Haslar Marina, Gosport

John had jointly owned Golondrina, still berthed at Haslar, until two years ago. So it was natural to bring Fuga there in the first place. Fuga was initially laid up ashore during September at Gosport Boat Yard. We were too busy moving out of the house, and there was underwater work to prepare for the generator.

It was with great surprise and pleasure that we found that Haslar Marina offered a very reasonable winter mooring deal, and so we rapidly changed our plans to over-winter in Gosport rather than try to bash south. It proved to be an excellent decision.

Golondrina came to Haslar during the first year of operation, 1993, before most of the marina had been dredged out, and still occupies the same berth on 'C' pontoon. In those days, it was the attraction of a marina berth for only 160 a metre, plus VAT, that brought us here from Lymington Yacht Haven, who wanted more than twice that at that time. However, Haslar has to be one of the nicest marinas on the south coast, efficiently run by Ben Lippett and his team, who understand what boat owners really want.

Nowadays, Haslar has a smart marina office, and permanent buildings housing a restaurant, chandlery, yacht brokers, and numerous service operations. The car park, reclaimed using the mud dug out from the marina, has been laid out with hedges and trees. A really unusual and inspired investment was the re-commissioning of a Trinity House lightship to serve as a bar/restaurant with showers, toilets and laundry housed on the lower deck. The showers are the best in any marina along the south coast. Add to all this the easy access to the Solent from the marina, it takes a lot to beat it.

We enjoyed the company of some of our fellow boat-dwellers, and we also found that there was a lot to see in and around Gosport and Portsmouth. The regular ferry service across the harbour from Gosport berths near the railway station in Portsmouth. The new Gunwharf Quays shopping complex is just a short walk around the corner. We watched the 'Spinnaker Tower' develop, disappointed that it is not complete for us to see before we go. We stole a trip around Victory as part of the Docklands Christmas Fair - arriving so late that we talked our way past the gate without paying.. We haven't seen the Submarine museum, Mary Rose, Great Warrior, or the Naval fire power museum.

We partiularly enjoyed the rides out on our bikes past Gillkicker Fort and on to Lee on Solent, and on one occasion to Titchfield. The old railway lines have been turned into cycle tracks, including the branch line that went out to the old Ferry terminal in Stokes Bay.

With the help of Millenium funding, Gosport and Portsmouth are being transformed from the rather dour military towns of only a few years ago.

Our thanks especially to the people who helped us with our projects on the boat:

George at Tec-Sew Expert sprayhood modifications, bimini and 'tent' design
Sofia, Mike and Ian at R. Arthur Chandlery
Steve at Fluid Fabrications Stainless steel (bow roller, pulpit mods and other fittings

We have fond memories of Alan Tough, who died in February, but who impressed us with his courage in facing his illness, and his attitude to his work, in helping to maintain the standard of service at Haslar Marina.