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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Hearts of Oak 100th Birthday


There must be some kinda way out of here said the joker to the thief. Still no offers on our house, or the other one we got on the market and the deadline draws nearer. Come October we'll both be out of our jobs and the plan to leave England for the Dominican republic is getting closer and closer. Without the sale of at least one property we won't be sailing any time soon, at least not on our own boat.

Still in the meantime we get to have fun sailing on a 100 year old boat that was built in our home town of Ulverston. Hearts of Oak is a Morcambe bay shrimper that has been rescued from rotting away in Northern Island by a trust set up by a tenacious woman called Jennifer Snell, who's very into the heritage of our little town here in Northern England. Jennifer has pursued this boat for over ten, maybe 15 years. It was donated to her trust who went about raising funds in excess of £60,000 pounds to bring her back to how she was when launched back in 1912.

We ran into Jennifer one day in our indoor market where she told us that she was short of sailors to sail her newly restored pride and joy.  We offered our services, not that we knew anything about the way you sail a 100 year old boat, all our training has been on modern yachts, but we thought it might be fun, and hey, could it be much different. Yes, and no I suppose is the answer to that one.

So although we had poodled about the docks in her Sunday, her 100th birthday would be our first chance to sail her for real. She had been moved from the docks in Barrow, where they build nuclear subs, to a drying out mooring in Morcambe bay, just off Peil island. She was heeled over and lieing on the sand waiting for the tide to float her when we boarded her in the morning. Slowly over the next few hours the tide crept in and eventually lifted her free of the Rampside mud.

We weighed anchor and motor sailed over to the celebrations on Peil island. After a few snacks and a drink we took her out for a sail by the crowds that had come to see this old girl. The winds were light but once we hoisted the sails, away she went, graciously catching the breeze, tacking backwards and forwards for her photo shoot. A very proud moment for Jennifer who stayed on shore as she hates the sea, and sailing. Curious. We loved it, great to be doing some sailing, and all the better for sailing an antique, classic boat, a real experience.

This weekend were off to Nimes in the south of France to look at a boat. It's a ferro cement boat that was designed by Alan hill who had something to do with Gypsy Moth that took Chichester around the globe. I don't know if this will be our boat, it's cheap, I know that, and it's on this side of the pond.  So if we like what we see we may still fulfil our dream of sailing the Atlantic to our new home in The Dominican republic.

Lets hope this is our boat, but what's more lets hope somebody wants to buy one of these two houses and then we can really get this adventure moving. The Greeks have just voted to stay in the Euro zone so maybe now things will pick up.
Nothing is moving round here, nothing is selling. All we need is for someone to buy one of these properties and we're on our way. Till then we'll continue to go on adventures on Hearts of oak and learn the ways of the saiors of old.