Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Stays a must when boarding

My brother was bringing Takista into a slotted berth at the – which? – marina. Say Ile de Ré, it’s such a smashing name. My job was twofold. To jump on to the pontoon and prevent the bows from hitting the rear of the berth. Then, using a line attached to the boat, tie on to a mooring cleat.

Ashore a French lad looked up questioningly. I nodded and it was he who protected the bows. When I joined him to tie on he gestured, Un joli bateau. He was right. Built for racing, and somewhat cramped below, Takista was sleek and purposeful. Here she is at St-Jean-de-Luz and the photo reminds me of when I first boarded her. No doors, as with a car. How do you “get on” a boat?

First, don’t grab the guard-rail. It prevents people going into the sea but it’s not intended to withstand the pull of someone climbing aboard. Search out the metal cables, called stays, running to the top of the mast from the edge of the deck amidships. These, duplicated at the other side of the boat, hold the mast up and are strong enough to pull on.

Other stays, forward and aft, do the same job and are your good friends at sea. Leaving Cap Breton Takista emerged into shallow water over which poured a tide race which corkscrewed the boat alarmingly. I’d gone aft to stow a fender in the lazaret (Yes, yes, I love the jargon) and wanted to return to the cockpit two metres away. Impossible. So I stood up, took hold of the backstay, feeling safe and relaxed enough to enjoy watching Takista’s pirouettes.


Zhoen said...

Such boats, like horses, are something so out of my class, I feel grateful to have experienced them a couple of times in my life. No point in expecting more, but, sigh. And sigh again.

herhimnbryn said...

Capt'n Aubrey would be proud;)

Barrett Bonden said...

Zhoen: I sigh too. I came to my brother's boat three or four years ago and loved it. But it was far too late for me to think about acquiring one for myself. Takista is now sold and my brother's son-in-law's boat Dipper, which I have also sailed on, is up for sale. Sad.

herhimnbryn: Mercifully I started sailing before I chose my bloogernym. Otherwise it would have seemed far too pretentious.