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Elephant Boatyard

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Elephant Boatyard is situated on the south coast of England, within the River Hamble that flows into the northeast side of Southampton Water. It is a traditional boatyard that occasionally accommodates visitors, and is situated in the upper end of a river that is a yachting centre of considerable importance.

Elephant Boatyard is situated on the south coast of England, within the River Hamble that flows into the northeast side of Southampton Water. It is a traditional boatyard that occasionally accommodates visitors, and is situated in the upper end of a river that is a yachting centre of considerable importance.

Located within the protected waters of Southampton Waters and two and a half miles upriver, the boatyard offers complete protection. Although it can be safely accessed night or day, and at any state of the tide for most vessels, it is best that newcomers visit during daylight.
Please note

As this is a boatyard that accommodates visitors on an impromptu basis and on the berths of absent resident berth-holders, it is advisable to make contact during working- week hours in advance of any intended stay.




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Keyfacts for Elephant Boatyard



Last modified
July 17th 2018

Summary

A completely protected location with safe access.

Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideWater available via tapWaste disposal bins availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaSlipway availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaRigging services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaSail making or sail repair servicesTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometres


Nature
Marina or pontoon berthing facilitiesNavigation lights to support a night approach

Considerations
Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require considerationNote: harbour fees may be charged



Position and approaches
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Haven position

50° 52.956' N, 001° 18.218' W

This is the southernmost end of the hammerhead pontoon.


What are the key points of the approach?

The entry and the run-up thorough The Solent and Southampton Water are covered in
The Solent and Isle of Wight Route location coastal description. The River Hamble and its approaches are detailed the Deacons Marina and Boatyard Click to view haven entry.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Elephant Boatyard for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Deacons Marina and Boatyard - 0 miles NNE
  2. Swanwick Marina - 0.1 miles SE
  3. Universal Marina - 0.3 miles SSW
  4. Mercury Yacht Harbour - 0.5 miles SSW
  5. Port Hamble Marina - 0.9 miles SSW
  6. Hamble River Harbour Master - 1.1 miles S
  7. Warsash Sailing Club - 1.2 miles S
  8. Hamble Point Marina - 1.2 miles S
  9. Netley - 1.2 miles SW
  10. Saxon Wharf Marina - 2.1 miles WNW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Deacons Marina and Boatyard - 0 miles NNE
  2. Swanwick Marina - 0.1 miles SE
  3. Universal Marina - 0.3 miles SSW
  4. Mercury Yacht Harbour - 0.5 miles SSW
  5. Port Hamble Marina - 0.9 miles SSW
  6. Hamble River Harbour Master - 1.1 miles S
  7. Warsash Sailing Club - 1.2 miles S
  8. Hamble Point Marina - 1.2 miles S
  9. Netley - 1.2 miles SW
  10. Saxon Wharf Marina - 2.1 miles WNW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search



How to get in?


The Elephant Boatyard is a traditional boatyard that specialises in classic wooden yachts. It is situated on the upper reaches of the meandering Hamble River more than two miles above its entrance. The yard can be found on the west bank of the river about 250 metres below Bursledon Bridge. For most sailing craft Bursledon Bridge, with an air draught of 4 metres height (MHWS), marks the effective head of navigation.

The Elephant Boat Yard has no visitor berths and has no specific arrangements to receive visitors. However they do take visitors on an ad hoc basis if there is space available on their boatyard’s hammerhead. As it is entirely impromptu but competitively priced and sited in a wonderfully interesting part of the river, it is worth checking availability. The yard is only open during working- week hours, 9am to 5pm and can be contacted on P: +44 23 8040 3268.

The onsite floating Ferry Restaurant, most remarkably built into what was once the Woolston Floating Bridge, has been offering excellent food for over a decade to the boatyard patrons. Those intending on dining in the restaurant will be given priority when it comes to berths.




Convergance Point The Solent and Isle of Wight Route location coastal description provides approach details. Vessels navigating the six-mile length of Southampton Water should keep a listening watch for Southampton VTS, on VHF Ch 12/16, especially around the docks, and give priority to commercial traffic.

