01 January 2008

It's in my blood

My sister and I were both taken sailing when we were still in carrycots so it's not surprising that sailing is in our blood and we are following the family tradition.

The first photo is of our grandfather racing at Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex in 1909.

The next shows our mother age around 10 at the helm with her brother, sister and cousin.

Next my mother is still at the helm, this time a young woman.

Finally my mother, again at the helm, this time cruising with her husband just before WW2.

My early memories are of mucking around in boatyards while my father was fitting out our 18 foot Essex One Design.

When my father wanted to show off his daughters to family friends and relations instead of getting us to recite poetry or play a piece on the piano he taught us to demonstrate tying bowlines behind our backs!

My first (and until now only) venture into boat ownership involved a very dilapidated 14 foot Cheetah catamaran (rather like a modern Hobie Cat) which my cousin Jill and I co-owned. We got her seaworthy and sailed her for a couple of seasons until we both left school and moved away from the Thames Estuary for work and studies.

Now fast forward almost 50 years. I have retired and for the first time for many years got the time to spend more time afloat. Sure, in the interim I have sailed whenever the opportunity arose; for example teaching sailing in the south of France, a decky on the Darwin to Ambon race, voyage crew on the tall ship Soren Larsen in the Pacific, crewing on the 37 ft yacht Intention in Vanuatu and only last year bareboating with my sister Pat in the Whitsundays. That last experience was so enjoyable that I started to dream "what is to stop me buying my own little boat?" Answer "nothing" so that, in summary, is what led to my love affair with Little Dragon.

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