It’s done. I’m a sailor,
yuloher and Honda 2.3 lover, but if I can take up
I left off I’ll tell you about
It ended up as a slider. When I’d wasted lots
of time experimenting with hinges and roll ups the
slider worked best. I raised it slightly and have
more headroom. It works fine and although it hasn’t
been tested in a strong blow no water came in.
I launched on 31st July at Ridge Wharf on the River
Frome, in Dorset, in the company of Al Law of Paradox
Little Jim. My wife came along to give
support, my son to film, and one of my daughters to
watch it sink. She was nearly as certain as the builder
that it would. Al helped me rig Enuf for
this first outing and the family giggled in the rain.
The rigging took forever and by the time we were on
the water it was near to dark.
The family left, and Al and I made our way down river
to pick up a mooring only about a mile from the slipway.
As we travelled I was overwhelmed by a gloomy sense
of foreboding. I was still waiting for water to come
in and I was using an outboard for the first time.
The tiller was difficult to reach to control the revs,
and the steering tiller ropes seemed to have a life
of their own. When we moored I lay there on my Thermarest,
wrapped warmly in the Rayway
quilt that my wife had made me and finally
dropped of from sheer exhaustion at about 0130. I
was sure that every lap of water sounding against
the hull was coming in. I still couldn’t quite
accept that I was afloat in a dry boat made by me!
Next morning (that morning) at 0615 I’m wide
awake and still dry. The last minute fitting of the
manual bilge pump was starting to seem a little silly.
My log reads, “Spent two hours tidying up. Too
much gear aboard.”
Little Jim and Enuf rafted up and set off
down river under Honda 2.3 power. I was like a kid
in a sweet shop and similarly inattentive to the things
that matter; always keep the green markers to the
left when going downstream. At 0930 we were sitting
on a mudbank near to a green marker post on my right.
We floated off in half an hour on the rising tide
and Al set off under sail, in gusty conditions, while
I motored to what I fondly imagined was our agreed
anchorage in a sheltered area of Poole harbour.
I was still having difficulty steering and tried
different tensions on the steering rope but the main
problem was the difficulty of reaching the throttle.
As I rounded Patchins Point and turned into Arnes
Bay a squall came along so I chucked out the anchor,
closed the hatch and had a bite to eat while the wind
blew and the rain persisted. I was perturbed to find
myself near the ribs of a decayed boat that further
reinforced my feelings of inadequacy. Looking through
the windows I could see Al tacking back and forth
and finally his sail came down and he stopped about
a mile away. He is sitting out the squall I thought,
but as the sun came out again he obviously wasn’t
moving. I raised the hook and motored over to find
myself at Shipstal Point which was where I was supposed
to be. There is more to pilotage than you think. Looking
carefully at the chart when somebody is pointing at
it is a good start. It was a good spot, nicely sheltered,
and I sailed up and down for awhile practising this
and practising that.
I didn’t find tacking
very easy but gybing was a pleasure. None of
that smash, bang and wallop that goes with gybing
in a dinghy.
|It became obvious
that I needed a bit more ballast in the centre
of the boat and some re arrangement of the 99kilos
of lead she already held.
Some time was
also spent untangling the mainsheet from where
it caught between rudder and transom and outboard.
|I also practised
yulohing and was reasonably successful with my
cheap oar and rowlock. I could move her and make
her go where I wanted but, God, it was boring.
Mr. Honda, however, was a first pull starter –
when I remembered to reconnect the stop cord –
and proved to be doing 5 miles to the litre while
pushing along at a tad over 4 mph.
Al and I took a walk along the beach and got within
a few feet of Sitka deer browsing right to the water’s
My log reads: 1940 hours – knackered and tomorrows
forecast is Westerlies 5 to 7. Not good.
2nd of August and awake at 0550.
I’d slept like a top for about nine hours without
a care in the world. Fears of sinking had obviously
My blood sugars were very low so my day started with
three dextrose washed down with tea and followed by
porridge. This was to be significant next time out.
Then it was waiting for the tide to turn to get back
up the Wareham Channel. We sat and talked and I made
notes about things to alter or leave out for the next
trip. They filled two sides of A4!
