At the begining
12 January 2012
I’ve been thinking and talking about writing a book for some time and so many people we have met have said there is a book in me and I should write it, well here goes…
Firstly me, what is it about me that people say I should write a book? I’ll let you decide. I’m now 52 years old and have lead what I consider a pretty boring life, but one with a lot of episodes for someone my age. I’m the son of Adam Martin now deceased from Rosewell Midlothian in Scotland. My mother, to whom I owe my good nature and humour, is Jean Martin (Duncan) from Penicuik, Midlothian Scotland. My father was a soldier serving in the Military Police and we travelled all over the world from the day I was born, I think that’s why I can’t settle, and keep on the move. My mother worked and kept the house and family together, I have two sisters and a younger brother. I’m told I have a second younger brother as my father was a wonderer in his time. Well that’s the lineage for what It’s worth, I’ve been married three times, what can, I say I love wedding cake! I have twin boys Lee and John who are both hard working and independent.
I’m a practical person and love to travel, I have travelled all over the word, holidays and backpacking and a couple of jobs. That sounds grand and like I have loads of money, but no. I’ve used most means of transport and owned or driven almost everything I’ve travelled on or in.
I have been a Petrol pump attendant, Dairy Technician, Diesel fitter, Police Constable, Soldier, Sales man both door to door and cars, Bus driver, Lorry driver, Hotel manager, Bar tender, Chef, Kitchen porter, Chambermaid, Caretaker, Security guard, Cleaner, Council driver/worker, Call centre operative, Holiday rep, Courier, Train driver, Tour bus driver, , Student and Boat restorer . Sounds like a lot but there are so many jobs out there I keep changing my profession. Kind of an all-round type of person.
I’m new to this writing lark, so I’ll do it in chapters or small parts, each with separate and sell on Amazon Ebooks for Kindle.
So on with my story if you’re still interested.
Please if you read this and enjoy it, make a donation via PayPal to:-
I’ve walked all over Europe, Scotland and the rest of the UK. I’ve done the same by car, motor home and motorbike. I’ve always thought about sailing around the world, but never done anything about it. Well then it happened; July 2001 we, the wife and I had been looking for a boat; I had just sold my trike built out of a Fiat 126. Great fun but not practical; anyway I sold it and the money was burning a hole in my pocket. We decided that the money would be used only for pleasure, and the purchase of a boat was high on my list – next were two BMW bikes (ex-Police) or a two week holiday somewhere hot (Becky’s choice was the later!).
Ok, so I had been scouring the free-ads in local papers looking through yachting magazines and thinking that it was an expensive hobby to be taking up. People in the yachting world it would appear just can’t help making things expensive. It appears in the boating world if it is not dear it’s not worth it!
I decided to get into yachting and me being me, I would prove to the world it is a cheap hobby and certainly cheaper than motorcycling or motor homes/caravans. Firstly I would have to get a boat, oops a yacht. I started by searching through yachting magazines then the free-ad papers. The prices at brokerages and marinas were high, well over priced for what you get. The free-ads were the place to search, so search we did. Remember when readings ads about boats, the people selling them think it is the best boat around, usually you read the ad, phone the vendor and they tell you how wonderful the boat is. Then you make an appointment and go, usually when you arrive at the boat you see is nothing like the ad or the telephone conversation, as we found out on several occasions. You should also try to see three or four boats on one trip; otherwise your journey will be wasted.
Eventually we found an interesting yacht, near Kip Marina close to Glasgow. We made arrangements to go and see it, along with a trip to Kip Marina for the day. You should always try to picture the boat/yacht in your mind – if possible type, style, size and colour. In my case that was near impossible as Becky and I had no idea about sailing. Think of a caravan that was the way we did it; minimum size 23 foot, width 7 feet with interior head room if possible and four berths, a small galley. The craft had to be just big enough for us and our two teenage boys.
We finally bought a Hunter701, 23 footer, and fin keel with road trailer for £1700, a bargain as the trailer was worth £1000 on its own. The boat was well worth the £700 we paid for it. The yacht we saw in our minds eye … 22 foot, 4 berth, inboard engine, standing room, bilge keel, roller reefing, VHF radio, stereo, cooker and sea toilet. The boat we ended up with … 23 foot, 4 berth, outboard engine, crouching room, fin keel, no roller reefing, VHF radio, stereo, cooker and a portapotti. Not too different, but we didn’t know our bow from our stern or our front from our back.
I done a deal and got a Ford Transit flatbed van for a few quid and a mobile phone, and headed off to pick up the boat with an old friend of mine (Rab Cuthill). We’d served together in the Military Police. I have known Rab from about the age of 12 as we were in the same shooting club, sound posh huh, not really it was just an offshoot of the military Police unit at 243 Pro Coy in Edinburgh and my father was a member too. Anyway off we went, hooked up the trailer and headed back over the A82 back to Cromarty on the East Coast. The boat was 23 foot, the mast hung over the boat by some 10 feet and the trailer kind of sat square in the middle, it had twin axles but really wasn’t a road trailer, it was more a very big yard trailer. The roads were very narrow and we had to slide past articulated vehicles, caravans and loons on bikes. The boat rocked and swayed, just like on the water I thought. Rab kept looking behind us to see if the boat was still there and was always surprised when it was! As the boat rocked back and forwards she lifted the back of the transit up too, which was entertaining and frightening, luckily the van was front wheel drive or it would have been more entertaining….We arrived back on the Black Isle with no damage to us or anyone else and the boat and trailer were intact although we had collected a few bits of tree and shrubs on the journey.
The whole thing was duly parked in the drive and gazed at in awe by Becky and my boys, Rab meanwhile was crossing himself and kissing the ground saying he really needed a rum and black to calm his now shredded nerves. There was some, lots of worrying times on route and he was amazed we completed most of the journey at normal road speeds, the only thing we didn’t do was overtake he said.
A source of good information for people getting into yachting or boats is your local harbour or marina; talk to local fisherman and individual boaty people, your average yachtsman is more than willing to tell you all they know, and show you round their pride and joy, some will even take you out for a sail just to get you interested. You could also use the Royal Yacht Association, their books cover all types of seafaring knowledge but that information cost
What you don’t want to do is joint your local yacht club, especially if you live in a small community but use the club as a visitor, you’ll find this is a good source of amusement, and fun.
Around Scotland, as the rest of the UK the seashore and coast is owned by the Crown Estate. Some areas are run by local authority or Port Authority, who you have to inform if you want to put a private mooring in for your boat. Its simple, you have your mooring made for the area is going to. Have certificates for chains, shackles, ropes and anchors if you use them and insurance. This way the authorities are kept very happy and give you no problems.
