Monday, 24 January 2011


The painting above is of Ferryside from Llansteffan Beach. In the middle of the estuary is a marker called the Barrel Post. It is not visible on the painting. It marks an underwater obstruction i.e. a number of rocks.

We learnt to sail on the Towy and have often sailed dinghies up and down the estuary. The Barrel Post is often used as a racing mark. I recall my first ever dinghy race. I had only just learnt to sail. I was asked if I would crew with another sailor called “Des”who had slightly more experience than I had.

It was a very windy day with big gusts coming up the channel. I like being in boats on the water but I admit I don’t much like being in the water. Anyway there were about 30 or more boats in the race and we were all careering about near the start line just above Ferry Point. It was as far as I could see, “Mayhem”. There were boats flying around in all directions mostly out of control. When the starting gun went off we were all tacking madly to get the best advantage over the start line.

All of a sudden we came upon a dinghy in front of us. Des starting shouting for them to get out of our way. This was clearly impossible in the melee and we just continued until we crashed in to them.

“Its alright,” said Des, “Its our right of way!”

I looked in astonishment at the capsized dinghy with the two floundering sailors in short sharp cold sea. Apart from anything they were on our team. We careered on obviously out of control.

I then heard Des shouting “Get the hell off our boat”

I could see one of the capsized sailors was hanging desperately to our stern as we sailed on. Des was busy prising his hands off the boat. So much for the Rules of the Sea. Eventually we left the casualty behind in wallowing in the waves.

Not long after we were struck by another boat and I found myself being launched into the air and then into the dark muddy cold water of the Towy. I came to the surface and noted our boat seemed to have sunk and Des was being hauled in to a rescue boat.

I was directed to what turned out to be our boat full to the gunwales with water.

Des shouted for me to bail it out. I must have been mad because I tried. More water came over the top then I could ever bail out and I was eventually towed to shore.

Whilst I did a lot of sailing after I never crewed with Des again.

Today we had a couple of people call for paintings and we spent sometime trying to sort out the water system on our camper. A none return valve had given up the ghost.

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