Vessels converging on the entrance will find nothing in the way of local hazards by staying in reasonable soundings and following the Solent’s ample marks. The entrance to the River Hamble is made known from a great distance by being almost opposite to Fawley Power Station in Southampton Water. Fawley's 198 metres high chimney makes a conspicuous mark throughout the central Solent and beyond.

The approaches and run up the river as far as the Bursledon Bridge, the effective head of navigation for most sailing craft, are covered in the Deacons Marina and Boatyard Click to view haven entry.




Haven location Berth alongside the boatyard’s hammerhead as directed. As with all the River Hamble’s pontoons and jetties the helmsman should be mindful of the tide state when berthing at the Elephant Boatyard. This is especially the case on Springs when the ‘river effect’, of a very fast initial tidal drop, is amplified by the Solent’s double high ‘tidal stand’, that only provides the ebb 3 - 4 hours to complete its cycle. This creates a disproportionately sudden and strong ebb flush that requires particular attention from the helmsman.




Why visit here?
Elephant Boat Yard received its name from the later 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy HMS Elephant. She was built and launched from the boatyard in 1786, and the current boatyard which was founded by Michael Richardson in 1952 on the same site took on the ship’s name to mark the renowned ship’s birth place.


Shipbuilding in the River Hamble however goes back many more centuries before HMS Elephant’s. The river’s sheltered waters, forested banks and ready access to the sea created ideal conditions for the construction of timber ships, and King Henry VIII's fleet was built here. The river’s shipbuilding heyday was in the time of HMS Elephant during the latter half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. Then Elephant was one of forty-six ships that River Hamble provided to the navy during this period. After this the supply of shipbuilding timber began to run low around the river and much of the naval shipbuilding moved to Beaulieu and Lepe where the New Forrest provided a plentiful supply. By then the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and the subsequent lack of a French threat for the subsequent decades diminished the need for such vessels.




But this was not the case when the master shipbuilder George Parsons was building Elephant at Burseldon. Parsons was born in Poole in 1744, and after being a shipwright in the Royal Dockyard he had worked his way up to leasing the Bursledon yard and later building his own yard at Warsash. Elephant was designed by Sir Thomas Slade as a 3rd rate 74 guns ship and was a timber ship made of Baltic planking. Elephant's dimensions were 168 ft of Gun Deck, a 139 ft 10in Keel, a breadth of 47 ft, a depth of 19 ft 9in, a tonnage of 1617 and she was battle ready with 590 men. In late November 1790 she narrowly avoided destruction when lightning struck her whilst in Portsmouth harbour. The main topmast exploded but did not plunge through the quarterdeck as it was still held by the top-rope. By chance, in 1801, Elephant became Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Copenhagen where she was to become part of the legend that surrounds Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson.


The formation of a ‘League of Armed Neutrality’ between the northern powers, Russia, Prussia, Denmark and Sweden in 1800, led to the War of the Second Coalition where Elephant and Nelson would come together. Nominally the league was formed to protect neutral trade at sea and more particularly to enforce free trade with France that was at the time blockaded by the British navy. The British viewed the League as a serious threat that was very much in the French interest and despatched a British fleet of fifty-three vessels, of which eighteen were of the line, to the Baltic in the Spring of 1801. Sir Hyde Parker, an amiable man who was naturally cautious and moved slowly, was given the command of the fleet. He had Nelson with him as his second in command who was then a junior admiral, but Parker was without a rival in his capacity and in his hold on the confidence of the fleet. Arriving off Copenhagen where the Danish fleet were concentrated Sir Hyde Parker was inclined to blockade Denmark and take control of the entrance to the Baltic. Nelson however, a man of action, was tired of manning the French Blockade and urged a pre-emptive attack on the Danish fleet at harbour and Parker went along with it. Before the battle Nelson transferred his flag from the 98-gun HMS St. George as Elephant's shallower draught made her more suitable for the shallow waters around Copenhagen




The attack began badly for the British, with HMS Agamemnon unable to round to its required position, HMS Bellona and HMS Russell running aground, and as the wind was from the southeast Sir Hyde Parker was unable to make his proposed attack from the north. The rest of the fleet encountered heavy fire from Copenhagen’s powerful Trekroner, Three Crown, battery at the northern end of the seafront along with the Danes strongest ships that were located there. They pounded each other for two hours and Parker, who saw the danger of Nelson's position, became anxious. He sent his second, Captain Robert Waller Ottway, to him with a message authorising him to retire if he thought fit. Before Ottway, who had to go in a rowboat to reach the Elephant, arrived Parker had reflected that it would be more magnanimous for him to take the responsibility of ordering the retreat. He therefore hoisted the signal of recall reasoning I will make the signal for recall for Nelson's sake. If he is in a condition to continue the action he will disregard it; if he is not, it will be an excuse for his retreat and no blame can be attached to him.


