Friday, 24 May 2013

OLD MEMORIES to share with you ( maybee boring )

Many year's ago when I was just a snip of a lad , I got into sailing because I had to give up football    ( dodgy back) I suppose I was around 25 years old , I brought a little Corribee mark 2 and kept her at Hoo Marina in a mud berth , Before that my only experience of sailing was when I was eleven years old , Lived on a farm up in a little place called Sudbourne in Suffolk , my stepfather and the farmers son who was crazy took me out in a cadet sailing dingy on the river down near Orford, I just remember it was a windy day, and I was told to sit near the mast while these two crazy idiots tried there best to scare the living daylights out of me, tacking up and down the river gun-whales under water, me baling them laughing, and me ,, well I was scared to death we were going to capsize or sink or both . That day must have been placed in my subconscious, and I will never know why I returned to do something I hated all those years later. Well back to the Corribee, she sat on that mud berth for a couple of months and I would go down a couple of times a week and sit and dream, but I was so scared to untie the ropes and go out and set sail. Eventually I did and after having the Boat ( Selene was her name ) I met a guy who had a little racing boat ( mini tonner ) and he asked me to race the boat for him, so without further ado got a crew and started racing on the Medway with a bit of success, we did Ramsgate week and everybody had a lot of fun.

Ozzeebee the original winning off Ramsgate
I then moved on a bit and helped build a quarter tonner that we raced on the east coast with not to much success but in 1984 we took her down the French canals and into the med 9 months off work , and were then faced with the dilemma of getting the boat back to the UK and only having £ 200.00 in our pockets , A Saga followed  and it is a long story but here are a couple of pics of this fantastic little boat .
Ozzeebee 2 sailing in the Med 1984 
     Briefly we took her through the canals to the Med , took 6 weeks and we had a whole summer down in the Balierics , run out of money and sailed to Gibraltar non stop , took 6 days , and we had already decided to sail non stop back to the UK ( non stop cos we had no money )
Shepherds Marina Gib the day before we left 

Looking back the trip was OK , but there were scary moments and when I say scary I mean scary , after 23 days we sailed into Brest after coming close with the elements and complete exhaustion.
Mick and Les in Brest 1984 drying out , no money but we made it so far
 We borrowed a fiver from a guy on a motor boat ( a fiver was quite a lot in '84 )
and in a couple of day's sailed out and up channel to Ramsgate and finally the Medway
Adventure over, next up was Tom Bombadil  a Peterson quarter tonner , I still can't believe 3 of us sailed it back from Falmouth to the Medway non stop with only a camping gaz stove that you sat on the floor of the boat and held onto while it boiled the kettle , Apart from John having hallucinations in the fog off the Isle of Wight we did it OK , and the next year raced it in the EAORA series on the East coast winning class 4 in the process .
Racing off West Mersea  in 1986

Just after the start in front of Local Hero
 We had a great year with Tom Bombadil but then I met a beautiful Lady ( OK it was a boat ) her name was Viola she was a forty two foot Fife and she was lying in the mud up at Ipswich looking forlorn and unloved ,,, well here goes it is another long story and we will not be going into to much detail here. Upshot was I spent a lot of time and money working on her and then with a gang of people went sailing across the bay of Biscay down to the Med , back out and down to the Canneries where I spent the winter , before once again running out of money ,,,,, sailed her up to Madeira, and then with two others sailed her back to Brighton non stop with just a sextant and log and a bloody great bilge pump  She leaked like a sieve and the most we pumped in one hour was 142 pumps , she had a single cylinder Ducati engine and when approaching the western approaches, the prop shaft came adrift of the aft end and in wide sweeps disintegrated the saloon till it stopped , Oh dear the saga's never stopped on Viola , but we had a year out sailing and it was another adventure under my belt , Viola has since been restored to original and is in La Rochelle with a very rich owner , and I am still waiting for my invite aboard ,
wow what a yacht Viola a William Fife yacht 1906
 well your almost up to date , but not quite , I will also just say that I took all my exams , Yacht master offshore and Ocean at the Greenwich college ( I think ) back in the early 80,s  ,,,,your now up to 1986 and more adventures are to come next time.

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