The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Gosh, it's been a While...

... a month or so since I wrote anything; a month in which family took precedence over everything. Now that things are a little more settled it's time to take stock.

The Shetland boat was finally delivered to Northern Ireland where I met the owner, Bill Baxter, for the first time. Strange to put a face to a voice and delighted to discover he was just as pleasant in the flesh as he had been all along during the building. A real gentleman. To trust us to build a boat, well Mattis to be honest, sight unseen was touching.

After the hand over we all went out to dinner at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, which is a treat in itself, the stairs and upper rooms packed with Thomas Lipton memorabilia from his unsuccessful five attempts to win the America's Cup. Now this, for all of us who are used to scruffy sailing clubs, is a proper club with history and all that, and a dining room with pictures of famous yachts.

And then, rather than turning left to head back to Ullapool, I headed south to my old homeland: The Purbecks, which were bathed in soft light, balmy winds blew sweetly etc, etc (which made a change from the bloody awful weather we often get up here and which, as I write, is heading our way this evening).

While in Swanage I looked up a boatbuilder by the name of Pete Sedgewick. That's him beside a superb Herreshoff sloop that has been in the building for a good few months and for which he is looking to find a buyer.

Now this is top quality stuff and as far from my boat building as is possible to go. Whereas this is gleaming carvel, under multiple coats of enamel and varnish, mine are sturdy (I hope) clinker work boats with a semi yacht-like finish that can be refurbished at the stroke of a brush full of linseed oil and Stockholm tar. We got on fine.

Back home now there is a shed to build and work to be done on the house, so the lack of boats to build could not have occurred at a better time.

In the shed, however, is a Shetland boat to re-rig and outside a Goat Island Skiff both of which are work in progress, so the wolf although howling in the distance is not yet slavering at the door....

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