As it happened Parker’s recall was a well-meant but an ill-judged order. Nelson could only have retreated before the south-easterly wind by going past the Trekroner Fort, where the passage is narrow, the navigation difficult and the guns of the battery would have full sway upon his ship. He therefore disregarded the signal angrily responding to the signalman who informed him of it 'I told you to look out on the Danish commodore and let me know when he surrendered. Keep your eyes fixed on him'. He then amused himself with the few officers about him on the deck of Elephant by turning to his flag captain, Thomas Foley, and saying 'You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.' Then he raising his telescope to the blind eye and said 'I really do not see the signal.' Of Nelson's captains, only one ‘Riou’ who was in charge of the frigates opposite and attacking Trekroner fort and could not see Nelson's Elephant, followed Parker's signal. As they drew off, his force was exposed to heavy fire from the fort, and ‘Riou' was killed.


The bombardment continued for another hour leaving both the Danish and British fleets heavily damaged. But it was at this time that the battle swung decisively to the British, as their superior gunnery took effect. The guns of the dozen southernmost Danish ships had started to fall silent owing to the damage they had sustained. Nelson astutely and legitimately seized the opportunity to open negotiations with the Danes. The Danish commander Crown Prince Frederick, who was shaken by the spectacle of the battle, allowed himself to be drawn into a reply, which had to be referred to the fleet commander Parker. Fire was then suspended by the Danes to allow time to receive Parker's answer which Nelson promptly made use of to withdraw his squadron past the Trekroner fort. The difficulty found in getting the ships out, one of which grounded in the process, showed how disastrous it would have been to attempt to draw off under fire of the forts.


Parker approved of Nelson's actions in retrospect, and Nelson was given the honour of going into Copenhagen the next day to open formal negotiations. At a banquet that evening, he admitted to Prince Frederick, who spoke English, that the battle had been the most severe he had ever been in. The Danish government, which had entered the coalition largely from fear of Russia, was not prepared to make very great sacrifices and were happy to enter into a negotiation for an armistice. In the event the assassination of the tsar Paul in the following days cleared the path for them to sign a fourteen weeks armistice. This left the British fleet free to proceed up the Baltic. Parker was recalled in May and Nelson was made commander-in-chief in the Baltic Sea. As a reward for the victory, he was created Viscount Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe. Nelson then sailed to the Russian naval base at Reval, now Tallinn, to find that the pact of armed neutrality was to be disbanded. Satisfied with the outcome of the expedition, he returned to England in July. Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson's hardest-fought victory, ranked among battles such as the Battle of Trafalgar, as the Danes offered a very stubborn resistance. With the help of Elephant Nelson’s legend was to grow larger and the expression of ‘turning a blind eye’ became a household catch phrase.




The Elephant Boat yard still builds boats to this day. Since 1952 it has operated as a traditional family business under the custodianship of the Richardson family. It continues to offer a comprehensive service with moorings, slipping and storage for yachts based on the Hamble River and further afield. All their dealings are hallmarked by the charm of old world sailing values. Those intending on staying should provide custom to the Ferry Restaurant, originally a chain link ferry, permanently berthed in the marina. It is the ideal location to take full advantage of the beautiful views in peaceful surroundings whilst enjoying excellent cuisine.


What facilities are available?
The hammerhead is equipped with electricity and water. The boatyard has a highly skilled workforce capable of dealing with most boat repairs, big and small. The large well stocked Force 4 chandlery situated within the yard has almost any part imaginable. Swanwick Marina’s fuel berth is immediately opposite.

