Thursday, September 27, 2007

Purist Sailor

Purism when applied to sailing is like an aspect of a religion. How can the sailor’s ‘purism’ be defined, and what is the nature of those devoted to this esoteric maritime activity?

A purist sailor can be likened to a religious Puritan of the Elizabethan era; one who was not satisfied with blemishes within the Reformation or papism within Catholicism. He sought a simple form of worship not tainted by the world or the traditions of men; he wanted to live the purity of the word of God as found in the Bible. The exclusion of all else, except the truth of the Bible was to be his form of worship; he desired an inward and outward life, devoted exclusively to God for His glory.

The term Puritan was used in a derisory sense aimed at those who did not conform to, or accept the Elizabethan Religious Settlement that established Queen Elizabeth 1st as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and neither did they subscribe to the Common Book of Prayer decreed by the Act of Uniformity. There are some sailors today who would use the word ‘purist’ in a derisory sense too when referring to seafarers who will not have an engine on their boat. The same critics would consider these purists irresponsible because they voluntarily restrict themselves to using the wind, the currents and manual power for navigating waterways, or crossing lakes, seas and oceans. They heap further criticism upon purists for their lack of consideration when negotiating congested waters such as the Solent where huge ships are restricted by their draught; they further argue that common sense and safety should dictate the use of an engine.

Despite ridicule and reasoned argument by those who advocate engines the real sailing purist will not budge from his belief. His intellect confirms that engines on boats are evil, smelly polluting contrivances that contribute towards global warming and noise pollution. He considers using them is to commit the ultimate sin because they blemish and stain otherwise pristine seas and oceans by the spillage of oil and fuel. They contaminate the water, and their exhaust fumes permeate the air. The purist further reminds himself that in the good old days when the seas were plentiful with fish, fishermen earned their living by using boats powered by sail and oar. His ridicule of those who succumb to the convenience of engines is equal to that poured out upon the purist.

As with the non-conformist Puritan and his counterpart, there are two sailing fraternities practising their beliefs.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Jean-Jacques Rousseau declared, “I feel, therefore I am”. Although blamed for a degenerative civilization in view of his radical and life-changing philosophy, many would accept Rousseau’s statement as being true for them and would go along with the gist of his teaching. When he made this observation about himself perhaps he was trying among other things to establish his ‘identity’ - that’s the very nature of himself that makes him unique. Not only was a he a human being, but he was aware of his essential characteristics that combined to make the one and only Jean-Jacques Rouseau.

When listening to a sermon about the Christian Identity I was faced with the question as to my true identity and did it fit within the collective identity of those belonging to Christ? Did I have Christ-like characteristics? More recently I happened upon a BBC 2 TV programme featuring Donny Osmond called ‘Identity’. I can’t say the viewing was riveting, neither was it particularly entertaining but there was a certain desire on my part to discover the nature of the mystery identities. A guest participant under the prompting of Donny endeavoured to ascertain which tag feature belonged to each of a number of personalities who stood upon a stage. Some clues were obvious, for example, in yesterday’s programme a fit young lady wearing a sweater with the words, ‘Surf Competition’ emblazoned upon it turned out to be a Surfing Champion. Although undoubtedly being a surfing champion was a clue to her true identity, I wondered what essential feature really identified her as unique.

Well, we all know about the uniqueness of our DNA for establishing our identity or for providing a strong scientific basis as to heredity or family relationship, but that does not allow for character as shown in our actions in the drama of life.

