12/03/2015: Rain, rain and more SNOW!
We have been getting a lot of snow lately, and it's really interfering with my
fibreglassing. Don't the weather god's know that I have a boat to finish!? But seriously
it reminded me of the morning that we headed to the boat show in London, and I
realised that I haven't fully detailed what a great day it was. It did start with this photo on
the left in the car park of Cork Airport. Out of bed at about 4am, to drive ungritted snow-
covered roads to Cork City.
As I mentioned in the last entry, it's not just the sailing that make life on a boat so
enticing, for us it's as much the people, and this years trip did not disappoint. Whatever
your taste in sailing, for those of you who feel the buzz when skimming headlong
between the cans, lee-rail in the water, inches from another’s bow, Sir Ben Ainsley
was there. Promoting and chatting about BAR and the Americas Cup.
Then, a chance meeting with the 2014 yachtsman of the year and for me, all-round
sailing superhero Sir Robin Knox Johnson had us in a bit of a spin.
The day just got better and
better until the evening
came and we gave up our
nautical surrounds for a
train out of London to meet
my personal giants of
As the sort of sailor who
doesn’t like to spill his tea
on a broad reach, nor hare
around three capes in a
small wooden boat, I like my
sailing at an altogether
more relaxed pace. I like to
cruise, and as a soon-to-be
live-aboard, there is no one’
s company I would rather
have kept that evening than
Bill and Laurel Cooper’s.
The Coopers have penned several books about their travels, most notably the live-
aboard bible ‘Sell up and Sale’, which is precisely what they did almost 40 years ago.
These remarkably youthful octogenarians put their good health and energy down to a
life at sea. They spoke with such infectious enthusiasm that it felt as though we had
moored next to them in some remote anchorage and had popped over to trade sailing
stories. Although I must admit that in the company of such sailors, my stories felt like
they came complete with training wheels attached. Getting down to the nitty-gritty of
sailing and living aboard a boat, they were so utterly generous with their advice and
encouragement in advance of our own departure.
Bill and Laurel exchanged their
life on the water for dry land
last year, but continue to
inspire ocean crossers and
armchair sailors all over the
world through their writing.
Most recently, Bill departed his
usual genre of informative fact
driven writing for the novel
“Seago: A Sea Story”, an
exciting thriller set in the post
WW2 Royal Navy. I’m not
usually one for fiction, but this
was written as if the author was
witness to the events, cataloguing every move, every thought of the young officer Tom
Seago and his brilliant fiancé Dr. Alison Maynard.
So while planning your next season of sailing, look to the giants who inspire your kind
of sailing and wonder what they might have done at your level. Try a new port, sail a
degree or two further north or south, or even dig out the ‘like new’ spinnaker that you’ve
kept locked away, all the while keep a good log, someone will thank you for it down the