There are three types of mornings – one made with two anchors another with a large tractor tyre filled sea-hard cement, the third with a large block. All are very simple to make and put in by yourself.
This system is good for seasonal mornings and is easily lifted and checked, then put back each year. Remember to place your boat name and mooring number on your buoy for all to see; it makes life easy for yourself and the authorities. Your mooring should be certificated – that means tested – so it can take the weight of your boat.
This is was my chosen mooring. Moorings lengths vary but I used 10 meters stud link 21mm chain and 10 meters sea-steel rope. The rope is your riser, it stops the jerking you get from the chain; the chain lies on the seabed along with your anchor (concrete filled tyre). It’ll hold just as well as the other type of mooring but it all depends on the seabed, be it sand or mud. My mooring is on mud and sand so the tyre sucks to the surface and is almost impossible to shift.
LAUNCHING YOUR BOAT
It’s as simple as it sounds. Firstly you need a slip, one which will be deep enough at high tide to roll your trailer in and float your boat off. You may need to extend the distance between your car and the trailer to get your boat in deep enough. There are several ways to do this, I use two ropes combined depending on the height of the tide. I had made a 23 foot bar with a ball hitch at one end and socket hitch at the other. One end you attach to the trailer the other to the vehicle. If that is not long enough, you then add a length of good strong rope and use the car tow ball as a pulley.
Lower the trailer down the slip and the boat floats off. Yep it is that easy, and the same works for bringing it back ashore. You don’t need cranes and lifting gear unless there is no slip available or your boat is more than 30 foot, or the tides not high enough.
After saying that, on one occasion when launching the boat, forgot to tie her to something ashore so she didn’t drift off once launched, and the boat went in, slowly drifted out to sea, no rope attached, I had to jump in swim to the boat, fully clothed, clamber aboard, start the outboard (luckily it was on there), and head for the mooring. Becky came out with the dinghy, couldn’t stop laughing and took a very wet skipper back home to dry out.
I have to admit though watching our local yacht club in Ross-shire getting their boats out was a really good entertainment, at least 3½ hours. The antics of which I will tell later, needless to say the same method might not be used to re-launch next season, well not if the council and local Police have anything to do with it!
At this point, I must thank the ferry master Ronald Young for his assistance in laying my mooring, and the lessons on chart reading which he gave freely, also allowing me to skipper the ferry while learning from him, his boss for the use of the slip at any time to launch and lift out my yacht.
Of course there is another way to launch and recover. If your harbour dries out at low tide or you can anchor your boat somewhere that dries out at low tide, and that the area allows access and can support a tractor/4x4 and trailer, then you can place your trailer in at low tide, put a marker in, as the tide rises put your boat on, as the tide falls your boat rests on its trailer, this is quite an old method and was still used in our harbour until a few years ago, then the yacht club thought this wasn’t as posh as being lifted out, so it changed.
USING A CRANE
A simple task really; gets hold of a company who use cranes to lift out boats. I’ve been told you must hire for the day; prices vary but provided there are a few of you it costs around £30-50 per boat. Remember to make a day of it – tea, coffee etc. but before you start to enjoy yourself remember you need to inform people and authorities of what you are doing.
1. Pick a date to lift your boats out; in fact pick two or three dates in case you can’t get your first choice.
2. Inform the council and get permission if required, i.e. closing an access road, a main road or public access – get the certificate.
3. Inform the local Police; show them your council letter/certificate.
4. Inform local businesses, and put up a notice at the site of the lifting out, and at the local post office.
This way you’ll avoid upsetting everyone and as our local club did, save you from getting charged with obstruction of a public highway and blocking a road without council permission, and of course paying out compensation to the local ferryman for loss of business and paying wages to his men. All this because one man “the commodore” didn’t perform his P’s – remember piss poor planning makes piss poor performance. The man is now known as the village idiot. He booked the crane and just started lifting boats out, when people asked to get access to the ferry he told them they’ll have to wait 3½ hours until he’d finished, funny enough someone called the council and the Police, he was duly cautioned for the offences and is waiting for the decision of the council, the ferry owner and one or two passengers for the ferry to push their complaints forward. I told you yachting could be fun, and watching your local club can be entertaining so far our local club has been hilarious. There will be more throughout this book, including the antics that took place during the lift out and one yacht man’s fright as he thought something broke!
I have noticed that like motor homes most yachters and boaters seem never to use their crafts. They are on the mornings or marina berths and just looked at or used as gin palaces for the season then hauled out. Great if you can afford it, but yachting on a budget means using it as much as possible.
We have even been out for a weekend away from the boys; in fact they have spent a night or two on the mooring away from us! The dog and I have spent time on our own watching the world go by whilst enjoying the sunshine in Cromarty Bay. At night the shore looks great all lit up or just with the sun setting on it. The rigs at Nigg look like Christmas trees when lit at night. The peace is fantastic and has been much enjoyed by us all.
Cromarty oil/gas rigs at night
After looking at trailers for some time and having built trailers for motorcycles and cars to tow, I would recommend that for the purpose of towing or moving a boat/yacht of more than 12 feet, you need a double axle trailer. Dinghies and small day sailors like trail and sail types are fine on a single axle provided you don’t travel far.
Over the years I’ve seen some sights and strange things being towed, but this year was the best 5th October 2002. I witnessed a yacht being loaded onto a single axle trailer, nothing you think that would make an interesting sight, but the boat was an 18-20 foot bilge keeler and the trailer was just rust with a few planks of wood which combined were a hazard waiting to explode. The yacht was loaded on, not centrally but to the rear of the trailer so the weight of the yacht was not over the centre of the trailer but to the rear behind the single axle wheels. Yes you guessed it the boat and the trailer went down at the back, with the stern of the boat only a few feet perhaps only two feet from the road, overhanging the rear of the trailer by 6-8 feet. The front of the yacht pointed skyward at about 35-45º. Fortunately it was attached to a car, a big car with front wheel drive which was lucky because the rear wheels didn’t touch the ground! And this was going to be driven some six miles or so home to the owners house for winter storage. Due to the Police presence on the day for another reason, the owner waited until they left before driving home. As the car moved off, the trailer bounced the boat rocked and swung; the trailer was made to tow grass or horse manure, but nothing heavier! The car drove off with only the front wheels in constant contact with the road, the rear wheels merely bounced occasionally, causing the front of the car to go left or right, the trailer to do the opposite! A sight which actually scared me as I followed the car down the road. When it drove up the denny leaving Cromarty I didn’t believe it would make it, the rear of the trailer scrapped the road, as did the front of the car!! As far as I know he made it home and will be back to launch next year around April time, a date I’m looking forward to as the lifting out was so amusing, the launching will be ….. Can’t wait.
MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK
When Becky and I launched our yacht we were assisted by a local lad. He helped Becky lower the yacht into the water – me, I was on board this time, so the yacht didn’t wander off with the tide. Becky took the trailer and parked it near the harbour. She and our helper then came to the harbour wall where I arrived to put up our mast. For this challenge we were assisted by the harbour master and half a dozen men, some of whom had been seafaring gentleman in their time.
I threw up the front rope to our helper and our back rope to Becky, they tied off and we set about raising the mast and fixing it on. Becky and our helper clambered on board; we put a rope around the centre of the mast, handed the other end to the helpers ashore. They pulled lifting the mast up, as I pushed from the back of the boat. Our helper guided the other end into its mounting. Becky stood ready to fasten the pins in, to hold the mast tight, there are eight pins on ours, three either side of the mast one at the front and one at the rear.
All was going well, when we noticed that the boat was going forward with the mast – panic as we approached other boats, as we looked up we saw the rear line slipping off! One of the old boys grabbed it and tied it off; the mast was positioned and fastened off. A success and we had a laugh as Becky decided it would be a good idea to learn to tie knots and not just to wrap ropes round poles!
Once the mast was on and we were happy we motored off to the mooring, tied off and sat a while working out how the boom was attached.
That was quite difficult as we had no idea and spent the next hour or two looking at yachts on their mornings through binoculars seeing how theirs were done and hoping they were correct. For the first few days we just sat on the yacht, getting our sea legs, eating, sleeping, cooking etc. In fact we didn’t sail for at least the first week, but we did motor round the bay a couple of times looking at other boats and the rigs at Nigg, just getting the feel of our yacht and seeing if we would get any sea sickness or not. It was a great week, the sun shone and we lapped it up, just wait till we sail!
We couldn’t work out how to attach our sails so the week sitting was good, we got the boom fitted, found which rope was what but had no idea how to put the main sail on. As we sat, we saw a wee man rowing bye, we beckoned him over and asked him how we put the main on and pulled it up. He was aghast! “You mean you don’t know?” , No we said only just got it in the water, had to put our mooring in first, he frowned at us, turns out he was the commodore and was not happy at us having bypassed him in getting permission for a mooring in the bay. Anyway he showed us how it all fitted and left muttering about novices taking over, and how it would all end in disaster. We later put two more moorings in and sold them to members of the club who were disenchanted by their fees.
Cromarty Harbour before the pontoon was added
We sat and watched the local yacht club set up sails and sail off. We also watched as they sailed on to their moorings. This is an art, one which the local yacht club hasn’t mastered yet, and one which I as an outsider wouldn’t recommend to anyone. What do you think? This is how they do it …. Sail directly at the mooring, they have a line with a hook on the end, and as they sail past the buoy they hook it and turn the boat left or right depending on which side the buoy is. The hook takes hold and the boat swings around at speed, and your attached to the buoy and moored! Geez not one I like and not one they have mastered, as they often attempt this two or three times. Myself, I turn into the wind, drop my sails, sort them out then motor slowly to my mooring; Becky or myself sit up front with the boat hook, hook the buoy and tie up - usually on the first attempt each time but not always. No violent swing, no loosing anyone overboard attempting to hook up at speed and usually with no second attempt. Yachting I would say is a slow leisurely hobby, most things are done with ease, just remember an old saying which works in the military and civilian life – “PPP makes PPP” meaning “piss poor planning makes piss poor performance.” One which you’ll use at least once each sail. Remember it seems the more you learn about sailing the bigger the mistakes you make!
There doesn’t seem to be any real regulation to the sailing or boating, you buy a boat, be it a dinghy, yacht, motorboat, wee sailor or speed boat, and all you do is launch it, and go, there is no one to stop you or interfere with your leisure except the odd sailor who puts him/herself in charge of something. There are international regulations which don’t seem to be enforced at all times, well apart from large companies or commercial fisherman, everyone else just does their own thing. However there are guide lines, usually found in RYA books or MCA, mostly in marinas and chandlery shops, funnily enough that where they all seem to stay, and local clubs and yachtsmen make up the rules as they go along. Becky and I, we try to conform and run to these international regulations, we have a copy on board, along with a skippers guide, they actually work and make sailing easier and enjoyable, fun too as you watch others. They also make you realise, you’re in more danger from other yachtsmen and day sailors than the sea itself. Becky and I are trying to make our little yacht “road legal” as they say. We have put our legal navigation lights up, our anchor and steaming lights and of course our emergency navigation lights along with the use of a cone and ball when required.
We have travelled around many marinas and seen some strange lighting attached to yachts and boats, some of which seem to be indifferent, but just enough to sail out on the high seas, which to me seems really strange, they spend hundreds of thousands on a boat, and then take shortcuts on lighting and safety, it doesn’t happen on land so I see no reason why it should happen at sea. It’s not expensive, once purchased, just needs maintenance.
Back to sailing, sitting on my yacht I noticed even with no wind the local boats could set sail and pull off from the moorings and just fly by. Strange though on several occasions there was no wind yet they seemed to sail, they also seemed to leave a wake behind them, usually made by the engine pushing them along! Now that is not sailing, and doesn’t help other vessels, they don’t know whether to give way or pass by. One rule you should never break, if steaming, have your steaming light on at night or your cone hung out in daylight. Hey another lesson learned by watching others and reading RYA/MCA books.
Although on the high seas motoring to find wind to fill the sails can’t be bad, but in a local bay seems a strange or maybe its me. I tend to motor off the mooring out away from other boats, and then set up my sails and go, this to me seems yacht friendly, and so far we have had no near misses or close calls and have sailed over to the other side of the Firth towards Nairn, and I can tell you it was great. The dolphins swam alongside and went on our bow towards Cromarty. I look forward to doing that again next season and for many more to come.
GETTING ON BOARD
When we first put our yacht in the water we had no idea of how to do anything, so with practice we have managed most things. However our friend Ian wanted to see our yacht and get aboard to appreciate her looks and lines etc.
