Off she goes, Iain Oughtred's slightly foreshortened Penny Fee, at 15ft. Sails by Jeckells, spars by the wonderful Jeremy Freeland at Collars. The rest by Messrs Burke and Morgan (that's Jonny by the way...)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Ffffflying Ffffifteens...

That's what happens when you have too much time on your hands: you buy boats. Flying Fifteen 2796 is now mine, and you will be pleased to know that she is traditionally built out of a material that has been around as long, if not longer, than man himself: oil, plus a bit of silica and whatever else constitutes glassfibre.

Yes, I have never had a problem with glassfibre. It's an honest, man-made material that doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is. This boat, formerly Ffascination Feeling, Fascinating, Ffascinating Ffeeling and Ffruto del Mar (I like the last one) will be coming up the country some time in the next few weeks to take her place alongside the fleet of decrepit old Fifteens hanging about the clubhouse at Lochbroom Sailing Club.

Among the factors in choosing this particular boat was that she would not outclass all the others. So, if I have not exactly bought myself a slow boat, I did not buy the fastest or newest on the secondhand market. She looks good and solid, and original, built by Bernie Trenoweth in Cornwall, and a very good boat in her day.

So what has become of the wooden boat in the barn? Well, the owner is still swithering over whether he wants to sell, or maybe it's the offer I made; whatever, negotiations stalled and rather than waiting, I decided to buy a boat that will be less vulnerable on a mooring, and, to be honest, easier to upkeep.

That's not to say that the club has not given up on the boat, as once restored she would make a wonderful showcase, a high gloss varnished piece of furniture, and competitive to boot. I would hope to undertake the restoration to the highest standards. We will have to wait and see. It would be a great pity if she were left to languish for much longer in a barn.

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