Friday, 31 August 2012

All at sea: bungling boat owners break all the rules or carry on carping

Andy showing the boys how it's done
As many of you know, we spend a great deal of time in Cornwall and, despite knowing bugger all about sailing, have borrowed boats lent by generous and, some might argue foolhardy, friends. This has led to nursing a hankering for our own boat, something Hubbie and the boys have been going on about for some time. So to great cheers and whoops from the boys we took the family down to the Gaverne quay on Sunday evening to reveal the small boat that is now the Ogden-Newton fishing vessel. Surprise!

The weather was lovely on Sunday and, with much needed help from our friend Andy, we launched the boat from Port Gaverne and set off around the bay for a delightful evening trip where conditions were ideal to admire the stunning coastline. Obviously the boys had plans for a full blown fishing trip the next day and were not put off by a change in the weather. It was raining and although the sea was relatively calm there was a nasty offshore wind. Hubbie, however, was reluctant to take the boat out but buckled under family pressure, and so after a great deal of carry-on, we launched the boat and set off.
The bay of Gaverne 

Very quickly, Joe and Sam started landing mackerel aplenty, in fact as fishing trips go, the catch became biblical with Hubbie reeling in five fish on his first cast. Distracted by our success and the need to throw most of the fish back for being too small or too many we had not seen that we had been blown quite a way out to sea. Once we clocked this and the worsening conditions we decided to head back.

We hadn't got far before the engine stopped and we realised that not only had we run out of petrol, oh dear, we hadn't brought the spare tank. I dispensed life jackets and offered a rousing version of 'Row, row, row your boat' as Hubbie broke out the new oars. The rowing position is high on the bow of the boat and means that two people are really necessary to do the deed. This led to hilarious antics as Hubbie's rowing was, of course, far more powerful than ours and so no matter who his rowing companion was, we kept going around in circles. As morale deteriorated the boys objected to my song so I put my singing voice away and looked for my phone.

After guaging our slow progress I decided to call our friend Richard Cook who is a local coastguard and takes great care over the boating traffic in Port Gaverne. Richard lives in the Harbour Master's House, which has a commanding view of the bay and explains why, when I rang, he was already watching us through his binoculars and had put his waders on ready to launch.

In minutes Richard came to our aid towing our stricken vessel back to harbour and saving us the humiliation of having to call out the RNLI. Later, in his kitchen having been offered a much welcome cup of tea and slices of lovely homemade lemon cake, he told his bedraggled guests that when he goes out he takes two petrol tanks, one to top up and an extra gallon, just in case. He also pointed out that if the other boats aren't going out, there is probably a reason for that as, for instance, on that day the wind was strong enough to cause a small vessel quite a lot of problems should it run into trouble, as we did.

Richard couldn't help but add that we had had the boat for less than 24 hours and had already needed a rescue! Let's hope it's our last ehh? Next time we won't be going anywhere unless conditions are good and the petrol tanks are with us. I told Richard, had he ever seen us erect a tent (Hubbie's first attempt is in my top three laughs ever), he would know how steep our sailing learning curve is.

Still you can't knock us for our enthusiasm and thank god for the internet which offers helpful videos such as how to back a car with a trailer, and getting your engine started! Monday night we dined on line-caught mackerel with potatoes and green beans from the allotment, so despite being rubbish sailors, we did enjoy our home harvest and with a little help from our friends to escape calamity, we felt up on the day.


  1. sail at sea would be dangerous but really rocks. just like the experience in the game Diablo 3

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