He came to visit one weekend, and we set about taking our friend out. The sea was a wee bit rough but okay for a sail, getting on the dinghy proved a challenge, but with great determination we got him in and seated, we motored out to the yacht, the waves crashed over the bow, wave after wave and Ian got soaked. As we reached the yacht he had to turn round; I clung onto the yacht, the problem was the dinghy and the yacht were rising and falling but not together! There is nothing to hold onto to pull yourself up on a dinghy and it doesn’t help if you grab the yacht and try to pull yourself up if the yacht is on a downward motion. The dinghies on the up and you want to stand using the yacht for your purchase. We had to abandon the attempt due to the fact that I couldn’t stop laughing and he was now feeling a bit peeved, his sense of humour was fading, although not for me! We headed back to shore and out and onto the beach. We did try again and we did get Ian onboard, but the weather was calm and we brought the yacht to “Mohammed”. Since our first attempt we’ve had Ian out sailing, he’s even skippered our yacht out in the Moray Firth. We’ve had a bit of fishing and Ian’s hooked, we had dolphins escort us into Cromarty. I think he would like his own yacht, its fun and not at all a hobby for the snobs it is frequently associated with. It’s cheap if approached with leisure in mind.
PREPARATION OF YOUR YACHT
Best if possible it should be parked outside your house. It makes life easier for the use of power tools and heaters. Firstly strip her out inside – take out everything that’s not bolted in – out! And one or two items that are bolted in. Once this is done you can vacuum and clean and see a fresh working space to put your ideas into practice.
Trebeck II needed re-wired totally from the mast to the interior and it is so easy it’s untrue. Firstly I did the mast as I wanted a full set of lights on the top – navigation and anchor. I needed a steaming light halfway down the mast, having purchased the appropriate lights which cost £75 for the lot, also the 4 core cable for the power supply and the deck socket which came to £25 costing a total of £100. I must say at this point for Trebeck II, I could have just went with the legal requirement of one red/green light to front and one white to rear at deck level, but I like to be seen and safe.
Well you start by drilling two holes in the mast one at the top and one at the bottom (both the size of your cable, no bigger or smaller) then the fun feeding the cable through – well we had a whole day at it and what a laugh. There are several ways to do this and some masts have a channel through them for this purposes – not ours! I tried raising the mast and dropping a weighted line through with the cable attached, but alas this proved to be no good as I couldn’t raise the mast high enough for the weight to take over and drop; then I tried wire, then shaking the mast and then throwing a stick through. I even thought about making a bow and arrow with cable attached, but no and eventually I settled for tent poles. Yes tent poles, which were joined together with string attached and pushed them in the mast as far as possible, we raised the mast and shook the poles down. I grabbed them at the other end and pulled – needless to say half the tent poles came out along with the cable but about eight foot stayed in, and are still there to this day. Well the next thing was to drill a hole halfway up the mast for the steaming light, only to discover I couldn’t get to the wire, so out with the cable with string attached, so we could pull it back in again measuring the distance and splicing the wire for the steaming light then pulling it all back up. Then the fun part, making a hook with a bit of metal, poking it through the hole and catching the wire, fiddly but done, affix the light then wire it in. The top of the mast was easy just wire it up, the bottom was the same, wire up the socket making sure you write down the connections so when in the boat you can wire the same wires to the switches.
Drilling holes in boats is not a worry unless it’s below the waterline, then good bonding glues are required but for the deck, most rubber sealants are okay and will withstand a season’s sea water. Every season you should check these joints and re-seal if required.
12 volt wiring is easy and provided you use good wire not more than 28 copper wires intertwined this is the maximum/minimum you want so as not to loose too much power. A good switch, ones with a breaker not a fuse, use a main fuse from the battery or each battery, and make them accessible nothing worse than trying to find a fuse in the dark under a seat or in the back of a cupboard.
Put in a box so all your wires go in and connect to the wires which connect to your breaker.
Basic Battery Setup
Remember K.I.S.S = keep it simple stupid
You can buy a switch board which will work in the same way as this diagram but will have 2-3 or 6 switches all have the same power supply but work different things, lights, radio, VHF, navigation lights, GPS and more. You can also have one switch work 2-3 or more items. You can also use 2 batteries; all that needs added then is a switch where you can select either battery.
The battery selector switch can be purchased at any auto shop, costs between £1 and £3 but should be at least 20amp. I use this system in Trebeck II with one addition – I have the negative (earth) joined on an earth plate, which in turn is earthed through the earth plate on my tiller, which earths out in the sea. I use a six switch breaker panel, cost £23 it has one positive (live) feed in and six out, one negative (earth) for panel lights.
I installed three lights in the main cabin and one in the forward cabin (our bedroom), one radio/CD player and speakers, one VHF radio. I also installed a Nokia communicator telephone which gives us phone, fax, email and access to WWW and SMS. The lights cost £8 each, the radio/CD player came out of our old car, the VHF radio was in the boat and the phone was a spare I already had but to buy all of this new would be around £200 not including the phone which second hand you can get for around £100.
For a charging system I got a solar panel cost £24 and a battery control switch £13 and they all pop together without interfering with your main wiring and switches. All you do is put the solar panel in the light and turn the dial on the battery selector either 1, 2 or both for charging, or off when panel stowed away. More expensive solar panels can be left out on deck 24-7. Remember small solar panels won’t fully charge batteries but will keep them topped up.
I have to say that solar panels are the best way to go for local use, wind generators are noisy and wave generators only work while moving and are mainly used by live-aboards, I now have 2 wind generators and 3 large solar panels on our newest yacht, keeping our 440amp domestic, 96amp engine and 110amp fridge battery.
Once all the wiring is in then you can paint/varnish all you want. You can either buy special paint for marine use or you can buy a good outdoor exterior gloss and 3 to 4 times cheaper than marine paint and covers in only one coat! Varnish, well I’m not keen and would recommend teak oil, not as shiny as varnish but much easier to apply.
Rub down the hull, apply underwater undercoat just one coat does, but only to the water line and yacht enamel undercoat for the hull above the waterline.
Paint the top of the hull to the waterline with a good enamel marine paint. It goes on and dries in 24 hours, a second and third coat can be applied each 24 hours and dries to a good finish.
Below the waterline use antifoul. Pick your colour and strength and apply; remember to apply it thicker in places that will be pushed through the water first like the bow, front of the keel fin, in fact any and all leading edges. I used the entire tin (5 ½ litres) nice and thick – nothing will stick here!
Becky and I painted Trebeck II outside in our driveway, during the months of February and March, and the paint took well. The weather during the day was dry with temperatures between 3-9 degrees with light winds. It all worked well and did the job, tidy not professional but clean and smooth enough – I want to sail it not frame it!
SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND ADVICE
Most of my advice was given freely by David of Gael Force, Inverness. I must say David and his staff have been brilliant. If it was subject matter they didn’t know they would search out a member of staff or search books and the internet to assist me, and all while I stood in the shop drinking the free coffee they supplied me by the cupful.
