26th July 2022
After a spell on land – eight months in fact – it’s hard to decide whether to sail again or stay ashore. To sail or not to sail?
It is not so much a question of whether to sail again (I have done and certainly shall do more) as whether to be a normal and proper part-time sailor, like most folk (with smaller boat for local trips) or an improper full-time liveaboard sailor (with beloved Henrietta for longer overseas travels). I am lucky I suppose to have a choice.
Life on land through the past winter and spring has been pretty good to me: a home in a fine English city, wonderful family, a few good friends, an unchallenging routine, and an expanding waistline – all this in a country that’s free of major conflict, starvation, and serious oppression – albeit with a government that embarrasses me, policies that offend me and national self-image that seems woefully and extraordinarily misguided. (Wouldn’t blogs be dull without the odd opinion?)
But such matters are of little interest to others.
So I’ll move on to another trivial question.
Whether to continue writing this blog once more or simply keep my rambles to myself?
On the one hand blogs are self-indulgent, often a tedious rambling account of where I go, whom I meet and what I eat plus some ill-conceived opinionated drivel, and they’re rather time-consuming for both you and me.
On the other hand they may be informative, interesting and emotive. I guess it’s for the reader to judge. If you want to read, then do (and my tiny group of ‘followers’ does seem to want to); or, if you don’t want to read, then don’t (unless you really have nothing better to do).
So here we are, Henrietta and I together once more, bobbing at anchor in the Isles of Scilly – one of my favourite local destinations. I’m just back from the pub, in a good and tipsy mood, receptive to the delights of gulls and cormorants, enjoying the sounds of wind in rigging, clear blue sea and a setting sun.
It’s been a trial run from her winter berth on Exeter Canal, to see if boat and I still work ok. I reckon we both work all right, although nothing seems to be going very smoothly! I’d forgotten how uncomfortable and tricky sailing can be.
Boat (dear Henrietta) has Electrical Problems. They, the electrics, are, as they say, up the spout, with alarms going off as bits fail and instruments go wonky, sending an assortment of beeps and squeaks to tell me what I don’t want to know. This electric stuff was one thing that our sailing forebears didn’t have to trouble with (though the downside was they never knew exactly where they were and they had to ‘swing the lead’ to see how deep it was). On reflection I can see there were a few advantages in the sailing days before chartplotters and AIS and radar and echo sounder and GPS, and radio. Not many though.
I have muscle problems, balance irregularities and gastrointestinal woes. I.e. muscles seem to have disappeared under the winter delights of good cheese and chocolate biscuits and mashed potato. And sea legs have transposed into grade A flab and queasiness. Heaven forbid, I’ve almost been sick.
The bright point was setting forth and frolicking about on some of England’s hottest days ever. I didn’t need my thermal underwear.
And to finish this briefly (a few weeks later), I sailed for a few weeks along England’s gorgeous southwestern coastlines of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Hampshire (Isles of Scilly to Solent) fixing Henrietta’s delicate bits and redeveloping muscles and sea legs, meeting old friends, and finding new ones, and remembering how demanding and how rewarding life at sea can be. I’ve managed to avoid marinas on the south coast. (Nowadays you have to win the lottery or rob banks if you want to stay overnight in them.)
Henrietta has just been lifted out of the water so we can fix more bits. The mast has to come down too. Rigger has made suggestions tantamount to a death sentence. I have yet to decide where or when to go next. Will let you know – probably.