What has any of the foregoing to do with my passion for sailing boats? Well, all boats essentially do the same thing, i.e., they float upon water, because they weigh the same as the water they displace, but when we examine these floating mobile creations they are often so different in appearance. Some have points at each end, in contrast to those with sharp bows and wide sterns; some are broad, while some are narrow; some are deep heavy displacement craft, but others are like skimming dishes that plane across the waves. Do the characteristics that personify these boats tell us something about the identity of their designers? When I look at my most recent creation, a Paradox sailboat designed by Matt Layden, what do I see as identifying features that truly make her unique? Undoubtedly the answer must be her chine runners; these are longitudinal narrow ‘wings’ that stick out horizontally from the chines. They act in some mysterious way to minimize leeway when the boat sails to windward. What do they tell me about Matt? They indicate that he is a free-thinker; a person not caught up with restrictive traditional design. He is a pragmatic person very willing to try new ideas. Such a characteristic points to his identity.

Those capable of truly creative thinking such as Leonardo da Vinci transform the society in which they live; they can transform it for the better or for the worse. We can only hope and pray that their true identities will bring benefits to mankind.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cobnor (Day Nine)

Being ashore with the boat on the trailer during the night meant there was no movement as one would have while at anchor; therefore I slept well and woke rather late. My first task after breakfast was to remove the recalcitrant mast and to that end I enlisted a yachtsman who was working on a nearby yacht. Our combined efforts accomplished the business. An examination of the mast showed that the base had swollen due to being very damp on account of the rain over the past days. Rain water had entered the ventilation hole through the deck and naturally drained away through the pipe under the mast as it was supposed to, but in so doing the wood had become swollen. When I arrived home it was a simple matter to rectify and I should no longer have a problem with it.

The sun shone brightly and for the first time in the past eight days the sky was cloudless. There was no wind whatsoever. So, even if ‘Faith’ had been on the water she would not have gone anywhere, but what an irony that the very day she was ashore, a mini-high pressure system approached the British Isles. Still, I knew there were many things needing attention at home and I had been on the water for over seven days and nights – it was time to go home.

Having paid the Marina dues for the use of the slipway I set up the TomTom in the car to assist me in finding the right roads for the journey on that Bank Holiday weekend. TomTom did not let me down. It took a route first towards Portsmouth then the A3 and M3. Fortunately there were no long delays going east, but I noted huge traffic jams on the opposite side of the road and I was thankful I was not travelling to the West.

It only took just under 3 hours and ‘Faith’ was on the driveway at home being emptied of her stores in readiness for a complete clean before her next cruise or outing on the water.

Cobnor had been fun, despite the unfavourable weather and I was pleased I had met DCA folk I had not seen for many a year.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Cobnor (Day Eight)

As each day passes, so the equivalent tide on successive days is later and if the moon is on the wane the rise and fall of water becomes less until the moon begins to wax. By Friday, 24th August the range of tide was only 1.5 metres as opposed to 3 metres when I first arrived at Chichester Harbour. This meant the speed of currents generated by the rise and fall of water would be less than when I started my cruise, which in turn would ease the effect the wind would have on the water when blowing against the current. For a change, the wind eased, and the combination of neap tides bode favourably for enjoyable sailing.

After a quiet night I awoke to find sunshine, and as I ate breakfast I enjoyed watching several rabbits scampering around the patchy grass at the front of a nearby private beach house. They bobbed up and down while chasing one another, stopping now and again to check for predators by sitting upright so as to have a good view and at the same time listen for tell-tell sounds. Shoals of silver mullet broke the surface of the placid water as an Egret waited patiently at the water’s edge for an unsuspecting tiddler swimming within range of its black needle-sharp beak. I caught a glimpse of a fine mullet when it passed just a foot or so from the side of ‘Faith’. I was told that only red mullet are good for eating. An elderly couple complete with fishing gear arrived at the slipway with their dinghy and outboard motor and within a short time, having deployed their rods and lines, they were drifting between the moored yachts. There was a shout of joy from the lady as she hooked a small fish and expertly landed it into the dinghy.