Bits and bobs I wanted were supplied and all at a cheaper price than anywhere else in the UK; if they couldn’t equal the price they would better it, never once were they dearer.
Other minor sources have been Caley Marina, Inverness; the head engineer there was fantastic and the sales staff and brokerage were only as helpful as required, and the prices were as displayed with no discounts. The part time staff (sales) seemed keen to please.
A strange fact – chandlers are closed on Sundays during winter, when most needed, and open in summer when everyone is out sailing!
GAS AND FITTINGS
Most of us use gas as it is the cheapest option and practical. I don’t like liquid fuels like paraffin or meths, too much sloshing about for me, and too easy to spill and dribble. Gas is easy – unscrew one bottle attach another, switch on all done, and the gas can be put well away from the living quarters. But you have to make it well aired and safely stored, but this is easy to do.
Firstly get gas rated flexi hose, copper pipe and connections then a suitable container for the bottle to sit in and a place to put it that can be aired and vented to prevent gas leaks becoming a problem. A good old 5 gallon plastic water drum/bottle is good for this.
The only other way is to put the gas bottle on deck sitting on the rear of the boat, so any gas drops away from the yacht. I personally don’t like this method but I’ve seen it on a lot of small boats. I’ve heard some stories, some quite funny but the people involved were really, really lucky not to be killed. And all due to bad ventilation and the gathering of gas in the bilges, a match struck and boom!!
One story was a chap who purchased a yacht and sailed up north; he moored near a buzzing little town and went out for a night clubbing, and even managed to talk a couple of girls into going back to his yacht for drinks. It was a cold night and the girls wanted coffee; the skipper crawled down into his galley and attempted to light his aging stove with damp matches. After about ten minutes a spark! Yep then a whoosh and a bang, the gas which was switched on ignited, flashed up and past the skipper taking his chest hair, eyebrows and head hair out the hatch and past the girls, one of which fell over the side into the water below. Luckily that was it apart from hair loss and pride no one was seriously injured, but they could just as easily have been killed.
Another one was a chap in Nairn. The tide was out and his yacht was sitting neatly on the mud; he lit his gas cooker and boom! There was a big flash when the smoke cleared all that was standing in the mud was the man, a diesel engine and a drive shaft, the rest of the boat well everything that weighted less than 2kgs was blown apart and scattered for over 100 yards in all directions. Another lucky escape which could just as easily been a fatality.
MAIDEN VOYAGE OF TREBECK II – formerly Lightning
Well a chap phoned me and asked me if I’d like to swap my old MG midget sport 1972 for a Folk boat (FB139) made around 1950-55 I was told – a nice wooden boat. The wife and I went to Inverness, Dochgarroch where it was moored. The yacht came with its berth and canal ticket to August 2003 which was worth £100 not much but if we swapped the yacht could stay moored there.
Anyway we went for a look and then left. The man called us a couple of days later and asked if we would swap, and we agreed to and a few days later we did.
On the 10th March 2003 we decided to bring the yacht from Inverness to Cromarty. We arrived at Dochgarroch about 0930 loaded up our sleeping bags, large flask, mobile phone and our SOS bag, which contained emergency lights, batteries, GPS, smoke and flares and of course our mate Ian, who had come up especially for the voyage. Becky took the car down to Muirtown Basin and walked over to the locks to wait for us. We meanwhile motored down towards her, stopping at Tomnahurich Bridge, which when we arrived was closed for repairs, even though I had phoned and faxed the Friday before to arrange for our trip. Anyway there we were stuck for 2 ½ hours while the booked work was done. I called Becky who came over and sat with us. Once the bridge opened we motored down past Caley Marina and met Becky, who had taken the car back to Muirtown again.
We waited for the locks to open let the fishing boats through and then we went down through the locks and into the Basin. We collected the tender and headed for the sea lock and out into the Firth and under Kessock Bridge. It wad cold but the sun was out, and the waves were about 3-5 foot – a bit frightening as we had to negotiate the sea lock using only one gate as the other was broken. Well out into the Firth and over toward Kessock it was 4pm HW was 430pm, we motored out just past the bridge and we set sail, there was a brilliant SW wind and it was directly behind us, we expected to be in Cromarty in a few hours.
The main slipped some ties and we had to drop the sail down which left us using the foresail, we motor-sailed out past Munlochy just catching the tide, gracefully passed Avoch and Fortrose. It was getting dark so we had occasion to use our emergency lights. All purchased from Gael Force and packed ready to use or so Dave said. Unfortunately he sold us the wrong batteries but luckily we had batteries in the torch, and a search light which was used just to let others know we were there. After the trip we went into Gael Force and Dave said sorry and gave us a set of batteries to compensate for his mistake (4 batteries) just goes to show what 3 peoples lives are worth huh!
Anyway we got to our mooring in Cromarty (CY22) at 8.20pm under cover of darkness. We unloaded and arrived home at 9pm. A good day was had by all although Becky said we should sell the boats!! The trip was interesting as we had never went through canal gates/locks or ever been under Kessock Bridge on a boat. For Ian it was just a first real sail, me too. For Becky it was her second sea voyage although her first was on a holiday in the Med. It was interesting to see things working e.g. lighthouse buoys and lights, identify them and see them working. I recommend doing this to everyone, no matter what sailing experience they don’t have; it’s a major learning curve not to be missed. The journey was good and I enjoyed it. The swell was around 3 metres but going with us, the wind was rising and we were making good time. Our electrics went down and we had no depth or log, so it was a guessing game, we managed to get into Cromarty and pick up the mooring, dingied ashore and went home to get warm and contemplate our electric problem. Turns out one of us hit the main switch with our ass and turned everything off! Simple things.
NEARING LAUNCH TIME
Its getting close the season is about to start! I’ve been ready for weeks and the weather has been brilliant sill a week to go though, 29 March is getting closer. The local yacht club in Cromarty are waiting till May!!
We’re getting ready to put Trebeck II in and take out Trebeck III on the same trailer, hopefully it will have been sold prior to this or I’ll have to start working on her.
Just secured the trailer, checked the tyres and couplings, now the brakes and once launched we can do the rest provided I don’t bring out the other boat. The slipway is full of stones and has to be cleared, but is all sound and not in use so it’s free and ready for use. It’s just a case of towing her down and dropping her in, or so we thought!!
