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Who are our heroes?

Erm? They're Clive and Les aren't they?

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(the hairy one)


(the smooth one)

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Read more about Quintet, the boat that will carry our adventurers on their journey.

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Les's Epilogue

N/B Mad Hatter
Limehouse Basin

20th September, 2005

When I first saw Quintet in the slipway at Littlehampton in July, 2004, she wasn’t at all what I expected. She certainly would not have been my choice of yacht. But she was attractive and appeared sound and seaworthy. I agreed with Clive that she looked like a comfortable boat to sail.

Our experiences of the last three months have confirmed that in light airs and flat seas she is just as we anticipated. However with her shallow draught and extremely heavy mast, of solid wood, ten feet taller than the designer had intended, she rolls a bit and she is tender.

The tenderness isn’t too much of a problem. She has quite efficient and effective roller reefing on the main so sail can be taken off reasonably quickly and without significant bagging of the sail.

The rolling, especially at anchor, is more of a problem. In quite smooth seas we have been rolled by the wash of a vessel passing more than a mile away. And once the roll begins, the oscillation of such a heavy mast means it builds up to the point where one needs to hang on tight to stop falling out of bed. And under power, without sail up, a cross sea is uncomfortable and feels dangerous.

But that is her only real vice. Once balanced, she steers a straight line without the need to touch the helm. Even when full of cruising gear, inevitably finding its way into the ends of the boat, she has an easy motion with little pitching. She has turned out well although being two old men we have been careful to stay in port in anything but the nicest weather.

Clive has been a fine sailor on this trip, spending hours at the helm while I wrote fictional accounts of our adventures, marked meaningless crosses on charts and rustled up the occasional sandwich. However I do have some complaints.

  1. Clive won’t give an order. I suggest a number of alternative strategies and hear, in reply ‘Well, we could do that, or perhaps we might do that, or maybe….’ at which point I scream ‘TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO!’
  2. Clive doesn’t acknowledge navigational information. I say ‘ten degrees left’ and get nothing in reply. I say again ‘ten degrees left’ and he says ‘I know, I heard you.’ But how am I to know? It’s even worse when I am calling from the foredeck for him to come up to wind, or some such thing.
  3. Clive and I differ in opinion on how much water it takes to wash up. He complains that I boil two kettles of water to wash three glasses. Whereas I think that he uses half a cup of luke warm water to wash three plates, two glasses, a cup, a saucepan and the pressure cooker. And then, when I go to use them I have to wash them all over again.

Inevitably my views on all these matters are correct and Clive is wrong.

We have also had some disagreements over philosophy.

Clive believes the whole world is ‘out to get you’, anyone in a uniform, for example: every policeman, is probably corrupt, and all regulation is there to make life difficult, while I assume that people are generally kind and considerate and want to do the right and moral thing and don’t want to steal from you, at least until I am proven wrong. (I would point out that I do have some reservations about some people, notably Inland Revenue employees and women from Darlington.)

These differences have caused some friction between us. Clive insists that I ‘don’t live in the real world.’, while I am just saddened by his cynicism.

And Clive has a habit of discussing his views on the world when he has had a few beers. So there have been occasions when discussions have got sufficiently heated that I have considered waiting until he was asleep and then driving a winch handle though his chest. But I didn’t and I am glad I didn’t because, all things considered, we had a great time.

We have been to some great places. We have met some charming and helpful people (so why does Clive think as he does?). We have had some excellent food, drink and entertainment. It has been great fun.

I must admit, right now, I don’t want to do it again. But in a year or two……

So thank you Clive for the opportunity to have this adventure with you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful boat with me. Thank you for your excellent boat handling, sometimes in quite extreme conditions. Thank you for your companionship. I think we will probably continue our friendship.

I would also like to thank all those people who have helped us on the way round, who have welcomed us into their homes, their boats, their marinas, their yacht clubs.

Thanks especially to Dave for the website, Annie for the crew shirts, Harry and Sheila for laundry and beds ashore, Suzy and Pete for fish and chips, Allan and Mike for berthing in Hartlepool, Denise and Tony for dinner, dinner again and painting, and Dave for making sure we had a berth on the pontoon when we got back to Fosdyke.

Thanks to Ian and Neil for sailing with us.

Thank you to everybody who has phoned, emailed, txted, visited or thought about us.

Now I’m off to Australia to get some sailing under blue skies for a month. It will make a pleasant change to be on the deck of a boat and not wearing waterproofs and fleecy undies. And I need to try to contact Togs and Matt who want me to sail with them from the Azores to the Caribbean later in the year.

Oh, and then of course, I need a job. Annie tells me I need gainful employment as I have to pay for sailing in the Caribbean next year!