By 0815 we were underway with the aid of a gentle wind fanning us towards the Chichester Channel. Only a couple of yachts were on the move and there was no sign of any DCA members or their boats. At 0830 we were at Camber Beacon that marks the entrance to Thorney Channel stretching to the north. With full sail and on a beam reach we made rapid progress eastwards leaving East Head by a cable to the south before coming on the wind towards Verner Beacon adjacent to the inlet leading to Hayling Island Yacht Company’s moorings. Sporadically motor vessels and motor yachts chugged seaward, most bent on fishing somewhere within the Harbour or beyond in the Solent. A few sailing yachts, also under motor, took the same route. Meanwhile I tacked ‘Faith’ northwards between the deep water channel markers with the aim of getting as near to Emsworth Marina as possible. Low water wasn’t until 1433, so there was ample time, especially as the tide was still making, but as things turned out I would have to wait hours before I could take ‘Faith’ into the Marina, because the wind petered out when she arrived at the North East Hayling beacon which marks the channel to Northney Marina. I wasn’t in a hurry otherwise I would have tried using the yuloh for the next mile to Emsworth Yacht Harbour. My desire was just to relax and enjoy the scenery, the sunshine and the peace, so I set the anchor and made a coffee before lying down for a snooze.

Being anchored at the junction between Northney Marina, Emsworth Yacht Harbour and the north/south-going Emsworth Channel I tied my black wading shoes together as an anchor ball and hung them on the lazy jack. This indicated to an ever-increasing number of boats on the move that ‘Faith’ was at anchor. After my snooze I made a coffee and I was surprised to find Al in ‘Little Jim’ nearby; he informed me he and other DCA sailors intended to sail around Hayling Island. At that moment the wind was almost non-existent, but there was just enough for making way. I noticed Cliff was also within hailing distance aboard his well-sailed Mirror; he gave me a call and continued with his endeavour of working close inshore towards Northney and Langstone Bridge where both he and Al would have to remove masts from their boats so as to pass under the bridge. In the distance, way to the south, I saw Liz in her Cormorant and someone in a Wayfarer, but the ebb had set and within a quarter of an hour they were no more to be seen.

Just before mid-day the wind set in and I could discern a dark tan sail way down the Emsworth Channel; by using my binoculars I confirmed it was the sail of Liz’s dinghy. Twenty minutes later she sailed along an identical track to the one taken by Cliff, but she didn’t appear to recognize ‘Faith’. I noticed there was an outboard motor at the stern of her dinghy and it was obvious she had no intention of using it, unless absolutely necessary. A very official looking motor launch slowly chugged by and I observed it belonged to the Harbour Master who gave me a hearty wave and a cheery greeting.

Half-an-hour before low water at 1400 I took in the anchor and tacked northwards between the many moored yachts, motorboats and runabouts. Eventually the water became so shallow that I could proceed no further under sail and therefore I tried to make progress against the wind with the yuloh, but at first I had little success until the tide turned in my favour when I continued until grounding on pebbles near the entrance to Emsworth Yacht Harbour. I knew there would be a long wait because I could see the sill was not covered and I would need at least one foot six inches of water to pass safely over it; otherwise ‘Faith’ could become stranded on it sideways with the force of the water, or the rudder could be damaged by being hooked on the sill as the boat traversed the tide-induced waterfall into the Marina.

My wait in the sunshine was a pleasant one. Swans swam around hoping for tidbits and two Egrets vied with one another for territorial rights. A gull attacked a large grey heron that retreated with little defence from the swifter smaller bird. As this was happening a motor launch tried approaching the Marina along the pebbly gully, but she became stuck and after ten minutes of frantic grinding and propeller clanging she reversed off to await the tide at a pontoon by the Emsworth Sailing Club. Two lads who had erected a tent on the weedy beach decided to relieve their boredom by throwing stones at each other and a fat woman took her equally fat dog for a walk between the many small boats dried out on their moorings. A car zoomed down a slipway between the expensive waterside mansions then turned around in a semi-circle over the weed-covered stones before climbing back up the slipway to disappear from view around the corner. A homeowner not wishing to draw attention to himself peered around a wall at the bottom of his garden to examine ‘Faith’. Transfixed, he stared for several minutes before slowly withdrawing behind the wall.