The Ferry Restaurant is fully-licensed and there are plenty of excellent pubs and restaurants on either side of the river in the immediate vicinity. Swanwick post office across the river is within walking distance of the marina. The closest large supermarket is Tesco, a 20 minute walk at 1.2 miles from the marina, at the top of Hamble Lane.

Located on a bend of the Hamble River, just before the A27 Bridge, road access and parking is very convenient and usually available close to the main gangways. Bursledon railway station, on the West Coastway Line, is a short stroll. It offers an hourly service between Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour each day of the week, with additional trains at peak periods.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur S/Y Whistler. Photography Michael Harpur, Peter Trimming and Richard Leeming.


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About Elephant Boatyard

Elephant Boat Yard received its name from the later 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy HMS Elephant. She was built and launched from the boatyard in 1786, and the current boatyard which was founded by Michael Richardson in 1952 on the same site took on the ship’s name to mark the renowned ship’s birth place.


Shipbuilding in the River Hamble however goes back many more centuries before HMS Elephant’s. The river’s sheltered waters, forested banks and ready access to the sea created ideal conditions for the construction of timber ships, and King Henry VIII's fleet was built here. The river’s shipbuilding heyday was in the time of HMS Elephant during the latter half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. Then Elephant was one of forty-six ships that River Hamble provided to the navy during this period. After this the supply of shipbuilding timber began to run low around the river and much of the naval shipbuilding moved to Beaulieu and Lepe where the New Forrest provided a plentiful supply. By then the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and the subsequent lack of a French threat for the subsequent decades diminished the need for such vessels.




But this was not the case when the master shipbuilder George Parsons was building Elephant at Burseldon. Parsons was born in Poole in 1744, and after being a shipwright in the Royal Dockyard he had worked his way up to leasing the Bursledon yard and later building his own yard at Warsash. Elephant was designed by Sir Thomas Slade as a 3rd rate 74 guns ship and was a timber ship made of Baltic planking. Elephant's dimensions were 168 ft of Gun Deck, a 139 ft 10in Keel, a breadth of 47 ft, a depth of 19 ft 9in, a tonnage of 1617 and she was battle ready with 590 men. In late November 1790 she narrowly avoided destruction when lightning struck her whilst in Portsmouth harbour. The main topmast exploded but did not plunge through the quarterdeck as it was still held by the top-rope. By chance, in 1801, Elephant became Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Copenhagen where she was to become part of the legend that surrounds Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson.


The formation of a ‘League of Armed Neutrality’ between the northern powers, Russia, Prussia, Denmark and Sweden in 1800, led to the War of the Second Coalition where Elephant and Nelson would come together. Nominally the league was formed to protect neutral trade at sea and more particularly to enforce free trade with France that was at the time blockaded by the British navy. The British viewed the League as a serious threat that was very much in the French interest and despatched a British fleet of fifty-three vessels, of which eighteen were of the line, to the Baltic in the Spring of 1801. Sir Hyde Parker, an amiable man who was naturally cautious and moved slowly, was given the command of the fleet. He had Nelson with him as his second in command who was then a junior admiral, but Parker was without a rival in his capacity and in his hold on the confidence of the fleet. Arriving off Copenhagen where the Danish fleet were concentrated Sir Hyde Parker was inclined to blockade Denmark and take control of the entrance to the Baltic. Nelson however, a man of action, was tired of manning the French Blockade and urged a pre-emptive attack on the Danish fleet at harbour and Parker went along with it. Before the battle Nelson transferred his flag from the 98-gun HMS St. George as Elephant's shallower draught made her more suitable for the shallow waters around Copenhagen




The attack began badly for the British, with HMS Agamemnon unable to round to its required position, HMS Bellona and HMS Russell running aground, and as the wind was from the southeast Sir Hyde Parker was unable to make his proposed attack from the north. The rest of the fleet encountered heavy fire from Copenhagen’s powerful Trekroner, Three Crown, battery at the northern end of the seafront along with the Danes strongest ships that were located there. They pounded each other for two hours and Parker, who saw the danger of Nelson's position, became anxious. He sent his second, Captain Robert Waller Ottway, to him with a message authorising him to retire if he thought fit. Before Ottway, who had to go in a rowboat to reach the Elephant, arrived Parker had reflected that it would be more magnanimous for him to take the responsibility of ordering the retreat. He therefore hoisted the signal of recall reasoning I will make the signal for recall for Nelson's sake. If he is in a condition to continue the action he will disregard it; if he is not, it will be an excuse for his retreat and no blame can be attached to him.


