Sometime in 2010, I thought it would be a “good idea” to buy a small second hand boat and sail her around Britain. Somewhere between the gestation of the idea and its execution, the goal posts moved. I fell in love with a new design of boat, known as a Baycruiser 23, The BC23 is a 23 foot long sailer trailer that relies on water ballast for stability. The design is by Matt Newland, the owner of Swallow Boats in Gwbert – a small hamlet on the West Coast of Wales not far from Cardigan.
In late 2011 I placed an order for one and took delivery of boat number 10 in April of 2012. I named her Vagabond. She had no fixed abode over the next three years as we sailed together round the coast of Britain. After that, we messed about in Chichester Harbour and in the Falmouth Estuary.
In the meantime, Swallow Boats became Swallow Yachts
and built another 35 or more BC23s as well as a new BayCruiser 26 and several of the smaller BayRaider classes. As I went round Britain I wrote a blog
and we gathered a small following.
At the end of the summer of 2017, I thought I had finished with sailing. It seemed to me as if the “Owners Agent” * had had enough of me disappearing so Vagabond was put up for sale and snapped up by one of the blog admirers. But Terence **, was not fit for purpose in her new home in Italy, so I was left with a trailer and, as I soon discovered, a bit of a hole in my life.
‘You’ll have to get another’ said the owners agent.
‘But I thought you didn’t like me being away?’ I responded.
‘It’s not being away that’s the trouble – it gives me a sort of holiday. It’s when you come back early and expect to be fed that’s the trouble!’
So, the story continues.
* Sylvia, my partner of some 50+ years
** The trailer – an angular galvanised steel channel device with few redeeming features.