Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Coasting; John Raban's book from the 1980's

Coasting: A Private VoyageCoasting: A Private Voyage by Jonathan Raban
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Raban is not your average escapist writing about the bliss of being footloose in a boat. Where you might expect this simply to be a salty tale, it turns out being a wonderful insight into the state of Britain in the early 1980's, as glimpsed from the cockpit of his boat and his venturing into port as he makes his way around an island in a state of turbid change. He is an outsider in many ways but this is a very useful filter for his musings on the nature of a population surrounded by water, at a time when Thatcher was taking shots at the Argentinians over the Falkland Islands, and while the fishing and coal industries were taking seismic hits from which the labour force would never quite recover.

I really warmed to his prose and his insights, although he doesn't escape the inevitable difficulty of finding a suitable ending for a voyage which is pretty much circular.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Yet more Beachcomber pics

I still haven't found the time to replace the standing rigging, but the two foresails still pull us along nicely when the wind is on my back, making an incredibly economical motor trip even more so.

Apart from the shrouds, forestays and whiskers the bow sprit needs re-finishing too, and I promise to rid the boat soon of those ageing green sail covers. They were well made but have given up on any semblance of an organised appearance.

It turns out that our long motoring trips aren't much slower than those by friends with more powerful motors. A trip to 'The Barrier' near Lakes Entrance takes us about 50 minutes- a nice time for a lunch to be taken while we let some lovely wilderness pass us by. Those with tens of HP and planing hulls can do it in 20 minutes or so, but that is more commuting than travelling...The lid of the motor box serves as a handy and well-situated table.