tonnage of 238 Tonnes. Crew conditions are relatively good, with "double-box" quarters to minimise noise fatigue.
Sea Cadet Training Ships
Another visitor to Weymouth Harbour has been TS Jack Petchey (mentioned in other posts). She is a training ship for Sea Cadets. The first time we observed her, right behond Aaran House, we overheard an interesting "conversation". A training Officer was calling out "Nigel!, Nigel!". It transpired that "Nigel" had been ordered to empty the slops over the side but had instead emptied several general waste bins plus some important training videos. The next hour or so was spent by cadets attempting to fish the bedraggled videos out of the Harbour from a small dinghy, under the especially stern gaze of the Officers!
HMS Puncher is another Sea Cadet training vessel, sometimes visiting Weymouth Harbour. She is a fast patrol vessel, MMSI - 232002940, call sign GAAW, length - 20m, believed to have taken part in Nato Execrises in 2017 and supporting the Olympics in 2012.
Navy Hydrographic Survey
We briefly glimpsed HMS Magpie as she entered Weymouth Harbour in April, this year. Magpie is the newest addition (at the time of writing) to the Royal Navy's hydrographic survey fleet. She began sea trials just 1 month after launch, in Spring.
Coastguard Helicopter Rescue Team
Finally, although this list of Navy vessels is far from complete, we felt it appropriate to add a brief film clip of our Coastguard Helicopter Rescue Team in training action, before closure of the Portland base. We want to thank the rescue crews for all their brave and tireless work in savings souls at sea for many years.