From the Top


Growing up in flatland Saskatchewan tends to give one a rather skewed perspective on what the sky should look like - it should be full, open and visible for miles, not unlike the sea. Perhaps this is what drew us to the ocean and ultimately to buying a boat. Years ago I saw a quote from Jonathan Cape, it struck a cord and I have carried it around with me ever since.

"Houses are but badly built boats so firmly aground that you cannot think of moving them. They are definitely inferior things, belonging to the vegetable not the animal world, rooted and stationary, incapable of gay transition. I admit, doubtfully, as exceptions, snailshells and caravans. The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thenceforward with a single anchorage. The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting-place.
It is for that reason, perhaps, that when it comes the desire to build a boat is one of those that cannot be resisted. It begins as a little cloud on a serene horizon. It ends by covering the whole sky, so that you cannot think of anything else. You must build to regain your freedom. And always you comfort yourself with the thought that yours will be the perfect boat, the boat that you may search the harbors of the world for and not find".
Dennis, the head chippy

Construction Super
The desire to build a boat, or more correctly, cause one to be built using our ideas, started, like the quote above, as a small cloud and ultimately became the all consuming goal during that period of our lives. This drew us to the east coast of England to Hartley Marine, a small builder on the Medway, a ways east of London. The process took the best part of nine months and caused a weekly Saturday pilgrimage to yard to see how things were progressing. The yard did a great job, managing to accommodate almost all of our idiosyncratic ideas into the design and did so with style and quality.
Launch day came at last and with much fan fare, and more than just a touch of trepidation, Jackie did the honors with a bottle of bubbly.  It all went according to plan and the boat actually floated in the Medway.  I always thought it was such a shame to put nice new shiney boats in salt water, especially one as brown as the one shown here.  We made our way to the Gillingham Marina and spent a day or so there setting things up prior to the trip to Lymington.

The Shakedown Cruise

The boat was launched on June 22 and on the 24 we sailed her around to Lymington to complete the installation of the electronics and other components that I undertook to install, rather than the boatyard.  With a crew of 5 we set off on the shakedown cruise to Gibralter on the 28.  The trusting souls were Philip, Paddy, Myles and Clare.  We made up a jovial bunch setting off into the great unknown.  Initially the weather was light and we made a stop at Dartmouth to top up the fuel tanks and take on more water.  After that we pointed our nose south and set off across the English Channel, dodging the shipping somewhat successfully.  There was one small incident when I was woken rather abruptly with the roaring of the diesel and a hard turn to starboard in an avoidance turn.  On coming up on deck a rather large wall of steel was sliding by at a pretty uncomfortable distance, that certainly got the adrenaline pumping and I think I slept with one eye open the rest of the journey.


  1. OK, I'm now 'Onboard' so to speak.

    Looking forward to seeing the wind in the sails comments etc....have a GREAT TIME

  2. I just saw you have a must have been walking around the back yard testing :-)
    Hope you made it out of Edmonton OK.