At 1730 ‘Faith’ was still anchored near the entrance to the Marina and the gushing of water could be heard as it rushed over the sill. An hour later when the moving water no longer plunged to the lower level within the compound a mother duck with many tiny chicks briefly peeped outside and took one look at us before fleeing back to the safety of their enclosure.

By 1930 I had retrieved the boat on her trailer, but not without a minor flap when the car lost traction on the weedy slipway. I asked a kindly yachtsman for his assistance and he suggested attaching his four-by-four to my car with a tow rope, only to abandon the idea when we could not find a tow bracket on the Mondeo. It wasn’t until I arrived home that I discovered a hidden loop behind a cover. He enlisted a friend and they both sat on the boot of my car while I eased it forward in first gear. The extra weight on the tail of the car did the trick. The next slight hiccup was when I tried extracting the mast, only to discover it was well and truly jammed. No amount of effort could dislodge it. Sweat poured off me in my attempt at lifting it out. Abandoning the attempt until morning I went to the washroom for a welcome refreshing shower and to escape the persistent attack of midges. By the time I returned to the boat after nightfall there was no sign of the little blighters. I settled down for the night and for the first time of the whole trip I could see stars through the window in the hatch.

Cobnor (Day Seven)

Weather dictates what the sailor can do. If there’s wind, he can sail, providing it is not too strong and preferably if it comes from a favourable direction. Paradox can work to windward, but not handily as a Wayfarer or a Mirror dinghy; therefore I must first consider the proposed route before setting off. Without an engine there is no guarantee of achieving the objective. Perhaps that’s not such a problem with Paradox, if there is time to spare, because the necessities of life and items for survival are immediately available. The boat is very strong and she can take the ground; she can be sealed from the elements to provide relative comfort. With food and drink available it does not matter if plans are changed by the weather or if the boat is stranded on a mud bank until the next tide.

Considering these factors and having been afloat for two days without moving from the anchorage at Cobnor I felt I could not face another day of bobbing around while the wind whistled from the north; therefore at 0710 I beached ‘Faith’ near the slipway, but as the water receded and the wind pushed her on the beach I became aware of the sharp flint stones under her. As she lifted on each wave and the noise of grinding was magnified by the hollowness of her hull, but my fears that there would be damage were without foundation, because a later inspection of the bottom showed there was no discernable wear. An hour and half later she was high and dry which meant I had ten hours before ‘Faith’ would be afloat again.

With the prospect of drizzle and the aim of reaching Emsworth by foot I donned my anorak and placed a Mars Bar in the pocket. More appropriately I should have prepared a picnic with ample drink. I needed to buy fruit, milk, yoghurts and paper towels and a knapsack would have been useful for carrying the goodies. Having told Al and Len of my intentions I set off for the ten mile return trek. There was lightness in my heart when I found myself in isolation walking the sandy eastern fringe of the Thorney Channel. Glancing behind I saw the imprints of my shoes and I made a mental note to look for them on my return. To my right there was a red sandstone bank almost hidden by clusters of miniature ancient gnarled oak trees and to my left was the broad and colourful expanse of marshland stretching to narrow muddy channels where flocks of gulls searched for food. The silence, apart from a faint rustling of leaves was most apparent. My spontaneous reaction was to burst into song and with no one to hear me I was not embarrassed with being off-tune. The joy of freedom I greatly cherished.

