Friday, 15 June 2012

Boat Share

Recent correspondence from Michael suggested I should consider sharing a boat. His logic was that if I can find someone committed to his career, he would only want to use  the boat during weekends and occasional holidays. I in the meantime, having given up mainstream existence for a better quality of life, ( albeit somewhat poorer) will benefit from free use of the boat during my partner's working week. What's more, I'll be part owner of a boat so purchase and maintenance costs will be halved - thus enabling the partnership to purchase something bigger and/or better than I could achieve alone with my somewhat limited resources.

I must confess, I considered this option a few years ago when  I was still tied to the working treadmill but at that time I considered the ideal partner to be a priest, vicar or some other 'man of the cloth', my reasoning at the time was that he'd be a reasonably honest partner and he wouldn't want use of the boat on the Sabbath.

Meanwhile I have still got a hankering to follow John's advice and consider using a local boat builder to develop and construct a vessel along local lines on the grounds that she would be a good solid boat in the kind of waters I intend to sail. I have reservations however about cost.

With these two ideas in my head I visited a friend in the village who used to own a boatyard and build boats. Not only that, he is an expert sailor, with countless delivery trips and charter boat skippering experience. If anyone can build me my perfect cruiser, this is the man.

Unfortunately, he's tied up in another project, and I probably couldn't afford his time anyway BUT here's an interesting twist to the tale.

There is another guy in the village who is the reluctant owner of a 30 something foot oak twin masted lug rigged open sailing boat, built in the 1930's along the lines of a nineteenth century fishing vessel of the type used along the coat here.

The vessel 'La Passagere' was used commercially as a ferry for passengers and goods traffic across the estuary and now she is a pleasure boat. The guy has spent a fortune on her, installing a new big diesel engine, and bringing her back to 'as new' condition but he is at the time of his life where creature comforts such as a cabin, a cooker and a toilet are becoming important so he has wanted to sell her for a few years. Only recently, has he reduced the price to a realsitic sum. Previously he set a price to recover his investment and there was no interest.

Now this is the really interesting bit. My friend the boatbuilder/skipper made an offer and had it accepted. His plan is to use La Passagere' as a  trip boat for tourists, offering cruises and picnics on the estuary on a half day, day or evening basis but to get the scheme running he need someone to be his crew.

Well who might that be? Yep! you guessed it ME good old Seaward. So, thanks to Michael and John, I seem to have acheieved something at least - unlimited sailing (maybe even more than I want) on a beautiful old locally designed boat, in a kind of partnership.

Obviously, having use of a vessel can never be the same as owning your own so the search continues but it looks as if this summer I'll have my feet on the water rather than on the pierhead - Yes a Result! Thanks Guys!