4-12-07 Ships Log

Rebel T
Tim Walsh
Tue 4 Dec 2007 21:04

Dear Readers,
We have a positive feedback system starting here, the more people read the
blog....the more people read the blog!
I have received information from a trusted source that friends in Mersea,
Johnathon and Avril by name.
"Bad Bear" by reputation are now jioned with us. The Brethren grows.

Bad Bear is at home recovering from an operation, so today's Hello! is for
Johnathon, (and the Lovely Avril) Hello! Bad Bear!!

We have been receiving fan mail for Anthony.... and so I have included a
special pic in today's blog gallery for our reader, Richard in Ashford.
Richard sent a particularly honest email telling me that he thinks he is
falling in love with Anthony. Richard has previuosly been enamoured of me,
and I must say it hurts. Still we are all adults here and I'll get over
it....he had big ears anyway!!

Overnight the wind was steadyat about15-18knts, we flew the Genniker all
night, but unleashed Maximus in the half light of dawn so as to get best
mileage from the day.
We are beginning to focus on the end game now, even though we are not at
Half Way Mark until tomorrow afternoon by our calculations!
Is it not human nature that one is always focused on the next goal and
seldom enjoys the day's victory?

There is another reason....and that is that we are about 50 miles behind
CatManDo, the BroadBlue 38 crewed by "The Northern Monkeys" as we term them.
(a term of blokey endearment I assure you dear readers). They sail their
boat much harder than we do ours, but that nasty little peer gruop pressure
dynamic is kicking in, now that they seem to be making about the same as us
per day......

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm all about changing goal posts when the boot
is suddenly found to be on the other foot!, well...I ask you...why not!

"If you ain't in court son, why, you ain't tryin'" as an old lag used to
tell me.

There is another reason, we are told by our router man that we are going to
get increasing winds starting tomorrow , building to 30knts, with gusts up
to a third higher and gusts with rainer a litle higher.
Given this we want to get as many mles in as possible in the fast going
incase we need to slow the boat down during Thursday.
The wind itself will not be the issue, it will/may be the wave trains, if
they are large , then we will surf and I don't want to surf beyond 14knts,
but that of course is not overly controllable. if we surge too much on the
waves , we will have to shorten sail or somesuch in order to stay within

Wednesday night is when we are to expect the beginning of the high winds,
again night time is not the right time to Rock and Roll on my boat!.

Just a serious note at this time to all readers: These winds are no threat
to the boat at all, but they may well change the shipboard life for a day or
so. I may not want to risk covering the decks in Pizza. Therefore the blog
routine may be interrupted, Trevor, who is impervious to such weakness will
of course post something for your delectation, but it may not be rich and
full guormet fare that you are become accustomed to!

Be sure however that if transmission is interrupted then there will be tales
of daring do to follow and pics to loosen the bowels of the tightest among

OK, so now for something completely different. As I was saying, last night
the winds were benign and a quite magical night was had by our watch. The
Autohelm was steering and the three of us initially took it in turn to keep
a look out. The latest craze on board is to stand on the Skipper's seat, (in
his absence) and keep look out from there. It works well because the
stainless bimini frame at that height is just above hip level, there is no
worry about the main boom because the mainsail is not up and the boom is
tethered down.
This gives a great vantage point and is quite a view. Jeff went Lookout"
first, Ant slept in the saloon and I in the cockpit....After a short while,
Jeff began singing quietly to himself and kind of dancing.. This is
interesting because Rupert a friend that crewed us across the Biscay did
exactly the same on the foredeck for hours on end!
But In all sincerity, it was a special feeling falling asleep to a range of
songs that covered the one and only Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, James Blunt,
some Melanie, (now thats 70's for you) and a great rendition of "Carolina in
my Mind".
We took our turns and on the 6am-10am watch we sat in the cockpit all awake
and just talked and rambled.
Jeff was talking about his early days sailing round UK with Jenny, and Ant
asked questions to fill in the gaps in his understandings of Jeff and my's
history. We spoke of our childhood and teenage years and of how we had all
changed yet essentially stayed the same. Even Ant at a mere 31 yrs was
relating how he was beginning to see patterns and circles in life, his and
others....Still crazy after all these years.

