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Tales from the Sea and the Hills - 2


So after my somewhat foreshortened sailing trip what happened next you're asking?

Well as I said before on Wednesday we sailed back to Rhu in fairly appalling weather. On the way back Beth phoned. She had given up on her plan to do a multi-day walk with Jake as the streams she had to ford were rapidly turning into uncrossable torrents.

On top of that the camp site, when she got back to it, was turning into a quagmire. So she'd decided to find a B&B which would take her and, hopefully, Jake too. Knowing that I would be back at Rhu that night and that would be the end of my sailing did I want to join her?

Jane immediately offered to let her stay on "Longbow" as they had no other guests. Jake would have to sleep in the Discovery but that wouldn't be a huge problem. So once we had confirmed we could get into the marina Beth drove down to join us and slept the night on the boat.

This in itself was something on an achievement as Beth would be the first to admit. She's never made it onto a small boat before: the best she's managed on a couple of occasions is to walk down marina pontoons on a calm day to look at the boat on which I was about to sail off. But this time she coped just fine and put up with the strange noises you get in the night on a boat.

Thursday after I'd helped Ted and Jane strip the main sail off ready to go to the repairers we went off for the day to do some tourism at the Falkirk Wheel (which was impressive).

When we got back the wind was howling at Rhu. There was now a big swell coming into the marina and the pontoons were bucking about like crazy. We weaved our way down to "Longbow" which we discovered was now held to the pontoon by a dozen or so mooring lines rather than the four or five it had when we left. Apparently in the swell they'd already broken one line.

We got back on board.

It was like being on a boat at sea: the boat would lurch about and there were load bangs. All very unpleasant considering we were at harbour and for a tyro sailor like Beth a bit of a shock I suspect. But she did fine until after supper when Jane started to get a bit jumpy which made Beth a bit nervous, understandably really.

By this point it was clear anyway that we were going to find it very hard to sleep on the boat so we decided to bail out and book into a B&B. From the boat I phoned one Jane suggested1 and they had a room so we borrowed a lifejacket for Beth and I put mine on too (as I wasn't at all happy with getting off the boat and walking back up the pontoon without them) and leaving everything behind other than what we stood up in we headed for dry land.

When we got to the B&B the owner and her dog greeted us so I mentioned we had our dog with us but he would be happy in the car. "Oh no" she said "he can sleep in your room, that's no problem"! So that was a bonus.

Over breakfast the following morning we talked it over and decided the sensible thing to do now was stay put so we booked another night at the B&B and then went back to the boat to pick up all our gear.

Ted had slept on the boat on his own (Jane having had to go off somewhere too) and he had spent much of the night getting up to check the moorings. One of the cleats on the pontoon had been torn off - it had actually broken off leaving a stub bolted to the pontoon: I've never seen that before. But he's survived, as had the boat.

So an exciting time. The best part though was that Beth got on a boat, slept on a boat, got back on a boat in winds which were gusting a severe gale force 9 and put up with that, and finally got off the boat and left without fuss.

I was so impressed.

  1. Floral Cottage Guest House, Church Road, Rhu, G84 8RW, Tel: 01436 820687 or 07796 527108. Recommended. Nice people. £25 per person per night.

Tags: Beth, sailing Written 20/05/09

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