I became aware of my lack of knowledge regarding the huge variety of estuarine plants and flowers it was my privilege to see; some were so beautiful I just had to stop and examine them; the flotsam and jetsam cast up at the foot of the sea wall I purposely ignored. Appearing from nowhere a stranger approached me from ahead. To my mind his appearance was weird – tall, tassel haired and with his head inclined towards his right shoulder. On passing close, because of the narrow path between tall grasses each side of the pathway, I greeted him with, “Good morning!”, but there was no reply. Pleased that our encounter was brief I scanned the way ahead and noted two more figures proceeding in my direction. Optical perspective gave the impression they were a long way off, but it was only a matter of minutes and we were greeting each other. The two were obviously hikers out for the day because of the way they were dressed with boots while having small rucksacks on their backs and using walking sticks.

How many more people would I meet along this protected stretch of National Trust walkway? Only a few, and those meetings were near easy access points which encouraged owners of dogs to bring them for exercise and to do their inevitable deposits of whatnots. I kept my eyes open for treacle sausages, because if there’s one thing I dislike it’s having the smelly stuff on my shoes!

By mid-day I had traversed the southern boundary of Prinsted and walked through the boatyard of Thorney Marina where I called into the Boater’s CafĂ© for a ploughman’s lunch without the cider. The cup of coffee did not satisfy my thirst, but the salad, cheese and buttered loaf more than satisfied my hunger. I did not care for the loud piped music. Before continuing with my walk I thought it prudent to ask the way to Emsworth and how far I needed to go. It was just as well I did, because I would have followed the path going south towards Stanbury Point, only then realizing my error. Instead of taking the path dictated by my instinct I went as I was directed up the road from the Marina until coming to a main road which I crossed to a footpath leading to Emsworth Marina. There was barely room between overhanging branches and bramble bushes, but I proceeded until reaching the Marina. As I had walked to the town centre before from the Marina I confidently made my way along the delightful raised pathway that lay between a tidal leat and a large pond.

With only a short distance left to the Co-op I raised the hood of my anorak to protect myself from the drizzle, but I felt people were looking at me with some trepidation because of my resemblance to one of David Cameron’s adorable ‘hoodies’ who are people we should not hug, but understand. By the time I had done my little shopping the drizzle had ceased and I could walk with my hair blown by the blustery wind. Back at Emsworth Marina I called into the office to inform the duty staff that I would be taking ‘Faith’ out of the water some days later than stated and I enquired if I could use the slipway winch.

The return to Cobnor was over previously covered ground, but more prolonged because I stopped to pick blackberries on the way. I noted a colourful pair of spectacles that were hung on a signpost and tried them to see if they were any good for reading and they were perfect, but they were not mine; therefore I replaced them for the owner to find. In my mind I was convinced I would come across the spectacles I had lost when I fell off the boat and to this end before arriving back at Cobnor slipway I searched the muddy stretch by the sea wall where I had had the mishap. Saddened that I could not find my spectacles in the mud or blobs of weed I returned to ‘Faith’ for a welcome cup of tea, but before getting aboard I mentioned to Al that I had run out of reading material and he gave me a Pan book by Agatha Christie, ‘The Secret Adversary’.

By 1900 my boat was at anchor in her ‘spot’ overlooking the slipway. The wind had abated and was only a zephyr. Reading the Christie book was difficult because the print was small, the light bad and I had to use the magnifying glass. I took solace by listening to the radio and telephoning my wife. Then I slumbered until I fell asleep.

This is small boat cruising.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Cobnor (Day Six)

Wednesday, 26th August was a day of strong winds, at times reaching near gale force 8, as forecast. For ‘Faith’ this meant being on anchor at her ‘acquired’ spot. The ground was good for holding, since it was thick black mud. Transits showed the boat was secure.