Becky and I got her towed down, the car bounced it was like towing a boat at sea. Down the slip we discovered that the new water tank was weighing down the back of the yacht, slightly off balance so I stood on the trailer to balance it then the town ball wouldn’t come off. Laurie May another yachter in Cromarty, after going to and fro, stood on the trailer and I reversed the car. The trailer slowly went into the water and Trebeck II just slipped off and the launch was complete. I took the yacht to the mooring alongside Trebeck III and tied her off. Back to shore and assist Becky taking the trailer home – work done.
Now we had to make a mooring for Trebeck III and in a hurry. The same design as our first one except the riser will be 10mm chain instead of sea-steel rope. Fax the Port Authority a form filled in and a mooring permit done!
A cheap fax and stamp all paperwork done. Off we ran to get a tyre, chains and buoy. This time 50” buoy, 10mm chain 8 metres of it and 10 metres of 32mm stud link chain, one tractor tyre large rear and ½ cube (1 ton) of concrete, yet we did it in 48 hours! Now we have to get it in the water. Its all sitting on our trailer waiting to go. We talked to the nice ferry master and he will tow out my mooring and drop it in just like last time.
A FUNNY WEE STORY
Laurie May, a nice bloke with a nice we wooden yacht. Anyway, he was sailing single handed near North Kessock where he had a mooring, Laurie sailed up to the mooring and leaned over with boat hook and line to attach to his mooring – as he swung by he hooked up first time, but as he ran by the line reached its end and Laurie’s arm stretched out, then he leaned out then oops over the back of the boat he went and into the drink. Laurie had his floatation suit on and he paddled like a drowning man, tired and exhausted he saw the world flash by, and thought he was about to drown. Struggling he gasped for air and finally he gave up. Exhausted and tired he sank his feet and he hit sand! He was in 4 feet of water!! Stood up, and looked totally embarrassed by it all.
Well today 29 March 2003 we put our new mooring in CY24 and on it we were putting Trebeck II. Her permanent mooring is at Dochgarroch but we wanted a local one for sailing her in the Bay. Well we put Trebeck II in and rafted them together and then set about putting in our new mooring. The weather was fine and we sat down on the slip waiting for our haul out to the position. Unfortunately our tow was delayed and the weather changed. It was around 4.30-5pm when we got the mooring in and we went across to move Trebeck III to CY24 from CY22. Suddenly we noticed the new mooring line had broken and the waves were pushing Trebeck II away, causing her rear to collide with the rear of Trebeck III. The waves were tossing them about and us in too in the dinghy. We tried to catch the bow line and pull her into the wind but the yachts were rising and falling some 6 feet! Trying to get the bow was an event in its self, I was in the dingy, Becky in control on the helm. I was attempting to get a line on the bow, the yacht was rising with me hanging on, my feet hooked in the dingy, the yacht went up, I went up, the dingy went up so far, then hit the yacht, that forced the dingy away, the yacht came down, I came down, the dingy shot backwards with me stretched out in the middle, the yacht went up, my feet pulled the dingy back and we went through the whole procedure again, I must have stretched about 6 inches in height every time. We couldn’t get them round and the rear of Trebeck II smashed into the rear of Trebeck III putting the outboard through the stern. The outboard was bent and forced it down and off to the bottom it went into Davey Jones’s Locker. The yachts tossed and turned and we couldn’t bring them round; finally we managed to cut the remaining mooring lines and pulled Trebeck II free. I jumped off Trebeck III and into the dinghy, Becky grabbed the bow line on Trebeck II and tried to pull her over to CY24 (20 metres east of CY22) but our outboard was struggling. Now we decided it was time to call for help as we couldn’t do any more, so 999 was called, and the RNLI coastguard were called.
It seemed like forever before they arrived, by the time it did we had almost managed to get back to the mooring (CY24). Anyway they threw a line over and one RNLI bloke jumped aboard the yacht, the RNLI then towed us back to the mooring. The RNLI bloke tied us off using two lines and we took the dinghy onboard the RNLI boat. As we did so we looked over at Trebeck III and she was going down – just sunk!! Yep sunk – it was gone in seconds only the mast could be seen and only the top 6 foot. Well we were taken to Cromarty harbour and all was well with us, except we had one boat sunk and one badly damaged, what an end to a days sailing.
Once ashore we thanked all those who helped, we had the usual one or two people who just had to be nosey; the commodore of the Cromarty Yacht Club was one. The first thing he said was “what happened?” not “are you okay?” and the next thing was “sad to see a boat go down, any boat” and still no – how are you and the wife? – Not one word!
Well that was that the real boating folk asked about us first then the boat, in that order! Well back home, tea, shower and food. Emailed the insurance company and then relaxed. The stormy weather didn’t abate and now gales are whistling through the Firth. Trebeck II is well tied and won’t move off that mooring, but the damage is done and we’ll have to see about it being written off or repaired. The Folk boat well I think its done for, well holed in the stern, a shame she was a good sailor.
The insurance company craftinsure.com called me and tried to say we were not navigating at the time of the incident and therefore were not insured. I had to explain they would need to contact HM Coastguard and RNLI and tell them they hadn’t come out and rescued us! After that they informed us they were waiting on the underwriters to come back with a surveyors name and details so our claim could be processed and completed ASAP. Isn’t it amazing craftinsure.com tried to tell us the boats wouldn’t be insured unless actually navigating between 1st October – 31st March in Scotland. Now navigating means sailing your boat or day sailing. You had to be navigating at the time! Which we were, we explained and pointed out that if you sailed to Wick, stopped, got off the yacht for chips or a break, you were still navigating until you returned to your home or winter berth! If an accident occurred while ashore you would still be insured, it took a while but they had to agree, but it took a while to sink in. Also that my wife and I both sailed single-handed as well as together. Meanwhile Trebeck III is sitting on the bottom, rolling back and forward. I think with the weather may have to be written off! There will be nothing left of her soon, the mast is slowly going further down. ‘So we wait and wait.
A week has gone by and after much email and phone calls from me to the broker; we now have a surveyor appointed. On the second week the surveyor has been, he reckons that T3 is a total loss and T2 repairable. We had Caley dive lift T3 with airbags, but they dropped her and then lifted her again and it’s now just off the harbour waiting for them to bring her ashore. I have contacted craftinsure.com’s Mark Lee and have been disappointed to find how unhelpful and how he is totally for the insurance underwriters and not the insured as I would have hoped a broker would be, but I suppose the old saying comes in “he who pays the piper calls the tune” and in this case I must say it is true. Well it took several weeks and the result at the moment is that the underwriters have decided they won’t cover us at all.