Because of the gusty conditions I set off under
power while Al sailed. The expression “on his
ear” is appropriate. I found it interesting
to keep an eye on the fishfinder and ignore the channel
markers while keeping a metre of water beneath the
hull. It meant that I could be very near the shore
and I saw loads of birds that I’d never seen
before including Little Egrets. Up the river I saw
a Kingfisher, I’d only ever seen three before,
and the air was full of Swifts; marvellous sight.
Little Jim had fallen a long way behind and I decide
to moor along side one of the many craft lining the
river and have lunch.
I espied a gap between two plastic gin palaces and
disaster struck. As I aimed between them the tiller
caught under the foam flotation beneath the rear deck
and stuck. A desperate lunge for the throttle and
I turned it up instead of down! I ripped out the stop
cord but it was too late. At some speed I cannoned
off the hull of one and slid along the stern of the
other. Enuf came to a halt with her nose
buried into the opposite bank, and we glanced back
at two boats, each probably costing as much as my
house, and each with a couple of foot of green streak
along its pristine whiteness. I waited for the owners
and crews to come tumbling out with puce faces and
raised fists, but nothing.
Suffering somewhat from shock, Enuf and
I crept away and sought an alternative lunch stop.
We found it in the shape of an elderly wooden fishing
boat with old car tyres hung over its side. Nice and
soft we thought (notice that Enuf and I are
as one in the face of adversity). As I stood in Enuf,
and we drew carefully alongside, I could just see
over the deck of this old ship. As we drifted slowly
past I reached out for a rusting iron bollard and
we carried on drifting but with the bollard and a
lump of rotten woodwork held my hand. Not for long.
They were bloody heavy and they slipped from my grasp,
hit the water with a splash and dragged further bollards,
tyres and assorted rope and rotten wood into the water.
The rope floated to the surface and wound its way
around my prop. There is a good word for these moments,
and if you are offended by bad language avert your
eyes, the word is “Bollocks!” Enuf
halted somewhat suddenly and I lurched in the small
cockpit and collected the aft edge of the hatch in
the gut. I sat down and I cried. Tears of laughter
coursed down my cheeks as I rubbed my tender belly.
I sometimes feel that I am living in a cartoon! Enuf
and I shook and heaved in unison. At least we were
stopped, if not moored. I poked around with the boat
hook and separated propellor and rope and then broke
out lunch. Fruit biscuits, cheesy oatcakes, and tomato
and lentil pate from army rat packs. Manna from some
dark store in deepest wherever they keep them now.
It took me back 40 years and all was right with the
world, or at least with my little bit of it, again.
A cup of Rosy Lee later and little Jim came sneaking
into view with a strong bow wave and a Minn Kota doing
the work admirably. The motor was so quiet that I
demanded Al make chugging noises so I know that he
is on his way. The rest of the journey back to the
slipway was uneventful and the return up the M5 quite
I’ve discovered that when towing with a Land
Rover the motorway is best. You find a lorry doing
about 50 and you make a convoy. He pulls out and overtakes
you know that you can follow and you can stay in overdrive
most of the time. I returned a very happy 28 miles
per gallon as my first three days away came to an
I planned to be back on the water in a fortnight
but it was to take double that. Removing stores, shifting
lead, making a new boom, going away with friends,
then wife and spending time with dogs, daughters and
son all took their toll and the next launch was 30th
I drove down the previous evening and slept in the
back of my Landy. Not a good idea in a short wheelbase,
even on the diagonal. I couldn’t be bothered
to climb into Enuf; full as she was with
yard, boom, sail, yuloh etc. Besides I was tired.
I’d arrived well after dark and had trouble
getting into the boat yard. The sign on the gate said
to push the button to open the gate. I pushed everything
on that gate that looked like it might be a button
.. nuts, bolts, bird crap .. and it stayed resolutely
closed. Then in a shaft of moonlight I spotted a box
on a pole. I ducked under the gate, prodded the button
vigorously and the gate opened. As I went back to
the Landy I walked into the pole and button that I
had parked alongside.
Morning dawned at 0400 and the blood sugars were
low so I dined on brekky and fruit cake and rigged
Enuf before Al and Little Jim arrived at
1000. By midday both boats were in the water and we’d
lunched before yulohing down the R. Frome. We attracted
several comments of the “Lost art, that,”
and “Haven’t seen anybody sculling for
yonks,” and more quietly, “Pillocks.”
