Wednesday, 21 August 2013
This is where I've chosen to moor my boat. As you can see its cheap for a reason: you don't have water in the pool all the time. However the pros outweight the cons; its very, very cheap. I couldn't possibly divulge how cheap it is, but I reckon I can insure the boat and pay for the mooring for around £300 a year, which when it comes to marine running costs is rediculously cheap. Yes, at neaps you're not going to have water around the boat for long, but if the tide times are right, you bugger off out into the Solent on the outgoing tide, have a play for a day and then wash in with the incoming. Or you just play in the harbour for a few hours and then come back. Sail up to Langstone, drop the hook, wait an hour or so, the water retreats and you walk ashore to the pub. Walk back to the boat, have a coffee, do some odd jobs and then the water comes back and you sail back to your mooring.
Tides play a big part of your life on a mooring like this, but I love the character of the place. Yes, there's a Marina not far away and the local cruising club is encroaching with their tidy and organised pontoons, but I love the lack of structure here, the higgledy-piggledy way the boats are laid out and the harbourmasters attitude to laying a mooring. I also like the attitude of the people here: no-one is serious and there are plenty of boat owners in the same position of running their boats on a shoestring budget.
We even have a few old houseboats dragged up onto the shore decades ago and still in use, remnants of an age where you could do such things without incurring the wrath of those that wish to control us. There's one small houseboat set aside on its own: its used by an old lady that uses it maybe one or twice a year (or maybe our visits to Eastney coincide only once or twice a year) and she uses it to get changed before she goes off and has a swim in the pool amongst the boats. Actually on the Hayling side one of the houseboats was once quite obviously an old WW2 era landing craft, possibly an old Higgins Boat, complete with drop down door.
The shingle beach is shallow and gives way to mud, so is ideal for swimming: no sudden drop-offs. Its also ideal for running a boat up onto to do any repairs. You just pick your spot and wait for the tide to go out. Then you have a good few hours to reseal that skin fitting or do a bit of scrubbing.