TREBECK II REPAIRED
Although the insurance company have not paid out, we have done the repairs. All the work has been done; Becky and I took her down to the slip and have launched as usual with no fuss, except I forgot to get on again, until she was heading into the sea at speed! And I jumped from the trailer to boat just as it all hit the water! Our new/second-hand Yamaha 5hp pulled me away with no problems, and once Becky had pulled the trailer clear she and Laurie May who had just arrived, came out in the dingy and we set off to the mooring.
The next job is to put up the mast so next morning at low tide we came into the harbour to do just that, lifting the mast carefully over the harbour dropping it down onto the boat, a friend holding the top, me at the bottom and Becky putting all the bottle-screws and stays in place. 10-15 minutes later the job was done, only to find the back stay, new and just made by Tony at Gael Force was too long! By about 18 inches Strange as he had the old ones to use as a template. Anyway the mast can remain in place as we can use a stay lock to fix it. So I plugged in the electronics to check the lights, when Becky asked if they (nav lights) would be better on the mast instead of on the back seat of the car! Ahhh! We laughed and laughed, this is boating. Then remounted the mast with lights fitted.
Next day was calm once again, we purchased the stay lock at a large discount due to Gael Force’s error, motored into the harbour and down with the mast, pop the light on and cut the back stay – sorted.
FIRST CANAL SAIL
We left Cromarty I was full of excitement, Becky was her usual calm self although she was keen on reaching Inverness to have a Chinese takeaway at Mr Rice! Off we set, motored out to the North Sutor and set sail and waited, and waited as there was NO WIND! So we motor-sailed towards Inverness past Navity bank and along the rift to Chanonry Point then around to Fortrose, it was early afternoon and we were riding the incoming tide and making 4.2 knots, we had said we would anchor off Fortrose campsite and visit our friend Laurie who had recently moved into a motor-home in an effort to get rid of his current girlfriend, and it seemed to have worked and he was very happy.
Anyway it was too early to stop so we carried on passed Avoch and Munlochy and under Kessock Bridge. We motored all the way and sat outside the sea lock at Muirtown Basin, home of the highway robbers “British Waterways”. It was now 1445 and we had taken 4 hours 15 minutes. At 1520 hours the gates opened and in we went, along with 3 other boats (2 yachts and a wee motorboat called Mia). After waiting for everyone to pay which seemed to take an eternity we were allowed to pass through. Just before we went Becky remembered that the waterway keys were in the dashboard of the car which was in Cromarty! So waterways license in hand she wandered over to the BW office and acquired another key for our trip.
We waited at the swing bridge for two trains to pass then proceeded to the Basin for the evening. Once tied off we went to the Co-op and bank for shopping then over to the garage for fuel. After making dinner we sat for a while then off to bed.
Next morning I awoke bright and early, lay for an hour then rose to find Laurie had parked outside the entrance and was shouting “good morning, get the kettle on!” I wandered over and let him in, Becky and I went for a shower and returned for morning coffee which Laurie supplied. He had awoken to find he had no coffee so drove at 0530 hours into Inverness to the 24 hour Tesco to buy a jar and decided to stop by as he was by this time in need of a coffee fix!
We slipped the mooring and wandered over to the quayside to top up the water to find only one hose working. Then Laurie decided to come up with us through the first flight of locks and into Caley Marina. It was a nice gentle stroll and after seeing us through Laurie wandered back for his car and home, leaving us to continue on to Dochgarroch and into Loch Ness where we spent the night under Urquhart Castle. With still not a sail up we motored on the next day to Fort Augustus. At this point I must say there is not enough information given to canal and loch users, the maps are cheap and there is not a lot of information which is really good, mostly just where to get drink and food. Channel markers should be lit, speed limits should be displayed and direction of travel arrows/keep right signs should be put in as there are none!
At Fort August we followed the map (its not a chart!) and found the entrance to the canal more by looking than following the over simplified map. Once in we found the showers and toilets closed and not working, this meant a long walk to the top of the locks to use the other new block also not working fully but enough. The map stated “The Bothy” and other pubs had showers and toilets this is no longer true as these ceased when BW built their own! Anyway a night was spent at the bottom of the lock flight and another one at the top lock gates. So far we have found that most lock keepers are seasonal and at the moment there is one who needs to rethink his career. He has no idea of how to deal with people, but I’m sure he’ll be taught soon if not by me, by some less patient canal user!
At the top of Fort Augustus we met our old mate David Davidson. He started a marine company after leaving Gael Force Marine, when he got bored with the job. Dave was working on an old boat for a customer, who owned the canal chip shop. That evening we had fish and chips with Dave, and a pleasant hour was spent on the lock side watching the world go by. Then Becky and I wandered around and took a few pictures, then off to bed around 10pm.
Next morning we were off after our shower through Kytra and along to Cullocky by the swing bridge, and out into Loch Oich. We spent the night at the monument “Well of the Seven Heads”. On our way through I stopped and fixed the engine of “Solid Norg” a nice wee sailor, crewed by three guys and a girl (Norwegian). They moored beside us at Invergarry Castle and again at the Monument at which point they bought us a bottle of whiskey as thanks for our help. Later they moved off to the Great Glen Water Park for the evening. We rowed ashore and did some shopping then retired for the evening.
Next morning we set off through Lagan and into Loch Locky, still we have had no sails up! Once in Loch Laggan we tied up on the berths and went to check out the facilities, toilet and showers and a bin, although if we liked booze then there was a floating pub! One of the few places you can get drunk on water! It was a wet day and so we decided to head for our mooring at Gairlocky but it was a force 7 blowing down the Loch and we took 3 hours to motor up, Becky went below and closed the hatch leaving me on the helm, every now and then the hatch opened and a hot drink was pushed at me and the hatch shut. Once there we stopped, grumpy and tired, Becky decided sailing was boring and went to bed early.