Yulohing down stream is relatively easy; the hard
bit is the bends in the river and the knowledge that
Mr. Honda’s finest sits on the transom filled
to bursting with unused energy. As we hit the tidal
part I couldn’t maintain control with the yuloh
and was being taken towards the wrong bank. Al was
in full command! I started the engine, crossed the
channel, anchored and half raised my sail. Al had
his up in a jiffy and we ran before the wind down
to Shipstal Point. Leastways, Al did. I got as far
the Upper Wych Channel and couldn’t tack back
into the wind so I furled the sail and started the
outboard. A few minutes later, 1645ish, I’m
anchored in the right place. We ate, talked, talked
some more, read and generally whiled away the daylight
and I bedded down at 2100.
That night I hypoed badly and woke in a confused
state in the early hours. Luckily I had enough of
my wits about me to get sugar and carbohydrate into
my system. I crashed out again and woke, sugars low
again, at 0630. A large breakfast semi sorted the
problem but it left me feeling under the weather.
We waded ashore and I found an oyster. I know I don’t
like them so I returned it to the waters edge and
we took our planned walk through the nature reserve
into the village of Arne. We found the Tumulus marked
on the OS map very close to a cheese toasty and cake
place. I was getting plenty of sugars but still not
feeling too good and I resolved to return home later
that same day. I really didn’t fancy the possibility
of another night time hypo.
We ran before the wind and Al elected to tack back
up the channel while I motored again. This time I
had a two foot plastic water pipe extension on the
throttle that brought it to hand, and had found the
correct tension for the tiller steering ropes. Enuf
and I progressed serenely up the Frome. The only dodgy
moment was while I was examining the hulls of moored
boats for green stripes. I looked forward for a change
to see a huge catamaran had double parked! Swift juggling
of ropes and water pipe took us clear, but I could
probably have passed safely between his hulls anyway.
Al was a long way back so I resolved to remove Enuf
from the water by myself and impress him greatly.
I pushed the trailer down the slipway using the hook
on the front of the Landy. The previous outing had
proved that I couldn’t reverse a trailer successfully.
I pulled Enuf over and started winching her
on. Try as I would I could not get her over the centre
of the trailer so I pushed the trailer further into
the water. The upshot was that she rested on the one
mudguard and stuck. I couldn’t move the trailer
even in low ratio, four wheel drive, reverse gear,
and the clutch was protesting smokily. I rushed to
the marina workshops and explained my predicament
to several grinning mechanics, wood workers and other
artisans until one of them said, “Ah, it’s
a falling tide and your trailer wheels have gone over
the lip of the slip. Get the boat off the mudguard
tie it to the tree, pull the trailer out with a rope
and wait for the tide to come back.”
I did the deed but the trailer was still stuck so
I returned to the workshop to find it locked and empty.
Searching, I found an unlocked door and I stepped
through calling, “Hullo” to be confronted
by two semi naked. large young men. Smiling I said,
“I hope I’m not interrupting an intimate
moment”, well you never know these days do you,
and they blanked me completely. They finished dressing
and the one said, “No English. Polish,”
I pointed to his friend and he said, “Little
English. Polish.” By mime and pidgin I demonstrated
that I needed help and, bless them, they came and
manhandled the trailer onto dry ground. They were
big chaps and it is probably as well that they hadn’t
understood my first remark! Have I ever told you that
I sometimes feel that I am living in a cartoon? I
do hope that heaven is this much fun.
Al eventually chugged into view and we got both boats
onto their respective trailers. I stayed at the yard
until filled with sugars and carbohydrates I set off
on the long journey home. I arrived, feeling very
unwell, but kept going by Fanta, at 0300. I was ill
for two days after.
The upshot was that I had to reconsider my position
as a sailor. It was obvious that sailing was taking
a lot of energy from me even though I hadn’t
felt that I was doing much work. I’ve been diabetic
a few years but had never hypoed at night before.
Finding myself confused, anchored off shore at dead
of night in a very small boat was very unsettling
and left me unwell for several days.
I sold Enuf, she is off to Norway, and my
wife has bought me a very tired Shetland 498 and 8hp
Honda to do up over the Winter. I’ve renamed
her Big Enuf and here she is:
I guess that
when all is said and done I’m a Honda
More articles by Derek Clark: