There’s more to life than woodturning!

Published by Les on

One of the great advantages of being partially retired, is having the flexibility to do other things at the drop of a hat (unless I’m booked for teaching). Last Wednesday was one such day! Our boat was due to be collected off her mooring, slipped onto her trailer and parked up for the winter, so I planned on having one last sail of the season.

Wednesday morning arrived and there wasn’t a breath of wind, but there was one of those low lying mists over the lake which usually heralds a bright, sunny day, so we quickly shaped up some plans to take the grandchildren out for a cruise, with an electric outboard on the transom, rather than a suit of hoisted sails at the mast.

I rowed out to my mooring, tied the rowing dinghy to the buoy and then cleaned up the boat; not that it had been left particularly dirty, but fallen leaves and bird poo is never a nice look when you’re out sailing or cruising. The outboard was fixed in place, the boom hoisted out of the way to save heads from being accidentally bumped, and all the spare gear that we use was stashed into lockers, out of the way.

I planned to cruise across the lake and pick up my passengers at the old stone jetty on the outskirts of the town, and the trip from the mooring, just as the sun was rising, was magical. Dense mists behind me, but strong sunshine where I was heading.

Tying up to the jetty was tricky, as the water level in the lake was so low, but with the outboard tilted up and the rudder lifted, I was able to drift onto the jetty in safety, then wait for my crew to arrive.

What we hadn’t given much thought to was that with two children, three adults and a little dog on board, we’d be sitting even lower in the water, so to float us off we had to lift the twin keels and push hard against the stonework, pushing the stern out into the water, which enabled us to lower the outboard and drive her off in reverse.

Cruising back across the lake was brilliant. Osian soon noticed that the tiller had something to do with steering the boat, so has asked to have a go

Osian’s stint on the tiller didn’t last long, though, as he then discovered the throttle on the outboard, so muggins was left to steer the boat while Osian experimented with twisting the throttle. Thankfully, he didn’t realise that twisting the throttle even further could set the motor into reverse! The greatest surprise of all, though, was that lttle Beca, who had sat there smiling throughout the cruise, suddenly got up from her seat and made a grab for the tiller. She’s only 18 months old, but doesn’t miss a thing!

The boat is now sitting on its trailer,on the lawn outside our house, with its mast lowered and stowed away. Our plan is to keep her ready to use and when next we get a calm, sunny day, just drop everything and go for a cruise. That reminds me; I must remember to put the outboard’s battery on charge!


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