As it happened Parker’s recall was a well-meant but an ill-judged order. Nelson could only have retreated before the south-easterly wind by going past the Trekroner Fort, where the passage is narrow, the navigation difficult and the guns of the battery would have full sway upon his ship. He therefore disregarded the signal angrily responding to the signalman who informed him of it 'I told you to look out on the Danish commodore and let me know when he surrendered. Keep your eyes fixed on him'. He then amused himself with the few officers about him on the deck of Elephant by turning to his flag captain, Thomas Foley, and saying 'You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.' Then he raising his telescope to the blind eye and said 'I really do not see the signal.' Of Nelson's captains, only one ‘Riou’ who was in charge of the frigates opposite and attacking Trekroner fort and could not see Nelson's Elephant, followed Parker's signal. As they drew off, his force was exposed to heavy fire from the fort, and ‘Riou' was killed.


The bombardment continued for another hour leaving both the Danish and British fleets heavily damaged. But it was at this time that the battle swung decisively to the British, as their superior gunnery took effect. The guns of the dozen southernmost Danish ships had started to fall silent owing to the damage they had sustained. Nelson astutely and legitimately seized the opportunity to open negotiations with the Danes. The Danish commander Crown Prince Frederick, who was shaken by the spectacle of the battle, allowed himself to be drawn into a reply, which had to be referred to the fleet commander Parker. Fire was then suspended by the Danes to allow time to receive Parker's answer which Nelson promptly made use of to withdraw his squadron past the Trekroner fort. The difficulty found in getting the ships out, one of which grounded in the process, showed how disastrous it would have been to attempt to draw off under fire of the forts.


Parker approved of Nelson's actions in retrospect, and Nelson was given the honour of going into Copenhagen the next day to open formal negotiations. At a banquet that evening, he admitted to Prince Frederick, who spoke English, that the battle had been the most severe he had ever been in. The Danish government, which had entered the coalition largely from fear of Russia, was not prepared to make very great sacrifices and were happy to enter into a negotiation for an armistice. In the event the assassination of the tsar Paul in the following days cleared the path for them to sign a fourteen weeks armistice. This left the British fleet free to proceed up the Baltic. Parker was recalled in May and Nelson was made commander-in-chief in the Baltic Sea. As a reward for the victory, he was created Viscount Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe. Nelson then sailed to the Russian naval base at Reval, now Tallinn, to find that the pact of armed neutrality was to be disbanded. Satisfied with the outcome of the expedition, he returned to England in July. Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson's hardest-fought victory, ranked among battles such as the Battle of Trafalgar, as the Danes offered a very stubborn resistance. With the help of Elephant Nelson’s legend was to grow larger and the expression of ‘turning a blind eye’ became a household catch phrase.




The Elephant Boat yard still builds boats to this day. Since 1952 it has operated as a traditional family business under the custodianship of the Richardson family. It continues to offer a comprehensive service with moorings, slipping and storage for yachts based on the Hamble River and further afield. All their dealings are hallmarked by the charm of old world sailing values. Those intending on staying should provide custom to the Ferry Restaurant, originally a chain link ferry, permanently berthed in the marina. It is the ideal location to take full advantage of the beautiful views in peaceful surroundings whilst enjoying excellent cuisine.

Other options in this area


Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Alternatively here are the ten nearest havens available in picture view:
Coastal clockwise:
Mercury Yacht Harbour - 0.5 miles SSW
Port Hamble Marina - 0.9 miles SSW
Hamble Point Marina - 1.2 miles S
Netley - 1.2 miles SW
Kemps Quay - 2.1 miles WNW
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Deacons Marina and Boatyard - 0 miles NNE
Swanwick Marina - 0.1 miles SE
Universal Marina - 0.3 miles SSW
Hamble River Harbour Master - 1.1 miles S
Warsash Sailing Club - 1.2 miles S

Navigational pictures


These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for Elephant Boatyard.























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