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Sunday, 30 August 2009

Looking at boats

This weeekend we set up a couple of veiwings of yachts that were for sale on Windermere. One was a 21ft and one was a 26ft. We were thinking that if we could buy ourselves a boat that was some where around the size we would eventually buy in the Dominican Republic then we could get some sailing practice in and take the courses that the RYA do. We are not at all convinced by what we're doing but we've set up these veiwings so we go ahead. The first boat is going to be at the public jettys near to the Windermere Ferry. This yacht looks a bit small, although when we get up close it's not that small but it's pretty basic. In fact we decided that this is a fun sailing boat, one that's fun to sail if your into sport sailing, and has enough room to sort of camp out on but there's no real facilities, just a nice sailing boat. We came away thinking that we didn't see us with that sort of a boat.
Next day, Sunday we're off to meet Pat and Dave who have a Westerley Centaur. This boat looks like a caravan on the water, and we meet them at their mooring at Cunsey woods. Dave takes us out to the boat on his dingy and we climb aboard. Now this is much more like it, at 26ft and with over six foot of head room and with all the gubbins, cooker, sink, head,(toilet in nautical speak).
This feels just what we want, it feels like a big boat, but not too big, and it is not at all flashy, it's the sort of boat we would maybe buy in the Dominican republic. We leave thinking that we've found our boat, but on our way back we chat through our feelings and although it's great we start to think that we're going down the wrong road here. We decide that looking at boats has been a good thing, but that really, we just need to learn how to sail. So do we need a yacht at this moment, and the answer is no, what we need is to do the course and after talking to the instructors re-evaluate and not think of spending 10,000 on a yacht, that can wait till we get to the Caribbean. But it's been an interesting weekend, and I think we've moved our adventure on an inch or two.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Googleing the dream

Now this might be a bit premature as we still haven't been on our start yachting course yet but we've been googleing yachts for sale. We've got no idea what we want, because we know nothing about yachts at all but we've been googleing the dream and bought a collection of help books from the RYA. None of this helps, because theres simply zillions of yachts for sale with descriptions that are so nautically esoteric that we are boggled, but in the end we have a budget and this drastically narrows our criteria. We have found yachts from 1000 pounds to 1,000,000 pounds and we figure we have at best about 10,000 pounds to spend. This seriously narrows our choice as we have gleaned from our research that we need something that is in the 30 odd foot class to sail the worlds oceans. We have realised that out of all the boats for sale you can only go on the vibe from the pictures and what little we understand from the specs.
This is not the way to buy a yacht, we need some expert advice, but there's none availeable so being in the Lake district we decide to take a visit to the Windermere marina, just to see if we can run into somebody, or something that might give us a clue of what we're doing. We park up outside reception, as if we were serious about buying one of the boats sale in the marina.The boats in this Marina are monumental, I mean huge, lots of very serious motor boats, the sort of size that could only be owned by a sultan of Suadi Arabia or Richard Branson. Nesteled in between these are the yachts, big yachts,36ft jobs, all gleeming inspite of the English overcast skies. These are so out of our league, but we skulk back into the sales office and ask if there's anything for under 10,000, a bit embarassingly. They've got a couple of boats we can look at the yard. One is a 23ft job and the other a 32ft, but both are so underwhelming that we come away thinking we can't afford what we need.
So it's back to googleing.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

First mate's response

Take care Captain, your comments on my bespoke wellies have not gone unnoticed. Continue along these lines and you could find yourself walking the plank five miles offshore of the British Virgin Islands.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

We've bought the wellies

Now these are not just any old wellies but wellies designed to be worn by sailors, in fact they're not even called wellies, the box describes them as full length deck boots. They are made from 100% natural rubber with razor cut soles for maximum grip in all weathers, and they are our first purchase on our quest to become sailors. Our goals are, perhaps a little ambitious, but hey what the heck, sailing the caribbean islands aboard your own 36ft sailing cruiser sounds pretty good to us and so we've bought the wellies. Not that we expect to need them once we're plying the exotic waters of the West Indies, but we've booked a two day R.Y.A., start yachting course in Cumbrea on the west coast of Scotland and the letter says you have to bring your own wellies.
Luckily we live just a few miles from Winderemere, and Winderemere is teeming with sailing boats and sailors. To cater for these hoards of sailing types there are marine outfitters, which are a sort of B&Q for people who own boats. So on Saturday morning,August 15th we headed off to Bowness to begin our nautical adventure in search of wellies, or full length deck boots, as we now know they're called. The end of August is getting to the end of their season and there wasn't a huge choice but in the end we plumbed for a matching pair of Gull, blue,grey and cream boots that had a piece of fabric on the top with a laced tie, very fetching, and comfy. Of course when we arrive at Cumbrae and meet with our instructor he's going to think we look a little over dressed in the wellie dept. but hey we're serious about this and so it requires a serious comitment in the wellie stakes, and I believe he'll realise that these two new students are laying down a marker here, I hope he'll be impressed with our commitment, but I'm afraid he might just see us as overdressed in the wellie dept. We paid almost eighty quid for two pairs of wellies, this yachting business is turning out to be expensive, and we've only just begun, but we have got the wellies. When we got back home Jackie decided that the fabric around the top of her pair was a little too tight and unpicked the stitching and took it off making hers look like a rather normal pair of wellies and not the full length deck boot that she'ld bought. Oh well, maybe that sort of customisation will go down well with our seasoned instructor and she'll gain brownie points for practical improvisation and scant regard for the shelving out of 38 quid on a pair of full length deck boots that are now simply expensive wellies