I never cease to be amazed at human activity because of audaciousness or because of ignorance or foolishness on the part of the doer. Without being judgemental or having a sense of superiority I wonder if a few people are plain obdurate. An example of such a person, who incidentally may be reading this, decided he would launch his Avon Redstart pneumatic dinghy and row it to his craft at a mooring. There was a near gale. As he held the inflatable at arm’s length it waved around in the air like a kite. When he reached the water’s edge without taking off he realised he did not have the oars. It dawned on him that he could not leave the dinghy on the pebbly beach because it would be whipped away with the wind. Unable to find a means of securing the dinghy he carried it back up the beach to the slipway where he grabbed his oars. Like a cartoon character he repeated the journey to the water’s edge and by leaning into the wind he managed not to be blown along the beach. With force and determination he restrained the dinghy so that it floated in shallow water then smartly jumped into it, whereupon the dinghy was immediately blown onto the beach. Embarking from the dinghy, he waded into deeper water, jumped aboard and rowed like a madman with no success at making headway, again ending up on the beach. Undaunted he repeated the exercise so as to be blown back to the beach. Only then, did he acknowledge defeat, retreating with his head hung low as the dinghy gyrated in the air at arm’s length.

While at anchor, time passed surprisingly quickly because there was always free entertainment especially provided by the Activities Centre. First thing in the morning instead of sailing their dinghies the youngsters were ushered into open canoes that had been lashed together in pairs. They paddled with all their might to stay in the upper reaches of the Bosham Channel. After morning break they were taken in the ribs by their instructors to explore other parts of Chichester Harbour. Each person wore a lifejacket. On returning, one of the ribs was towed by another; presumably the engine of the one being towed had failed. After lunch the wind had moderated, although still rather boisterous with intermittent squalls. The trainees were out sailing the Bosun dinghies, the Picos and the Lazers.

When the dinghies sailed to the northern end of the Chichester Channel where the wind was less strong because of the lee provided by Cobnor Point I turned with some difficulty to reading ‘Survive the Savage Sea’ because I had to use the magnifying glass. While engrossed with the incredible account I made use of the strong wind by drying one of my sweaters.

At mid afternoon I observed an adoration party gathered around Al’s ‘Little Jim’, which was always a source of wonderment for passers-by. I take my hat off to him because of his exuberant enthusiasm. Had it not been for him I would never have built ‘Faith’. He kindly let me visit his home twice and sail his boat twice, besides giving me plenty of advice and help while building my Paradox.

Late afternoon Cliff returned from sailing his heavily reefed Mirror dinghy. He approached the beach with much forethought, first making his way well to windward before lowering sail; then as the boat drifted downwind he used the rudder to edge across the incoming tide so as to nudge the bow on the beach at the very moment of raising the rudder, the daggerboard having already been removed.

The evening meal over, I listened to music on Radio 3 while I read more of the Robertson family’s epic survival in the Pacific ocean adrift in their dinghy after abandoning their worn-out life raft. The sky being heavily covered with cloud, darkness came early before I made a non-alcoholic nightcap and turned in with hopes for a sail the next day.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Cobnor (Day Five)

Approximately three hours after high water ‘Faith’ took the hard at the Cobnor slipway; it was 0810 on a grey morning of Tuesday, 21st August. I had listened to the forecast that predicted winds from the North, occasionally reaching force 7. One or two of the DCA folk made an appearance at the slipway, but the general opinion was that not many would venture out on the water. Some had decided they would return home with their boats, as the weather was not improving according the Meteorological Office’s expectations at the weekend. Phil was one of those. His beautiful green Ness Yawl (that wasn’t a yawl) was already on her trailer, but he had time to spare before taking to the road. I told him of my shortage of food and that I would need to find a grocer’s shop, whereupon he volunteered to take me in his luxurious campervan to the enormous Tesco Supermarket at Christchurch.

Only a stone’s throw from the quiet backwater we were cautiously proceeding along country lanes and all of a sudden at a roundabout we found ourselves amongst congested traffic of a main road where drivers were bent of getting from ‘A’ to ‘B’ as fast as they could. None of them appeared to have any patience whatsoever. Cars and lorries screeched around the roundabout and no one wanted to give way. I found the contrast of being with patient boaters happy to pass the time of day until the arrival of better weather was quite a shock. We had left Keith and Al in their private worlds aboard their tiny boats quietly attending to their affairs until the return of the tide by nature’s rhythmic force.

