Paradox Enuf Launched  
By Derek Clark - Wolverhampton, England

It’s done. I’m a sailor, yuloher and Honda 2.3 lover, but if I can take up from where I left off I’ll tell you about the hatch.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 edge.

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 gone.

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 pleasant.

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 end.

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 August.

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:

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I guess that when all is said and done I’m a Honda man :0)

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