Yachting and Boating World put out a request asking for peoples experiences on buying their first boat. A handful of people offered their stories but they picked mine, I think because the journalist Katy Stickland was shocked I managed to talk my wife into letting me buy Sundance 8 weeks after having our first child!
The weekend started on the Friday evening after picking my best mate up and heading down to Newport. When arrived at the club to find a good few members enjoying a drink and a chat, we joined in and discussed our thoughts for the next day. The plan was to help out the other launches, get Sundance in the water and leave Newport -1 before HW and get to Cardiff on the ebb. This way we didn’t have an audience trying to pick up Sundance’s mooring for the first time….
The thought of pressing a button when the fhit hits the san and a big whirly bird comes to the rescue is quite a reassuring thought, but it’s something I wouldn’t want to do if I can really help it. I would like to think I would take Blondie Hasler’s advice and “drown like a gentleman” however I love my life and have a young family to look after, if there was a chance that I could be rescued after I had exhausted every possible option I had then I would take that opportunity. It may seem a unfair thing to do, to ask a group of strangers to risk their lives to save one but it’s part of our nature and a great part of being a caring human.
I feel like it’s my birthday, I’ve had a package turn up with my new Crewsaver Ergofit Lifejacket, Ocean Safety PLB1 and a Standard Horizon HX870E Handheld DSC VHF.
I thought I would write a “first look” review on each and share it with you. I’ll start off with the lifejacket and I’ll review the other two over the next couple of weeks.
When it comes to safety, I don’t think you can skimp, I ride motorcycles and I wouldn’t ride in a £50 helmet, why would I want to wear a £50 lifejacket? I understand a £50 lifejacket is better then none and many people may not be able to afford a higher spec one. I also understand why people don’t want to wear a lifejacket, the philosophy of not falling overboard in the first place, the usual saying “wearing a lifejacket just increases the chances of your body being found”, but whilst there’s a chance, even a slim one I think we have take them and even create them.
I don’t want to be bobbing about in the pitch black sea, waves and spray breaking over me wishing I bought a better lifejacket instead of those Musto/other expensive waterproofs I don’t really need.
I’ve followed the Jester for a few years now, ever since I looked at a little Corribee 21 for my first “big boat”. I read up on MingMing, Roger Taylor’s junk rig Corribee that has sailed across oceans and up to the Artic circle, this lead me to other sailors and boats and eventually the Jester Challenge. There’s three different challenges for solo sailors in boats between 20-30ft, originally the longest to Newport RI, USA, a shorter one to the Azores and finally one for people like myself to Baltimore South Ireland.
I drive a crap car, I paid £250 for it 12 months ago and It’s already taken me 25,000, pretty much the circumference of this planet we call Earth. It’s not missed a beat and I would jump in it tomorrow and drive it anywhere.
Why do it?
The boat is about 100 miles away from where we live, to be honest it takes about the same amount of time in any direction to get to the sea, but the drive to Newport is a good one for me. It makes sense that I go down the night before to work on the boat, I get the evening without distractions and I have as much of the next day to finish off what I’ve started, so I decided the end of November would be the first time sleeping on the boat.
I do enjoy Radio 4, I like listening to people talk probably more then I enjoy listening to music, not that I don’t like listening to a song or two now and then. I never really know who’s going to be on it, some people I’ve heard of, other I haven’t however, I haven’t found one yet that I’ve wanted to turn off. Everyone has a story and I feel we should all take the time to listen, and we should listen to the music they enjoy, even if it isn’t your thing. If I ever manage to do a transatlantic sail then I would love to download the archive and spend my time bobbing about in the doldrums learning and listening to the story of peoples lives.
I’ve owned Sundance for six weeks now, and I’m itching to go sailing. Unfortunatly I can’t as she had been taken out of the water for winter the week before I viewed her, which is the sensible thing. I’m not ready to sail her, I need to get to know Sundance, learn her little niggles, I need to learn the water we’ll be spending so much time together and listen to the advice and stories from the experienced soles of the sailing club.
A year goes by in a flash, it seems like a lifetime but also like yesterday. This weekend, a year ago made me feel so content, a weekend for me, with my friends and my choice, it sounds so self centred doesn’t it. This weekend a year ago was my stag do, I like to think I’m not much of a look at me sort of guy but maybe writing this blog means I am, I don’t know.