On sailing a Folksong – update

“Looks like a new boat” said the man in the marina who kindly walked me out of the berth.

Indeed, she does. Blue Mistress has finally become the boat I thought I glimpsed the first time I saw her four years ago almost to the day. Ever since that moment, I have been working towards this.

What she has become has more to do with ownership than anything specific. Instead of coping with someone else’s ideas, (however good they may have been), it comes down to owning a boat where all the positives and all the negatives are now the product of my own collaborations and my own final decisions. I guess everyone who sails a boat for any length of time will know what I mean.

For example, it could be because I am sitting at my new chart table, notebook open, pencil at the ready, able to make notes whenever I choose.

It could equally be because the galley has been cleaned up and I’ve bought a smaller kettle which comes to the boil more quickly.

Or that the loo facilities have been thought through properly and, suitably primed, are now satisfactory.

Or the new feel of spaciousness thanks to Robin Leach’s excellent finish to the repainting and retrimming.

Perhaps it’s because I have rethought the locker stowage so that more gear is to hand – gear that, in the past, had been ‘put away’ to be sorted out later.

It could be that, sitting here, with this excellent cup of tea, listening to Handel on the radio and watching people enjoy their Sunday on the water, I am mesmerised by the reflection of the sunlight on the water. In a boat with low freeboard you feel closer to the water- if you write about the sea, you are writing closer to the source!

It could also be that the rudder and tiller that have been bothering me for so long have been dealt with for the time being and I have the enjoyable prospect of sea trials ahead.

It’s all these things, of course, but, above all, it is the knowledge that every time I come aboard I won’t be looking around seeing all these jobs to do – jobs that in no way did I have the skills to complete to this standard. This bulk of unfinished business was getting in the way.

At my age, I have, in Jon Wainwright’s words, “only so many tides” to catch.

Blue Mistress now fits – and I feel freer to catch those tides.


This was my first post written on the boat – albeit with notebook and pencil to be copied later. I hadn’t realised how deep my ambition has been to do this comfortably.

No, I didn’t buy the boat to have a table to write at. I bought the boat to be able to sail. Writing about it has come out of owning it and given me the chance to find ways forward.

I shall continue to post. I wonder if my emphasis will change.