Thursday, 2 February 2012

Vague Beginnings

In the summer of 2010, I was sailing in the Inner Sound, between Skye and Mainland Scotland. We ( a crew of four) had just returned from a trip to St Kilda when we were suddenly surrounded by a flottilla of Drascombe luggers. The sea was calm (ish), the weather fair and the wind moderate and the luggers were exploring little bays and creeks that were far too small for our (chartered) 38 footer. Some even put themselves on the beach to camp for the night and I remembered a talk in which Sam Llewellwen had expounded the safety of "anchoring above the tideline". So the seed of the idea was sown - to sail a small boat round Britain before the zimmer frame kicked in.

During the ensuing 12 months, various makes and types of boats were selected, viewed and rejected. Then I fell in love with a pretty boat that I saw sitting forlornly on the mud of the estuary of Afon Teifi in deepest west Wales.......

A little research showed her to be a BayCrusier 23, a "trailer sailer" with a fully battened main, carbon fibre mast and boom, and water ballast, making her very light to trail and stable afloat. There followed a test sail in a force 4 gusting 6 and two visits to the Southampton Boat show before, after  a deep  breath, I placed an order with Swallow Boats.

Then there was the hassle of minor (major?) decisions - colours for the hull, sails: size of outboard, siting of vhf, solar cells and all the other paraphenalia considered necessary to complete a boat. Who had charts that I could borrow? Where could I store her on land? Where would I keep her when afloat. Above all, what would I call her?

Most of these have been made and she's currently being fitted out by her builders (Swallow Boats) at their yard near Cardigan. She is the 10th of the class, has a grey hull and will be called Vagabond.

Now all I have to worry about is where to go (and the weather).

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