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Sunday, 24 January 2010

On a grey day at the back end of January, the rain is not quite falling, it's Sunday, and on Sundays we go and look at yachts. I know this is getting to be quite obsessive, and there must be a cure, but for now we're happy to feed our addiction.
We're off to Lytham, which is about 75 miles away, near Blackpool. There's a boatyard, with a couple of yachts we thought we have to see, a Jouet 1040 and a Hustler 36ft, which appeals cause she's got that seductive shape we seem to be drawn to,
The boat yard is on the edge of a very narrow muddy creek that looks far too small to manoeuvre these large yachts into, however, here they all are lined up on the key, put away for the winter. Today is a volunteers day, when they have a yard clear up so it's quite a busy place.
We are due to meet the agent at one but we're early, so we wander round and spot both boats side by side. We bump into the owner of the Jouet, so he takes us on a guided tour of his boat. The first thing that struck me as odd, was that it had a wheel downstairs as well as one in the cockpit. It also seemed to have lots of room, and was very tidy.
Alan, knew all about his boat, and spoke about it in nautical terms, things like shrouds, and windlass's furling mainsails, and fetch in the Irish sea. The weird thing is that I understood what he was talking about 90% of the time. Other times I just smile knowingly, but there you go, slowly getting the language, must be on the way to becoming proper sailors.
Very interesting layout in the Jouet, but the idea of the wheel below throws me a bit, maybe not for us this one, although later I'll see it differently.
Next up the Hustler from 74, I think. Lovely lines, a bit looking her age, but in good condition never the less. When we go down below though, it seems very cramped after the Jouet that we've just seen. It's got stuff stored all over the place so it wasn't as well presented as the Jouet, but all in all it was OK.
So we haven't fallen in love today with our boat, but we did get closer to knowing what we want. I think we need the sort of space that we felt on the Jouet, and that has made me think again about wanting a racer/cruiser type yacht. They're really cramped below, and I think I'm definitely drawn to a wider beamed boat.
But I got intrigued by the fact that the Jouet had a furling mainsail.
When we got home I googled the pros and cons of furling mainsails and came up with some interesting stuff. I know it's one more thing to go wrong which makes me wary, but after reading lots of comments on one or two sites I think a furling mainsail sounds just the thing for us senile delinquents. Not having to balance on a heaving deck to put a reef or two into a big heavy sail sounds like the way forward to me.

So we didn't find our boat but I think we're making progress.

This Saturday we start our RYA Day skipper theory course, just another step on this journey of a thousand miles, should be interesting, and will nudge us a little closer to our dream.