Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club
Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club

Cruising Notes by Ron Gosling

I’ve given up on my Silhouette, which now languishes in the shadows.  This was due to several things :

I pranged my knee.

It was too small.


Moving house.

Finding a new boat


Anyway, last year I had the misfortune to slip on the stairs.  I’m not saying it was my fault, because as will become clear it wasn’t,  but I do admit I’d been out for a drink with my two teenage lads; and the band was good so I stayed longer than I intended;  then afterwards played pool.  I played superbly, my luck was flowing like the beer and I came out 7-0 up.  I’m not used to staying out late.  Or drinking.  No way am I used to winning at pool – it’s unnatural.  So this luck had its payback later as I went to bed and couldn’t remember if I’d locked the door.  Trying to stagger down the stairs in the dark wasn’t the best idea and I didn’t see some neatly folded washing sitting there.  Hence the slip.  After a bit of a swear I checked the door.  It was locked. A wasted ‘trip’..... (Sorry, I couldn’t resist it). Then went to bed again.


I woke up next morning with a leg that looked a different size and shape than normal.  And a bad head too.  It turns out that I’d done in some cartilage and ligaments.  The previous night’s painkiller had run out too, but at least it was only one leg. 

It should be clear from this where the fault lies.  It’s with someone else.  It’s with whoever put the washing on the stairs.  Obviously.

I tried to point out that where there is blame, there’s a claim, I’ve seen those informative ambulance chaser adverts.  But I was rebuffed with a sharply raised eyebrow and some comment about scaring the cat.  It was also pointed out that she’d always put it there so I should have been used to it. 


Well, a leg that doesn’t bend much is useless for getting in boats, squelching in mud or for crawling in small cabins, so since last summer the silhouette has been sitting on its trailer gathering dust and pigeon droppings at the back end of the factory I work in.  Becoming single again - completely unrelated reasons, mostly – resulted in my employers panicking that I would move away from the area.  Pay-rise, extra coffee, a free pen and an invitation to play golf!  The golf has turned out to be easy, until I worked out that the low score was better.  There’s even a golf weekend away in November.  Should’ve got divorced years ago.  Moving into a flat (no boat park here), with even more stairs, next to a pub that has a pool table, real ale and regular bands, could be seen as living dangerously. But no one leaves their booby-trapped washing out on the stairs and I’ve still got a view of the sea, if you squint around the corner of the window. 


All the time in the gym strengthening up my leg has given me a body to diet for, and now I’m more mobile again the Ex has been encouraging me to get back out there.  We get on really well and she has a point.  In the age of the internet she actually used a web site to introduce me to a younger model, quirky but responsive, and that’s who I’m with now. 


She’s a Newbridge Coromandel, and I’m now in the process of making it good.  A definite upgrade on anything I’m used to.  It’s even got a toilet, although I’ve no idea how to work it.  Previously being caught short meant a bucket over the side.  I can’t do that now, this thing is bolted down.  It’ll need some investigation on the web.  The silhouette is being stripped of all its good bits to upgrade the new.  I’ve even got a four stroke outboard in a well to slow me down now in case the increase in speed scares me.  I’ll keep the seagulls though for old times sake.  The flat is full of boat bits.  The fact is that in the dead of night I can safely walk around all the boat parts lying on the floor on autopilot - even if I’ve accidentally left the window open and filled the flat with a north sea fret to add to the darkness - far more accurately than most could use a garmin navigating up some backwater with some joke sticks pretending to guide you around the mudbanks.  This sober sure-footedness indicates the possibility that my initial injury wasn’t totally the fault of the washing. 


So it must have been the cat.


The end result is that I’ve unintentionally become one of those absent members.  Nothing to do with warm southern climes or pontoons with power.  By the time I’ve got the boat ready to go back and see what’s happened to my dangerously squelchy mooring on Skippool it’ll be too late to enjoy the British summer, but part of that trip would be across Scotland and everyone in our Scottish office tells me I’d need some form of cockpit cover, insulation and a wood burner whenever I chose to sail up there, so maybe time of travel would make no difference.


So here’s to getting it ready to go!



Ron Gosling

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