Friday 3 February 2012

Digging Holes in Portsmouth Harbour

This will affect small boats going in and out of Portsmouth harbour entrance during February and March 2012.  QHM Notice is as follows:

1.     NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Queen's Harbour Master Portsmouth that borehole works in support of the Capital Dredge programme for the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers will commence on the 04 February 2012 within the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth.

2.     27 borehole samples will be taken in the Approach Channel, Harbour Entrance and Harbour (Annex A).

3.     DEEP DIVER a Jackup barge (40m Length by 20m Beam) will conduct the borehole operations. Each bore hole will require DEEP DIVER to remain on station for approximately 48hrs. DEEP DIVER will display the appropriate signals in compliance with the COLREGS when conducting borehole operations.

4.     The first five boreholes will be sunk in the approaches to the harbour in order to familiarise local mariners with the rig.

5.     Whilst works are being carried out in the harbour entrance the small boat channel (GD 07/10 Refers) will be closed. Traffic management during this period will be enhanced by the Ministry of Defence Police supported by the Volunteer Harbour Patrol.

6.     Mariners are required to contact harbour control for traffic clearance on VHF Ch11 before transiting in and out of the harbour when the rig is working in the harbour entrance. Priority will be given to large vessels that have to commit early to passing through the entrance.

7.     Mariners are to keep a good lookout and pass DEEP DIVER where possible at reduced speed whilst borehole operations are being conducted. DEEP DIVER will maintain a listening watch on VHF Ch11.

8.     Whilst the barge is being jacked-up or refloated mariners will need to pay particular care when passing. To avoid mandatory speed limit reductions, the repositioning of rig in the harbour entrance and on the Hamilton bank will occur, when practicable, when moves of large vessels are not scheduled.

9.     QHM Harbour Control will be kept informed of the work in progress and may be contacted on VHF Ch 11 or by telephoning 023 92 723689 for the latest information.
It is envisaged that the works will last approximately 7 weeks.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Big Mutha

Would't it be fun if QHM titled their notices like that? We have a warning today that a nuclear sub is visiting on 28th September, details below. It got me wondering what the fuss was about, so a quick visit to Wikipedia throws this up. Our Vanguard class of subs are 491 feet long with a draught of 39 feet. Compare that with our aircraft carriers, not much longer at 686 feet but with a draught of only 26 feet. No wonder QHM is warning us to keep out of the way, squeezing a sub of that size up the Nab Channel will be tricky.

1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth that a Nuclear Powered Submarine will visit Portsmouth Harbour between the 28th September 2010 and the 03rd of October 2010.

2. Timings (including a closed channel) will be promulgated by the usual movements signal.

3. Mariners are advised that the Submarine whilst on passage between the Nab Tower and its berth is considered “a vessel constrained by her draught” as defined under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. Escorting tugs will display the appropriate signals for a vessel constrained by her draught. Vessels are to avoid taking any action that will impede her safe passage. LNTM 40/05 (Dormant Exclusion Zone for Underway Warships) will be enforced for this vessel during her transit into and out of harbour.

4. Police craft will be in attendance with the Submarine to enforce the requirements of this Local Notice to Mariners. They will be clearly identifiable and will be acting on the authority of the Queens Harbour Master. All vessels are to comply with their instructions. Mariners attention is also drawn to LNTM 28/07 (Keep Clear of Warship Berths) regarding the mandatory 100 metres exclusion zone whilst submarines are alongside in the harbour.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Exercise Solfire East 10 - Solent Disaster Practice

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Queen's Harbour Master Portsmouth that the annual SOLFIRE Exercise, designed to test emergency response procedures in the Solent, will take place on the afternoon of 21 September 2010.

  1. This year’s exercise, “SOLFIRE EAST 10” will be run by QHM Portsmouth from a Maritime Response Centre in Semaphore Tower and activities will be concentrated in the Spithead area and the southern part of Portsmouth Harbour. The scenario will include a simulated fire onboard a Wightlink Car Ferry in the Central Solent followed by a collision with a fuelling tanker alongside the Wightlink Moorings near Gunwharf leading to a minor oil pollution incident. The exercise is due to start at 1145 and will be completed by 1700.
  2. Units taking part will include the Wightlink Ferry ST HELEN, the Whitaker’s tanker WHITCHALLENGER, Ministry of Defence Police vessels, Tugs and Marine Services Craft from Serco Denholm and the HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter from Lee on Solent. Disruption to other users of the Harbour will be kept to a minimum however mariners are requested if possible to keep clear of participating vessels during the exercise.
  3. QHM Harbour Control will be kept informed of the progress of the exercise who may be contacted on VHF Channel 11 or by telephone on 02392 723694.
  4. Cancel this Local Notice To Mariners Wed 22nd Sep 2010 (6 days)

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Fog in the Solent

Saturday started as a very sunny day, so I took Salar out for a long-overdue fishing trip. Or so I had planned. We left Langstone in bright sunshine and headed to Dean Tail to catch a few mackerel for bait. Within minutes of arriving at the edge of the shipping lane, the Isle of Wight ominously disappeared, followed very quickly by everything more than a few yards away. Very creepy, it all happened in the space of just a few minutes and would have been very scary without my trusty chartplotter.

