Monday, January 14, 2013

‘Constance’, a Badger Class Junk Yacht


Last February I did an article about a ‘Badger’ class yacht that was moored at Walton Yacht Basin by Walton and Frinton Yacht Club. (See link below) Well, she’s still there, looking just as smart as when I first saw her. Today I took new photos, and from one of them I’ve discovered her name is ‘Constance’.
When boats are moored in places like Walton Basin, tucked away behind lock gates, I suspect they are very seldom taken for a sail. Because of tidal constraints they can only escape at or near high-water. Walton Yacht Basin has no freshwater source for topping it up, which means the depth of water within the basin is determined by the height of the sill. There’s about six feet clearance at high water springs. At neaps, only shallow draught yachts can come and go. Therefore I wasn’t surprised when I saw yachts in the basin that I had seen before.
It isn’t my concern what owners do with their yachts, but I am amazed that many of them are happy to let their expensive vessels sit year after year in a marina or a canal, very seldom taking them to sea. I will confess, however, that after owning and sailing boats for many years, I no longer want to get into situations that end up becoming commando exercises. On that score it’s far better to sit and stare while dreaming.
 When I was younger I quite often found myself being challenged physically and mentally, because of being over ambitious. Those days when I extensively cruised my boats, irrespective of conditions, are gone. Now, I have a maxim that sailing should be first and foremost pleasurable, an activity done at my leisure and for my enjoyment. Unless the weather is fine I have no desire to put to sea; if the distance is far, I do it only of necessity, hoping the journey will be accomplished without trauma.
 Other things have changed. Competitiveness has gone. Racing is of no interest to me, except as a spectator. Large boats are out, because they ‘are’ hassle and expensive. Small boats are in, because they bring most fun and they are cheap. I can be happiest when sat in the cockpit of my 14’ West Wight Potter after a non-arduous day; the sun is setting, a meal is on my lap. While eating I take in new surroundings that are being transformed into wonderful shades of purple darkness until they become phantoms in the silence of a starlit night.
‘Constance’, lovely as she is, could never outshine  my tiny gem.
‘Badger’ Class Yacht

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