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…
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!
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
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 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.
(See also Nereus, Vigilant etc for Navy, fishing and special purpose vessels)