At the ginormous supermarket Phil and I entered such a different world – one most perplexing by the diverse choice of goods stacked on the shelves and a completely man-made environment. I was in a daze unable to remember what I really needed for re-provisioning ‘Faith’ for the next four to six days. I was uncertain how long I would continue the cruise at Christchurch, but it would depend on the weather and how I felt. Vegetables, fruit, bread, drink and tinned meat; these I knew I would have to buy. Paper towels and batteries for the miniature torch I completely forgot. Toilet paper I had. Not until I returned to my boat did I remember I should have looked for a stand containing reading glasses to replace the ones I had lost when I fell off the boat. Because of my obvious uncertainty of what was really needed I sensed Phil was guiding me in my choices and I appreciated his knowledge gained through shopping expeditions in the normal course of his life, since this was his usual role when he went shopping with his wife. (Not that I was a substitute for his partner!)

Back at the campsite, and laden with plastic bags full of goodies, Phil gave me a hand with them to the muddy beach where I squelched to ‘Faith’ for off-loading them to her decks until I could find places for each item. On a boat there’s a place reserved for everything, but first I had to lift myself onto the deck without leaving black mud everywhere and experience had taught me to have a bucket of clean water kept for the purpose of sponging off the filthy stuff. I actually use a stiff brush for this necessary task while taking care not to splatter the deck with specks of mud. When the footwear has been cleaned I leave it so that the soles face uppermost to dry; in the case of Wellington boots, they are left on their sides.

By 1130 ‘Faith’ was back at her favourite anchorage overlooking the slipway. The wind blew strongly from the north against the incoming tide which had the tendency to swing my boat from one side to the other, but not a great strain was placed on the anchor and cable because the forces of wind and tide counteracted each other. Lots of people had decided to walk the river banks; there was one family however occupying a bench seat at the head of the slipway. They had two boys aged about 11 and 9. The smaller and younger of the two started playing at the water’s edge, and as he did so he began to be soaked by the breaking waves; then he waded deeper into the water only to be joined with his brother. Not to be outdone, the smaller boy, although wearing his ordinary clothes waded further until he found himself swimming. Only then did their parents have any concern for him. His mother ran down the slipway calling for the swimmer to return to the shore. Reluctantly he obeyed his mum, but when back in shallow water he used his hands to spray his brother. The bigger lad responded by going after the perpetrator until he also became waterlogged. Both lads seemed not to be affected by the cold wind and chill factor because of their wet attire. They continued messing around on the beach, each in turn throwing stones towards moored boats, not to hit them, but simply to try splashing them.

I remained at the anchorage all day while being thoroughly entertained by many young sailors learning their skills under the tuition of the nearby Sailing Centre. On occasions I was concerned about their closeness when sailing over ‘Faith’s’ anchor line. Their tutors did not seem to realise how close to the surface the rope was, because of the pull of the current. Unlike chain used with the nearby moorings for yachts, the anchor rope skimmed the surface for several feet before being pulled down by the influence of the chain and anchor. I took the opportunity of using the strong wind to dry my anorak and swimming costume by hanging them from the lazy jack. As there was little else to do I thoroughly cleaned the interior of the boat and rearranged a few items. I also became better acquainted with my VHF set by testing different functions.

By 1800 the meteorologist’s promised drizzle forced me to retrieve my anorak and swimming costume while they were dry, and to close the hatch. I had already eaten the main meal of the day, so I made myself comfortable by setting up the mattress and preparing myself for a long night’s rest, but before closing my eyes I used the navigation magnifying glass to read two more chapters of ‘Survive the Savage Sea’. Finally, after listening to the radio I snuggled down into the warmth of my sleeping bag. The wind had died away and there was a welcome silence after the cessation of the constant drumming of halyards on metal masts of nearby yachts. I contentedly fell asleep.