Fog can cause total disorientation with no landmarks in sight, but the wind was still at least F2 so I had a constant wave direction to give some sense of direction. However the GPS signal was still spot on so I knew exactly where I was, not in the shipping lane but probably a bit too near to be safe. I was a little concerned about the smaller coasters that may have slightly wobbly navigation. The AIS function is a godsend in these circumstances, and I am now a convert to the Class B signals. I used to be very scathing about the class B leisure craft transponders because we see so many bleeping away from marinas where owners had clearly forgotten to turn them off, and I thought that to fill the Solent with bleeps would hide the ones to really worry about, Class A bleeps from the likes of the Queen Victoria.

Anyhow, back to the fog story - I was keeping a very watchful eye on the plotter and the edge of the fog about 100 metres away when I received an AIS alert for a vessel heading straight for me - outside the shipping lane. Time to skedaddle I thought, then I noticed the speed indicated - 4.4 knots. Even a rusty coaster does twice that. It must be a sailing boat, and sure enough I just managed to glimpse a large yacht in the gloom. I pulled out my Plastimo aerosol foghorn (loud enough and cheap) and gave it a good hoot in the general direction, and it glided by at a safe distance. So Class B does have a place - particularly when I'm fishing in the fog!

Sunday 21 February 2010

Assist Hooks on Lures?

My wife brought back some fishing magazines from her work trip to the USA, and this article caught my eye. Plugs and lures sometimes fail to hook up on larger fish, and can come out due to leverage from the rigid lure pulling standard trebles free. This article recommends trying Assist hooks, traditionally used on jigs, as a plug and lure hook. The flexible link resolves the leverage problem and the wide gape hook will do a better job of hooking and holding larger fish. Judging from the state of that orange lure in the picture, it appears to work. To rig a lure with an assist hook, remove all the trebles and make up a short link from a wide gape hook to a split ring, with braid or twisted wire. Let the hook trail at the tail of the lure. Protect the knots or crimps with shrink tube and you are set to go. Click on the picture for a better look.

Monday 1 February 2010

It's often not what you think...

It's not what actually happens, its the circumstances in which they happen that affect our judgement. Sorry if that sounds heavy, but here's what I mean. Coming back from a day fishing with Arron in Salar, we motored into the marina at tickover speed, did the usual curve into the berth and put the engine into reverse to stop the boat just by the pontoon. Like I have done for the last 15 years - only this time the engine went dead. Salar bumped into the pontoon but luckily no damage done. We tied up and tried to find out what went wrong. She started easily, but as soon as I put her into gear she stalled. Hmmm, gearbox problem, or maybe the in-gear selector switch was shorting? Time to get Scott the engineer to have a look.

A few days later I got a call from Scott. In his best Kiwi he says "You've got about a metre of fishing net round yer prop mate, jammed tight and the prop won't move". Well there you are, obvious now. If the engine had cut suddenly at sea, I would have looked at the prop immediately as a floating rope or net would be the most likely cause. But two feet from my berth? Not the first thing to spring to mind anyway. Lesson learned - cover all options before attempting a diagnosis!

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Another small war... planned for 19-21 January in Stokes Bay. Nice of the Navy to warn the enemy beforehand. This will put paid to any ideas of fishing on the drop-off in front of Stokes Bay unless you want to get in the way of landing craft and what they call in the Notice to Mariners "Rotary Wing Aircraft". I always thought they were helicopters.

Thursday 3 December 2009

Cod Vs The Royal Navy

One of our favourite sheltered cod marks will be in the way of a practice war this weekend...

1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth that commencing Saturday 5th December through Thursday 10 December 2009 a Naval Amphibious Exercise involving a major Warship and its associated landing craft will be taking place in the Browndown / Stokes Bay areas of the Central Solent

2. The majority of the Amphibious Exercise will be conducted from the Warship lying at anchor between Spithead Number 10 Anchorage (SW of Gilkicker Point) and the beach at Browndown. The exercise will be conducted by both day and night and will include a number of Landing Craft and other small boats operating between the Warship at anchor and to or from the foreshore at Browndown.

3. Mariners are reminded of the requirement to remain at least 50 metres clear of any Warship at anchor as stipulated in the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth Order 2005 and repeated in LNTM 28/07 (Keep Clear of Warship Berths). For the duration of the exercise, this Exclusion Zone is extended to include all Landing Craft and associated Military Vessels transiting between the vessel at anchor and to or from the shoreline.

4. Extreme care is to be taken when approaching the Area of operations and QHM Harbour Control is to be informed of any immediate concerns

5. For the duration of the amphibious exercise QHM Harbour Control will be kept informed of the area of operations and may be contacted on VHF Ch 11 or by telephoning 02392723689 for the latest information

6. Cancel this Local Notice To Mariners Fri 11th Dec 2009 (9 days)