Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Mon 26 Jan 2009 17:25
Beez Neez - The Birth of a Dream
I have never had the chance to do my own blog - lots of you have visited me, know me or know of me, but many don't know my history. It is a history in two parts - My birth and my current life. Part One here goes...........
I was ordered as a bare hull by Mr. Brent Strickland at the end of 1997 and was delivered to his back garden early in 1998. Brent ( dad ) is a master boat builder, craftsman, lecturer and all round boat enthusiast. He was involved in the re-fitting of Gypsy Moth IV and as such I could not be in better, more qualified or expert hands. Mum ( Carole ) was in charge of supporting dad with fodder, drinks, encouraging words and later hundreds of hours varnishing.
A chap in Agadir, Morocco, came racing over to us the second we had tied up. He had worked at Trident Marine (builders) from the age of 16 and knew each of the hulls. In the first photo at the back of me you can just see a white blob, that is actually a tender that this young chap recognized as owned by his friend and co-worker. Me inside.
Dad sent Pepe many photos of my construction, she has put them in a scrap book we carry on board. She has photographed pages seen here of me in mum and dads garden, Everton, Lymington, Hampshire. Pepe thinks it's great I was born in the same county as her. She was born in Aldershot, Hampshire. Colin Firth was too, same vintage as Pepe, we all remember him coming out of the lake and strolling angrily in "that wet, white shirt" in Pride and Prejudice.
Brent lovingly spent 3,000 hours constructing me - the boat of his dreams in order to sail the world, it is true to say he knows my every nut, bolt, screw, angle, crevice and curve. All his boats have been called Smoky, the first having had a fire in a locker; from that day had that "just smoked" aroma. I was to be no different and I was named Smoky V.
The kitchen, the office with the spare double bed and my new mum and dads bed with of course Beds. The Crucifix above the headboard was found by Pepe's Great-Uncle Percy, he was marching during World War Two through Holland. On the verge he saw a twinkling, it was this Crucifix, originally on a chain. He believed it had belonged to a Padre, he took it off the chain and kept it. Many years later he gave it to Pepe's mum, who in turn gave it to her to keep me and all who sail in me safe.
Pepe says this is her favourite picture. Me looking snootily at the houses opposite.
Dad standing anxiously looking up as I am picked up, swung over the garage and lined up over the flat bed of the lorry.
Strapped on to the lorry, the crane, I brought Lymington to a stand still, had a police escort and finally in the hoist ready to get my feet wet for the first time in April 2001.
Me at my finest with mum and dad at the wheel before circumstances made me need a new mum and dad.
PART TWO. Pepe and Bear Millard had chosen to buy an Ovni, had been to the factory in Les Sables D' lonne, talked for ages to the site manageress and gone away to draw the inside to their specs. En route to the Southampton Boat Show, they decided to visit the used boat show in Lymington, to look inside some of the noted global blue water yachts, like the Rival Bowman, to help them with their design. Pepe wanted an L-shape kitchen, Bear fancied a potting shed and a bed to one side as opposed to at the front, but other than that they held no real fixed ideas. The young chap showing them round said "I know it's not exactly what you are looking for, but we have a boat about to come on the market, no details printed up yet, why not take a look. " Famous last words" - within seconds of stepping inside Bear fell head over heels in love with me. Pepe saw his face and put an offer in there and then. As Pepe left me she gave me a big kiss on the nose ( with her trademark 003 Diorific lippy - heaven help us all if there comes a day when she can't buy any more - there are two in the fridge at the minute - should keep her going a while yet ) and off they went to the boat show. On their way home, their phone rang, it was the broker saying someone else had been to see me and was happy to outbid on price. Pepe went into flat-spin and Bear was so upset, when he stopped for petrol, bought Pepe a teddy bear, the first he had ever bought her. He was Christened Beds (after a great uncle Fred, pronounced Beds when Pepe was small), he was squeezed very tightly all the way back to Plymouth and to this day goes everywhere with them. I call him my mascot, we chat a lot and have a good laugh together.
It turned out 'the someone' only wanted me in The Med for holiday use. Dad being the wonderful man he is, asked who had kissed me, and, as they wanted me to fulfill his dream of going global, he said I was to go to Bear and Pepe. They will always be grateful for this act of true honour and kindness. I'm glad too, I didn't want to spend most of the year alone.
Bear and Pepe came and took the keys on the 4th October 2006. On the Sunday mum, dad and my new owners all went for a sail, past Cowes and up the River Beaulieu, past Bucklers Hard. It was a lovely day, tempered with sadness, but also with hope and excitement. I of course didn't know these new people or if they would keep their word and take me long distance. AND they were going to change my name.
We left Lymington, on the Monday, passed my new home of Plymouth and straight to their beloved Fowey, they said it was right and proper as our maiden voyage destination. I spent 2007 pottering around locally, went to Guernsey and Northern France, but, only places I knew. I thought for a minute that was that - same old, same old.
Mum retired in October 2007 and suddenly I was being loaded. Mum and dad moved on board and things really got nice, chaotic though, with loads of stuff that needed to be stowed or stored. Dad went to work for a month from me - he said it felt like a working holiday. Then he retired in April, they had their leaving party in May and we left Plymouth on 6th June 2008, waved off by lots of people in Sutton Harbour and John and Janet took pictures from the lock.
Dad had to fit me a new - what they call "brain" an inverter / charger. My original charger unit died the day dad went to work, the morning after they had moved aboard. It was minus 2 and I now know just how much mum hates the cold. !!!!! BOY did she TICK. One of my office panels.
Cans, smellies, insect stuff, DVD list to keep them occupied. Medicines (including a defibrillator - would you believe). I now have no nooks or crannies that have not been "utilised", so much so I went down a good four inches in the water. The last time I came out of the water in Sopromor, Dad got them to raise my anti-foul line.
Dad is a really good sailor and I get on very well with him, he makes me giggle when he snores in my cockpit.
Mum has always said she is no sailor, just a person who has chosen to travel by boat. I treat her kindly and am patient with her as she did put in hundreds of hours stocking me up, making me bits and bobs, most notable are my fender socks that everyone loves. She has come on leaps and bounds.
I trust them both.
I am a Warrior and very proud of it. I am 12.01 metres long, (40 feet in old money). 1.84 metres deep, breadth 3.96 metres. Total engine power 37 kW. Gross tonnage 14.00. Mum and dad are proudest of the Barbados stamp in their passport as it shows we have just done the 2258 miles from Cape Verde. Morocco seems so far away and such a long time ago.
When I first saw my scrapbook I have to say I couldn't believe their ambitions for me. The Panama Canal, Blue-footed Booby dancing, Tortoise called Fred, born on Galapagos in 1898, red land crabs on Christmas Island. BUT now I'm where I am right now, I DO believe - I now fully trust I am going all the way round. Yepee.
My anchor chain showing the colour of the water, yes, they are coconut trees on the beach. The last one taken from the surface, you can just make out my anchor at 16 feet down !!!!!
So here I am sitting in the most stunning, warm, shallow water in the bay off Port St Charles. Mum and Dad have cheesy grins, I have flashing lights around my saloon and Beds and the gang are all partying.
ALL IN ALL A HAPPY and CONTENTED BOAT. OOH I've waited ages to do an all in all comment.