To day I chatted up the owner of Millie, a boat similar to this above. He is getting on in age, I’m guessing he predates Ian Proctor’s 1965 design for the16’6″ Beaufort Dinghy, which was, I am told, popular with the Royal Navy dinghy sailors, and was seen as indestructable. He has sold his yacht and is thinking of sailing Millie which he has spent a lot of time fettling. I am hoping he will take me on as crew for local trips, he has hinted he might soon sell, and I am tempted.
In 2020, in the middle one of many lock downs, I rescued this boat from a Wolverhampton bonfire. I was very pleased with my construction of this shelter, which served for a year, until one of the old boys at my club fell for her. I have given him an 85% share, and he has promised to provide new mast, rigging and sails, as well as painting and varnishing and has promised I can sail her this year. We’ll see!
The same old boy sold Reflections to me about 6 years ago, and she has survived intact so far, despite my abuse and meanness of care. Here she sports her smart new sail which is reefed down to “vest and knickers”.
Within a year of me joining my yacht club, I was offered a 1960’s 25′ Westerly Windrush, bilge keeled bermudan rigged yacht for nothing. I never found out if “nothing” meant nothing, or perhaps she was going for a song, I was expected to do some running, and I held back. She has changed hands, but she hasn’t moved off her mooring, and her ancient rotten sails are still bent on, exposed to the weather and sun.
I have decided a yacht is a boat for someone who has time to enjoy, and is prepared to go the distance to justify the investment. Dinghies are selling for more money. A GRP dinghy will easily sell for more than a small, balasted yacht. I find this interesting. It says something about the demand. I think any boat that can be squeezed into a garage, pulled behind a car, cherished as a possesion is going to appeal to many. The Westerly Windrush, gathering filth on her mooring, doesn’t seem to have this appeal. She needs investment, and I’m sure she’ll repay many fold, but I’m not in the market. I’m with the masses, hankering after a plastic dinghy. If one day I get my hands on Millie, she won’t be coming home with me, she won’t be parading around on tarmac. She will stay where she is, on the hard at the club, but I’ll take her places, I’ll show her a good time and I hope she’ll humour me. I’ll probably get out of my depth, and I hope she’ll be gentle with me.
In the mean time I hope my old friend at the club enjoys a few more years with her, and that he’ll suffer my company on a few jaunts out on the creeks, we might even put our noses out onto the Estuary.
Wish us luck!