We spent time at Banavie and did our shopping and laundry at Fort William we went back to our boat to find it had been moved. Now you wouldn’t move someone else’s car or bike, why would you move a boat? Well the answer came later. We had to retie the boat as whoever had moved it had no idea about ropes or how to put them under other people’s ropes, and after 20 minutes it was all done, ropes sorted and de-knotted. The large motor sailor behind us had only just arrived and it was obvious they had done the deed, the Swiss in front apologised and stated it wasn’t them, the boat behind didn’t come out at all – in fact they hid. I would think ashamed of themselves and so they should be. Anyway as we sat on deck one or two people passed by on the pontoon, no nodes or waves as is the usual no hallo or anything. We heard the voice of a woman saying “could you do the Yorkshire puddings in your oven as ours is too small” and “the dinner party starts at 8” it’s another world! We watched as the guests trundled back and forth with their offerings of food for the event and still not a word or a wave. Becky decided to go to the toilet and was away for at least 50 minutes, when she returned it seemed she had to wait outside the toilet as one of the dinner guests had bought fish in Fort William and was sorting it out into bags in the ladies loos, and her explanation when challenged was “it makes such a mess on the yacht, smells and attracts seagulls who then make a mess on the yachts deck”. No apology to the 2 ladies waiting or my wife, she just said “oh I’ll finish this later” and wandered off leaving the smell and bits of fish which were unwanted in the sink! Later we wandered down to look at the boats and Becky pointed out which boat the woman came off. They were all Clyde Cruising Club members going to a rally at Fort Augustus. This was to be a great event as their meet would coincide with the day the first spade work was done on the canal 200 years ago. Although the lock keeper told me they were 3 years too early! Most boat people are friendly and willing to chat, this lot were ignorant, dirty and really not the sort of folk you would want to come visit you at home.
We arrived at Fort Augustus and decided to stay a night at the top then go down to the bottom. We watch as those same boats from Banavie motored in and decided we would stay and watch this big event. We moved over to the pontoon and eventually tied off on the very end where there were no cleats just old bits of rope to the tie off on. The boats started to roll in and the lock keeper asked if we minded staying there on the end as there were 29 big boats arriving on Tuesday afternoon (next day) and we might feel a bit intimidated. I decided we would stay and the next day they started to arrive and they (the club yachties) actually moved holiday boats and private boats away, telling them this was a private pontoon for CCC members only. I sat and waited, no one asked me to move, they moved in all around me and still no one asked me to move; in fact not a soul came near us or our boat! We were stared at and glared at, pointed at and they even put a sign up on the guard rail saying it was private pontoon and for members only! No one had the balls to come and ask us to move!
On the Wednesday a nice chap wandered along and asked if we were members of CCC – he wasn’t but had been invited along the way. We said no but we didn’t mind them sharing our pontoon and being part of the holiday community at Fort Augustus. He chuckled and wandered off to tell the organizer and club secretary etc.
Eventually a nice old chap about 75 wandered down and asked when we intended to move. We said “oh Thursday lunch time, possibly”. “Okay” came the reply and off he went. There were whispers and pointing and more glares and one woman said “oh I don’t like to share or be beside people we don’t know”. The next people to arrive were the waterways manager to see about the toilets, as the CCC had managed to block and flood them, they also managed to break the alarm pulls in the disabled showers, thinking they operated the heaters! I have to say I have never seen so many unused motor sailors in one place at one time.
You knew they were not used much as:
1. so clean
2. The people on them couldn’t get off or on unaided, therefore impossible for them to sail them!
3. All the clothing and running rigging was clean, un-stretched and tied off having never been used!
The only thing 90% of their yachts did was sit on a marina berth or motor around a marina I think, “gin palace” was the description one old yachtsman told me, and the CCC were full of them, not a club you would join if your actually wanting to sail, well not unless you had crew to do it for you we were told and that seemed to be the case here! The crews brought the yachts here the owners arrived in cars and the crews came back to take the yachts back to Troon etc. when they were done, what a life eh. Not like the old days of the CCC when the members travelled and wrote the pilot books.
I have to say the entertainment value of boating, yachting, sailing whatever you want to call it, is fantastic, money well spent even on a dinghy. I have never laughed so much, as when we have been out messing on the water. The mistakes are made by everyone without exception, common mistakes in fact usually so basic, and that is what makes it so hilarious! It doesn’t matter whether you have spent 3 or 4 million or just £20 on a boat, it’s all the same and is the one place I have discovered where no one at all is perfect, but everyone pretends to be, and age makes no difference to the faults, young and old alike are stupid. Having spent 2 weeks bobbing about on the Canal where I must say everything imaginable is sailed or motored, it is hilarious! The best place to watch the antics is Fort Augustus at the top lock, professionals, fishing boats to dinghies all come out of that gate and do the strangest things. I must say that most of the incidents involve hire boats, motor cruisers and yachts. They all race out and look for a space to park, they steer left and right with no regard for who is either side of them and some even select reverse! Without checking! Causing boats to scatter in all directions at once.
The bottom lock is the same but as it’s got a long pontoon extending out into Loch Ness you can’t see all the action. Although one of the funniest things we saw was when leaving and heading into Loch Ness. Some hire boats were in front of us and they were about to leave under the swing bridge. We had to wait and the lock keeper said it would be safer to get them out first. Once they had gone, the bridge opened and out we went, only to find the hire boats jockeying for position to get into spaces on the pontoon. One attempted to get into a space about double the size of his boat, but misjudged it and rammed a Norwegian yacht. The occupants of which all popped out of the cockpit hatch at the same time, looking and shouting “why for you hit by boat?” They then ran for fenders to stop any further bumps, as we passed, the Norwegians were sat, spaced out along the length of their yacht fenders in hand, waiting for the next attack! It was wonderful fun to see and the hire boat missed the space altogether and got stopped by the next hire boat about 4 spaces down.
They caught the ropes desperately flung out by the lady standing on the bow, who was shouting sorry to the Norwegians who her husband had just tired to sink at the pontoon. We motored passed and headed out into Loch Ness and down to Drumnadrochit, it started to rain and the wind was against us, but we laughed and chatted about the things we’d seen on our visit. Our side’s ached, fantastic holiday, great laughs I would recommend it to everyone and anyone. If you don’t have your own boat, hire one.
PURCHASING A THIRD BOAT
Well you would think by now it would be easy but hell it’s hard to give cash to waiting buyers, not the giving part but the sellers just seem to want cheques or promises! After selling Trebeck II for cash, £7000. Now there’s a story, we were at Fortagustus on the top pontoon when a guy wondered past and asked what the boat was we told him a hunter 501, he came on board and loved it. I told him about the refit, rewired, painted and polished. The man offered me £6000, I told him if he gave me £7000 I would throw in the trailer she had and the mooring on the canal, he agreed and two weeks later arrived at the berth with the money, boat sold.
We decided to start looking at purchasing our next boat ASAP. We checked out the papers, magazines and local harbours and we located an IP24 in Grimsby after much to-ing and fro-ing over emails. We then arranged to go and see her and on arrival at Grimsby Marina we called the seller and arranged a time to meet. He duly arrived and hesitantly took us to see the boat, explaining that he had finally had some interest and that another man would be looking after us. I did think it strange as if we liked it then we would purchase it cash in hand. Anyway we saw it and to be honest were not too impressed by its state. The ad said TLC and it certainly needed that as most jobs w