Both jeff and I were saying how when we left home and lived on old boats or
in transit vans, English culture was different, therewere little niches of
coluor and pagaent to be found that now seem impossible to find.
When I was a child there were tramps about, but they weren't the social
outcasts that they would be deemed today. I remember along the A12 Rd there
were 3 or 4 tramps that lived under the bridges and seemed to ramble from
bridge to bridge throughout the week. My family seemed to drive back and
forth along that rd regularly and I remember looking forward to seeing them.
My Grand mother worked in the markets of Essex and was always kind to tramp
types, I met a few and of course they were strange, but they did others no
harm, earned a little here and there and were quietly provided for by many
village residents. I believe that the qualty of their lives as perceived by
themselves was infinitely preferable to that received in our clean caring
P.C. culture of today. I am sure that in many cases , "Mr Tramp who lives in
the back lane in the old tent" in fact brought out the better side of some
people. My world was more colourful for their presence.
Jeff thought much the same, we then began to recall "Characters" that were
part of our lives when we first left home and travelled around finding a
place for ourselves.
Ther was "Ken the Lugger" He owned a wreck of a lugger, ( a lugger is an
old type of sailing fishing boat) about 40' long in Benfleet creek. It was
never to sail again, but it provided a fabric and a reason for Ken to live.
He was a kindly man and I often had tea with him, When I decided I wanted to
build a boat he encouraged me and indeed put me in touch with a man that had
bought the plans for a 38' ferro boat, but had done nothing with them. I
bought them and 7 years later "Renegade" was the result. Ken gave me a copy
of "Sails" by Jeremy something, He also gave me a copy of "make your own
sails", I think by Bowker and Budd. In those days, those two books were as
bibles to us dreamers . Ken is dead now, but the books are on my shelves at
home and in that way Ken is still alive.
On reflection Ken was a clinically neurotic man, he suffered terribly with
his stomach had ulcers, he could only eat complan. He found it hard to cope
in the world beyond boats and boat lovers, we've all met them. but, Ken
helped me and I was fond of him. He enriched my life. Would today's modern
boatyards and attitude extend an acommodating attitude to Ken today?...No, I
don't think so. Is the world interested in understanding Ken the Lugger and
his type today? No.
The world is a poorer place for that attitude.

I have an uncle David, now nearly 80,( who is not in fact an uncle) but was
a family friend, when I was 10 or 11 he took my younger brother and me youth
hostelling with his own 3 sons of similar ages.
We were commited to becoming, "South Downsmen". This apparently was a title
earned by walking the full lenght of the South Downs. Over 5 years of
school holidays we did it. It is something that I counted as an early
acheivement and us children would sit in the hostels at night and discuss
with pride our progress with total strangers that donned a polite interest.
Using the same hostels regularly were a number of "odd" guests that would
stay 3 nights per hostel, which is the longest allowed in one stay before
moving on. Over the years we would re-meet these people. They again were on
the fringe of accepted society but had found a niche, to us as children they
were almost "Aragorn/Strider" types. They all had stories and meeting them
regularly over the years provided perspective and experience that is just
not to be found nowadays.

Jeff spoke of a guy a little older than himself that he used to meet when
him and Jenny were travelling in a small boat in HaverfordWest. The guy was
a little vacant but lived around the village and had a tent behind the
village. Jeff thought he had probably smoked one joint too many, but found
work around the place and kept himself fed and clothed.

I could go on....the talking lasted from 2am to 7am, when we went off-watch,
Mike jioned us and on and on and round we went, but the above provides a

Experiences like the above and the memories they have left on us formed
part of who Jeff and I have become. They are part of our frame of reference.
These characters also teased generosity out of others and that makes a
better world.

I find it harder and harder to find pageant, colour and romance in today's
world. I count us all the loosers.

A romantic attitude? Yes, no doubt about it, but the world without it is an
increasingly drab place.

One of Colette's oft repeated memories is of an "auntie" who her father
would not allow in the house because she smelled. She may or may not have
been a relative or aunt, Colette cannot find out, But she was called,
"Hokie Cokie" by Colette and her sisters. She would turn up at the house 4
or 5 times a year, always with a great rucksack on her back with pots and
pans klanking on the back. Colette remembers her big hobnailed boots and
her broad smile. She nearly always had sweets in her pockets. When ever she
set eyes on the children she would dance the , "Hokie Cokie" with them.
Thus her name. Colette and her sisters hold dear memories of Hokie Cokie, I
of course never met her, but indeed I can see Hokie Kokie myself, she had a
sad history no doubt, but resolved it in her own way, living as she felt
most comfortable. Her oft remembered smile and friendly attitude warm
children become adults yet.

How many of us can hope for as much, 40 yrs after we pass?

Last night was a wonderful rich evening and an unlooked for treasure.

"I knew a man, Bojangles..and he'd dance for you"........


Anyway...we sat a pushed ideas and memories about under a starlit sky