Practical Boat Owner

Blind navigation

At 91 years of age my sailing career is over, but I cannot grumble as I have some wonderful memories.

Recently a friend, knowing my continued interest, gave me two copies of Practical Boat Owner. I was reading about the latest navigation aids when I was reminded of how it used to be before all these amazing devices became available. In particular I remembered a frightening occasion when we encountered thick fog during a passage from St Peter Port to Cherbourg.

My boat at the time was a Colvic 26 Sailer that I had purchased as a bare hull from Cobra Yachts at Chichester in 1974. We named her Soubrette and she proved to be very comfortable to live in, spacious for her size, and an adequate sailer, though she might have performed better had I spent more money on her sails!

We launched her at Whitsun in 1975 and although she was finished as far as the exterior went, there was a lot of interior work to complete, so we mainly spent the season day sailing. It was a beautiful year for weather, and 1976 was even better. I felt that it was time to stretch our wings, and planned a cross-channel cruise to France in 1977.

It was the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and for the Spring Bank Holiday we

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