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...)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Last of the Summer Wine (or Paradise Found)

It does seem - in answer to Doryman's comment - that all we do up here is mess about on the water, or at least in small boats. There's Chris beavering away in his shed, stitching or gluing ply together exquisitely (which he says he dislikes) in the joyous anticipation of spending hours laying down possibly the most perfect varnish known to man. And Topher, skiffologist of repute, engineer, boat builder, mathematician, inventor for whom no old solution to a problem is too sacrosanct to try and improve upon (swivelling kabes on turned ebony thole pins springs to mind).

"Oh no, Topher, not more fun..." Photo: copyright Sue 'the sew' Evans
And John, rebuilding his steel cutter with a degree of accuracy that can only come from being a naval architect, climate-change scientist, aeronautical engineer (he built a man-powered aeroplane in a previous life: Google "Airglow" if you don't believe me) and dinghy builder. Then there's Mark over on loch side who builds traditional wooden boats professionally, as does Joe (who canoes, windsurfs, skis and climbs trees for a living) and will build you a house too. Don't mention Dan who is building a 34ft schooner and who also can make you a fine piece of furniture (or weld up a trailer, or fix your land Rover, or build a house, or...)

Most of us are still trying to scrape a living between having fun, but we are at a small disadvantage up here, weather-wise. You just have to be flexible enough to take your chances when you can. That means making the most of the wonderful long summer days. One day in Ffly was followed by four of gales. Not that it deterred the skiffies from taking Ulla out yesterday, into the teeth of it, and enjoying every minute I gather. Too windy for a Flying Fifteen though, so I spent the day working on the bow of the gunning punt in my shed, to the sound of Mozart...


  1. Now wait just a darn minute!
    I recognize the fellow on bow oar. How many followers does he have now? Catching on, is he? I guess that's what happens when you enlist a professional photographer.

  2. Ade - it was Sue Evans took the photo, I was 400 miles to the South at the time (Anster last year) so it would have needed an exceptionally long lens!