Finally half the fleet is in it’s right element. Yesterday at 12 o’clock Tolda, the bigger and older lady was afloat at Öckerö harbour. That doesn’t mean the job is over yet. A fair amount of varnish has to be added. But now there is a floating “hotel” ready. And there is always more job to be done than I finalise. Every year. And with a wooden boat, 66 years old, it is difficult to keep up with the decay. Particularly with a lazy owner. Nevertheless, now the season finally has started. Something that I have longed for more than usual.
Tolda I have had for 30 years now, and she has left me with many good memories, and hopefully more to come.
So, finally. Winter has lost its grip. Last week has been very pleasant, and I went out to the harbour to get the boats ready. I have to start with the big one, she has to be in water before 26th of april. Otherwise the harbour captain will move it to an other spot on my expence. The harbour area where it is at the moment, will be opened for campers the week end after this. Campers! In a harbour? I shudder.
Normally I find it good to have such a deadline, I am a true procrastinator. But this year there were so many other things that kept me busy,
so it became a bit short of time. But the weather was fine, I had assistance by my wife two days, so there is only the bottom left to paint now. I can assure you that were a lot of people busy this week end. So on the 25th she will be in water again. Then the Monark will be taken care of. But she is much smaller, and there is no deadline there.
So, finally. The cancer treatment has come to an end. 25 times with outer radiation, and twice inner, brachy treatment. So now I am “only” left with the question: Did it work? I will get that answer in 6 months, and finally I realize what other cancer patients has witnessed before me: The worry that it has not worked. That it will come back. I have been quite laid back when it came to this, but now is a faint uncertainty is coming to me.
But unfortunately I now know that there is one other find that has to be treated. The thymus has started to grow, and has to be removed in order to find out if it is malign or not. So an OP later. But then I really hope that it will be the end of this. Check ups yes, but no more surprises please!
I have not started with the boat yet. Hospitals and foul weather has stopped me. But now we feel that spring finally has arrived. And I am getting in a bit of a hurry. It has to be ready in April. But. It will work.
Being back to Sweden in 1979 I was without a boat for seven years. With small children around it was nothing I considered at the time. Nevertheless, the thoughts were there, and in 1986 I bought a small keel boat, a Seacat. A small keel boat, 6.35 meters long, not particularly comfortable to sleep in, although it was possible for some days. But she sailed quite well. It was by the way designed by the same person who designed my latest boat, the Monark 540, Pelle Pettersson. I didn’t keep her for more than a year. With two children it simply became to small. But since then I have always have had a sailing boat.
Good old days…
The designer, Pelle Pettersson, is not only a well known boat designer, primarily the Swedish Maxi Yachts, he was also a successful sailor with Olympic medals and a trained industrial designer. Those of you that are old enough to remember the TV series “The Saint”, with Roger Moore as a key actor perhaps recall what car he drove? A Volvo P1800. That car was designed by Pelle Pettersson. Today he is 85 years old, and still going strong.
I am not going to say anything about the weather today…
No, while still waiting for spring to come I will recall a bit what boats I have had. The last post showed a picture of my very first boat. An Osprey. A dinghy designed by Ian Proctor, a well known boat designer. It was a perfect boat to start sailing with. All dinghy’s you will find responsive, and it will always tell you what you are doing wrong immediately. My Osprey was one out of 12 at the Tanga Yacht Club, Tanzania. TYC in the 70-ies was a reminiscent of the old colonial days. Tanzania had become independent in 1962, but it was long time before the “old days” disappeared. Yacht clubs certainly were such things. Although I thought of myself as an progressive and liberal person, – I came there as an volunteer, – I quickly found myself comfortable at the Yacht Club. Today, I have some difficulties in relating to that.
The very best sailor at the club was an Englishman, Dick Blakeway. He had been in Tanga as a Port Officer since the colonial days, and had quite colonial habits. He is not with us anymore, so I leave it there. I returned to Tanga in 2006, and found out the he then has passed away. But he was an extraordinary good sailor. He was also an regular at the club, as well as the Commodore for many years. But he had stopped racing around the time I arrived, his boat was then sailed by his wife. TYC was a small but keen sailing club. There were regular races twice a week. Members of the TYC in those days often were contract workers or volunteers like myself and stayed there for a short while, say 2-3 years. If they, like me, had the opportunity to obtain a boat, they often got frustrated after some time. Why did they not learn to sail properly. It had to be some irregularities with the boat. And then they asked Dick to sail with them to find out the faults. Sometimes he did help you, sometimes he didn’t. But he rarely gave lessons at such. He took the tiller and the owner became the crew. And he always won the competition. Always. Regardless which boat he sailed. Then he went up to the quarterdeck and had a beer, feeling very confident. Unfortunately the owner often was left with no information of what to do to sail better.
I am getting a bit worried about spring. Will it come at all? Temperature hasn’t been above zero for at least three weeks, most nights down to minus 15 centigrade. Close to half a meter of snow. For Pete’s sake! It is march now.
Now I remember with a bit of nostalgia when and where I learned to sail. It was in Tanga Tanzania, in the 70-ies. The picture is taken when my boat Eyas, an osprey, was brought down to Tanga Yacht Club after having been overhauled during the rainy season. Sailing season stopped in March just before the long rains started, and was taken up in July again. We used to think that is was cold in July. Mid day temperature was not above 30 degrees centigrade…
Anyone having sailed an Osprey? Please let me know.
So far, the winter has only been dark, cold and uninspiring. Boats are dwelling on land under tarpaulins, and they don’t like it a bit. I don’t blame them. But this week the Gothenburg boatshow closes, which normally means that the summer spirit wakes up. I did not attend the show this year, but it still was a reminder.
But I have been thinking quite a lot about sailing the last month or so. And this summer I will do more sailing with the Monark that I bought last year. There were some things that needed attention, such as wiring, cooking facilities. It will be done, and at an age close to 70 I will start camping style boating again.
There is one snag though. In October I got an cancer diagnose. An aggressive prostate cancer. Fortunately there are no signs of it having spread outside the prostate. I will start a radiation treatment next week, five times a week in five weeks. So, even I am confident that that will be the end of that problem, I am not sure how I will feel in spring.
Nevertheless, it much closer to the sailing season than You think!
For many people in Sweden, a certain Monday in September is a holy day: Up in the north, start of elk hunt, and on the west coast, start of lobster season.
Last Monday, 25th of September hundreds of small boats rushed out in the morning to get the best grounds for the lobsterpots. To catch the “black gold”. It really is a sacred day.
I remember one day, some ten years back, sitting in a job meeting. It was on a Thursday and next Monday the holy day was to take place. This was in Stockholm (you don’t find lobster in the Baltic) but one of the participants came from Bohuslän, and knew for certain that he was going to take some days off to catch lobster. When the meeting was over, and people left, I called out to him just as he was leaving the room: “By the way, don’t forget the extra meeting here in Stockholm on Monday then?” You should have seen his face before he realized that I was kidding him. He wouldn’t have seen more surprised and disgusted if I had told him that his car was stolen.
Interested in a new boat? Visit Marstrand (sailors Mecca on the west coast) on 25th – 27th of August. There you will find a big boat show in open air. More than 200 boats in all sizes you can have closer look at.