I used to be one of the first sailors up in the morning. Often at the crack of dawn. I would be there exchanging banter with fellow sailors across the anchorage in Piel harbour, often shivering clutching a cup of steaming hot tea, as the sun starts its long climb over Ingleborough fell.
Recently things have changed. Now I’m finding I’m often the last to wake, but when I do wake it is with a feeling of extreme cosiness. Another ten minutes in my bung, why not! Often one’s dreams are the most colourful, and most memorable at that time of the morning. Even the thought of a nice brew, or even to behold a beautiful sunny morning, sunrays flooding in through the portholes dancing on the varnished bulkhead. But I am still happy to stay put, and dream of what the day might bring.
What has happened you might ask? Well, the answer is something totally silent and non-power-consuming: it’s my recently fitted charcoal stove, which runs happily through the night keeping me warm but more importantly dry.
There were a lot of trips to Piel Island over the 2021 season. This is just one of them. The main aim is to get out to sea, watch the Lancashire coast with work and worries left far behind. See the Cumbrian coast in the distance come closer and closer. Navigate into the channel and find an anchorage. Get ashore in a small inflatable dinghy. Walk the walk up the long inclined jetty capable of handling a 36-foot tide, order a pint in the Ship Inn, then pay homage to the King of Piel (order more pints). Get back to our moored boats in spite of the 4-knot running tide. Hopefully, sail back into the arms of our loving families the following day.
One of the boats that caught my imagination as a lad was the 24′ Eventide. Designed by the well-known designer Maurice Griffiths back in the 50s. Some were built professionally, but most were built in people’s back gardens and the like. Designed for the Essex muddy river scene northeast of London, they were a no-brainer choice for Morecambe Bay sailors back in the day.
We’ve had many examples at Wardley’s Creek over the years. But unfortunately, wooden boats need lots of loving tender care to keep them tip-top, and the nostalgic twinkle in the eye enthusiasts inclined to do the painting, corking, and varnishing are, like the boat, a dying breed.
This one has been around since I joined the club in 2014. I should imagine many people have felt that prick of strong desire to take her on. Still, after sleeping on it, they’ve looked around elsewhere and seen that there is always something a bit better, more modern, roomier inside, and made of PLASTIC.
A friendly base for Yacht Cruising on Morecambe Bay