A simple pleasure – looking

Having watched the yacht leave – (and totally failed to note her name), I indulged in the simple pleasure of looking at boats.

A film crew has been in Teignmouth for the past week or so filming the Donald Crowhurst story – Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz etc have been here, 1960’s fashions have been in evidence – (the reporting in this link seems to be all about Rachel Weisz).

I have a deep sympathy for Donald Crowhurst and his family. A lot has been written and spoken about him, the story sensationalised for public consumption; like the previous film (Deep Water), this film will bring it all out again. I hope they treat him with respect. Whatever the mistakes, and there were many from the very beginning, (each one stacked on the previous one), he put himself forward for a huge enterprise that had no precedent. That alone took a particular mind-set. Only Knox-Johnson completed the course. In terms of seamanship, there would have been no disgrace in turning back – or even in not starting at all. One can only imagine what he must have gone through once at sea. Retrospect is easy, Therein lies the fascination – the question is asked of each one of us, “Having got into the tangle, what would you have done?” Think carefully.

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Short Story

Google captured Teignmouth entrance at low spring tide. At high tide the  sand bars are covered. Teignmouth is a working port. Several ships a week safely navigate this channel.

On 30th January, a large wave picked up the Girl Rona, a local trawler and dropped her onto the sandbank to the north of the channel. The fishing boat capsized and the five crewmen took to the water, to be rescued within half an hour by the local lifeboat. The wind was easterly and strong and remained so for the next three or four days.

The picture below was taken on 4th February. The main hatch had been opened and the catch had floated free,  to be consumed by thousands of seagulls – to the relief of the local council

The sand is constantly moving as river meets sea and the channel is continually dredged for shipping to enter and leave the port. The longer the boat lies there, the more the sand will build up around her and fill her hold.

At the first opportunity, a salvage operation must get under way.

Sunday, 5th February, the gear has been unloaded and fuel pumped out.

Lines were attached . . .

. . . and tested

The strain is taken and the boat begins to upright.

There is much discussion. Several hundred ‘experts’ watching from the shore all know how to do this better.

The afternoon wears on.  The salvage boats are in the channel. It would seem that the sand has built up between them and the trawler.

As the late afternoon sun catches the pier. . .

. . . she begins to move . . . but rolls over again.

By now the tide has ebbed and the operation is finished for the night.

The boat was finally freed the following night, “floating and stable at 0300 and back in harbour at 0430 on Tuesday morning.”.

This afternoon, there were five men on board . . . working hard. For them the story continues.