Autumn Break. Part Two: Boats and Backwaters

Ma considers the charms of sailing
‘You’re not going to buy another boat, are you?’ asks Ma, stunned. Like Pondside and Frances, she vividly recalls the problems of the naughty Pig Boat, but for me and Tom (who needs no encouragement) distance lends considerable enchantment to our view of sailing. Oh, I know I was sick half way round Britain on our lovely Veryan, but what about the amazing sights we saw? Steering by a star (Arcturus) though the Looe Channel, following a moonbeam into Salcombe, being surrounded by basking sharks yawning in a still sea off Penzance… just a few of the moments that will always stay with me.

Today we’ve come to look at a fat little boat which might be just right for some gentle pottering. Even better, she’s in the sleepy backwater where sailing all began for me and at the boatyard which worked its way into my imagination.

Across the backwaters

At Ramsgate on Veryan

Size-wise, we decide, the boat’s doable, with enough headroom to stand up and enough leg-room to stretch out, though she certainly needs some tlc. Leaving Tom to look at all the technical stuff, I re-join Ma who’s been sitting in the sun. ‘Do you know?’ she says, ‘I can see why you like all this, it’s so different.’ I’m delighted she agrees because it is different here, a world away from gleaming gin palaces and the marine equivalent of a car park. Boats, for us, have never been about Musto jackets or Kevlar sails, but seeing the world from another angle, of taking time out to sit and think. So if the right boat comes along at the right time, who knows?

We head off to find a peaceful picnic spot overlooking the sea where a more intrepid traveller passes us by... now this is one activity I'm definitely not trying!


Kathryn Freeman said…
So, did you buy the boat? How wonderful to be able to sail. I had a go once. After capsizing four times in 2 hours in our local gravel pit I gave up. Looks more fun on a bigger boat though!
Chris Stovell said…
Not yet, Kate! All boat thoughts are Thoughts in Progress at the moment!
My view of sailing is that the best parts are am-a-zing and the worst parts are horrendous!
Chanpreet said…
Wow Chris! Did you try the motion sickness remedies both herbal and pharmaceutical? I haven't traveled much by boat. Nothing really beyond a boat on Lake Michigan that was tour boat, but seeing the sights just might be worth it!
Pondside said…
Before we had a boat I wanted one so very badly. When we had a boat I felt guilty if we weren't on the water or terrified if we were out in too much wind, or wished to just stay home on a weekend that was perfect for sailing. When we sold the boat I felt relieved. Now I'm happy to be an appreciative guest on someone else's boat!
Chris Stovell said…
Chanpreet, I think I've tried everything! Sea Bands (gave them a burial at sea), Stugeron (sends me to sleep), ginger biscuits (tasty but useless) all to no effect. The best of the bunch for me is Traveleeze (those chewy pastilles). It's horrendous, but strangely I tend to forget it as soon as we've anchored because the sights are worth it!

Pondside, ah, I'd forgotten that bit... I think that's why 'the right boat at the right time' mantra is the top priority.
Jill Barry said…
Loving the boat reminiscences! My most memorable boat trip was on The Maid of the Mists, the tourist boat that takes people within safe distance of the Niagara Falls. Even with the plastic cape thingies we were given, we all got drenched! I hope your latest novel does well, Chris x
Frances said…
Chris, the idea of some back water sailing does catch even my imagination. Mind you, I don't think I have been on a boat smaller than a ferry since I was about 14.

I would think just traveling around a bit to look at boats , enjoying the atmosphere, chatting with local boat owners and lovers would be lots of fun.

And when I recall your photos of the view from your place that shows the sea not so far away, I realize that another boat must surely be in your future.

Fennie said…
Great stuff, Chris. Hope it all works out. Happy future memories!
Chris Stovell said…
Jill, that must have been an incredible experience, I met the sounds were impressive too. (I'm not doing in this little boat though!).

Sarah... so tempting! xx

Frances, that is part of the fun! We had a great time talking to one of the locals when his dog came over to introduce herself to us. Too many stories to tell here, really! And, yes, one day.... Cx

Thoughts in Progress, Fennie! We'll see what happens.

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