Farewell Veryan, Bonjour La Reve!


Some of you may recall a certain froideur descended on Hotel H earlier this year when Tom decided it was time to buy a new boat. After weeks of being constantly worn down I finally agreed – on certain conditions – one of which was to sell Veryan, our old wooden boat. Well, the photo on the left shows her leaving Cardigan with Norman, her new and delighted owner who, with the intention of restoring her to her former glory, has entered her for the Milford Seafair 2008 classic boats craft event. I have to say after years of having a love/hate relationship with Veryan I waved the old girl off with fond memories of the good times aboard; being so sick I wet my knickers, nearly getting us mown down in the shipping lanes crossing the Channel, strip washing in a bucket, that sort of thing.

Despite her age Veryan always turned a few heads being a very pretty boat but her deep keel and her inability to take the ground – ie stand on her own two feet without water – make her difficult to sail in this part of the world where there are fewer opportunities to stay afloat in harbour. Now, once upon a time I would probably have given up sailing without a second thought but I’ve slowly been indoctrinated. Being the only yacht in a secluded bay under a starry sky is totally beguiling, being the sole witness to a rosy dawn is breathtaking and yes, I have to say that being together on the boat has given us the space and time to come up with some of our best ideas. We’ve had traumas and scares but proper adventures too, the sort that everyday life rarely offers.

So, as of last week we became the joint owners of La Reve, a fat old plastic tub, like a bigger version of something you’d stick in your bath. Pretty she ain’t, but her redeeming features are that she has proper engine, unlike Veryan which seemed to have something which would barely power a strimmer, she can take the ground and – this is the winner for me – the last owner fitted her with a gizmo which produces hot water! I can actually have a shower aboard now!

At the weekend we went for our inaugural voyage in her, which was supposed to be a trip to Fishguard. Unfortunately we didn’t make it over the Cardigan bar because some giant Atlantic rollers were breaking there so it was back for a quick jaunt round the estuary, an afternoon watching the tide go out and the wading birds dabble around in the mud (the stars of the show being a pair of egrets). We then cracked open the fizz and were rocked gently to sleep as the tide crept up again. Not bad at all.

Comments

Blossomcottage said…
Sailing is something I have tried and failed at, living so near the beautiful Langston Harbour and Cowes with all its glorious racing I know I have missed a lot, but some how the water and I just do not mix. I however love to hear of others adventures and watch the boats from the shore. Lovely blog.
Blossom
Hannah Velten said…
That sounds just sooo romantic - being rocked to sleep by the lapping waves, having just had a warm shower and bottle of fizz...looking forward to hearing more adventurous tales and near misses (with obviously some less hair-raising event too!). Mootia x
LittleBrownDog said…
A very pretty boat indeed (but not totally practical, I agree). I, too, have less than fond memories of learning to sail - capsize drill in particular, always seemed to involve being hefted over the transom buy the burliest man on board - not an elegant sight in my case! Here's to many happy (and freshly showered) hours in La Reve - and all who sail in her.
Suffolkmum said…
Wow it sounds fantastic. I've never sailed in my life. Have to say the departed Veryan was very pretty!
UN PEU LOUFOQUE said…
Bliss!! Don't suppseo MIL sails does she what with her bowels etc!!!No? Oh what a pity!!
Milla said…
Don't do boats, mess, sea wobbles, basically scared of deep water - and me a pisces. But if it floats your boat, ho ho ... have fun.
lampworkbeader said…
I've never tried messing about in boats, but you make it sound very tempting.
Flowerpot said…
Oh Chris I share your ambivalence for sailing! We are currently without a boat for the first time in Himself's life and he hates it. Only finance that stops us getting another one. La Reve sounds a good sturdy boat - enjoy!
Elizabethd said…
Veryan looks very similar to a Hillyard that we had in Cornwall some years ago. Lovely wooden boats, but such a lot of upkeep. I do miss having a boat now.
Pipany said…
Is the name Veryan anything to do with Cornish associations Chris? Just wondered because there is a village so named on the Roseland peninsula. Lovely blog, particularly the bit about wetting ones knickers!!!! xx
elizabethm said…
We learnt to sail just a few years ago. I still get seasick but it is oddly worth it as you say. Ian is lobbying for a sailing holiday next year. I am torn. I know I will love it when I get going but I also know there will be one day when I am sick as a dog. Hmmm
Casdok said…
Wow! Yes bliss!
mountainear said…
I like the idea of sailing but the idea of too many bodies in confined spaces and toilets to pump takes me out of my comfort zone.

I'll have one of those floating gin palaces with a liveried crew.....
Pondside said…
The Great Dane and I had a wooden sail boat nearly 30 years ago. It's sale (NOT sail!) is what ultimately saved our marriage. We were not compatable sailors - he liked the wind and risky weather, whereas my favorite day of sailing was one with no wind whatsoever, a bottle of wine, a good book and a putt-putt home on the engine!
Your last paragraph sounds perfect to me!
Lane said…
I have never sailed in my life but having read that I now feel I've been missing out on something rather special:-)
sally's chateau said…
Oh I am sooo envious. Classics do tend to turn heads don't they ? from a comfort point of view though I know what you mean. Oh now that Hotel H is empty can HL and I pop over for some fun ?
CAMILLA said…
Sounds wonderful Chris, but I am no good with sailing or Boats, for fear of water and being terribly sick. I am a good swimmer, but vast Sea on Boat, I go weak at the knees. My husband though use to love sailing in his younger days.

Camilla.xx
Posie Rosie said…
You make sailing sound so lovely. My parents spend their summers living on their boat, sailing up the west coast. I have never been a seabird, always said it would take a very dishy sailor to convince me otherwise! Wishing you many happy voyages in your cosy 'sea home'. Posie x
Cait O'Connor said…
Your old boat was indeed beautiful. I have never sailed but I love boats and would love being rocked to sleep by the waves. Just off to bed now and will imagine just that.
(Aways fancied living on a narrowboat actually).
Good to catch up on your blogs.
laughing hysterically from Shropshire...or guess who suffered seasickness on a narrow boat holiday????

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