These delightful pictures just came through from my good friend Turner, who resides in Bradenton beside the Manatee River in Florida.
Two trips there and the West Coast really got under my skin. OK, it's flat, and a bit hot, and there's alligators (or rather 'gators) and raccoons (that'll be coons by the way) and the inhabitants can't understand a word I say (let alone my attempt at jokes) but their hearts are in the right place, couldn't be more friendly and a week in their company banishes all the old world cynicism that curses us this side of the pond.
Delightful boats too, as these photos show, although this was in Maine for last year's Small Reach Regatta. That's Turner, at the tiller of his Penobscot 17, designed by Arch Davis (www.archdavisdesigns.com).
Forget Drascombes: I reckon this little cat ketch lug-rigged beauty is the perfect day sailer, and overnighter. In fact, if I were asked to build a boat in epoxy/plywood, this would come pretty near the top of my list. And great colour scheme too.
That's Turner at the tiller, below, concentrating hard, trying to beat that other sonofab*** up front. Nothing if not competitive these Americans. God help the North if the South ever decide to open round two of what they call The War of Northern Agression. Reckon they'd win this time round.
Oh, and just look at that lot (above) cooling their heels somewhere on the St John's River. I tell you, we don't have a clue about how to enjoy ourselves over here. Well maybe we do, but in a different (often chillier) ways. The Solent Raid looks fun, and there's the Classic Malts Cruise, and Toberonochy...
There's more of the same from The Great Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival and the Cedar Key Small Boat Meet, and many more. Bring a little sunshine into your life by going to http://ftp.ij.net/wctss/wctss/gallery.htm