Towards the end of the summer 2013, I was thinking of buying a boat since I live on the north bank of the Deben river.
I had my heart set on a shiny Boston Whaler; shallow draught, good for tidal estuaries, low maintenance, fast, practical; great for family picnics, waterskiing, boys’ fishing trips, etc. I used to play around in one as a teenager, growing up in Long Island Sound, so I know my way around power boats.
I had pretty much found one when some local friends said that Drumler was for sale and suggested I consider buying her instead. No way! I thought – far too much hassle maintaining a wooden boat and, anyway, although I had grown up sailing dingies (Sunfish and Lasers, mainly), I had never sailed a yacht and so have no idea how to sail. But, fatally, I couldn’t resist having a look. Here are some photos I found of her:
And the more I researched Drumler – and Vertues generally – the more I fell for the romance of the Vertue legend. After a week of growing mania and sleepless nights fretting over sailing legend versus powerboat, I finally told my wife that I was thinking of buying her. To my amazement, although she has also never sailed, she thought it a great idea and so, a few hours later, the deed was done!
I hastily arranged a Competent Crew course to give me at least enough skills to take her off her mooring, and immediately enrolled on a Day Skipper course. Here’s the plan:
Year 1: Learn the basic theory, and learn my way around Drumler. Keep mainly to the Deben unless accompanied my more experienced friends.
Year 2: Complete Day Skipper practical (5 days on Drumler), venture to nearby rivers: the Stour, the Orwell and possibly the Ore (tricky entrance!)
Year 3: Practice sailing in the North Sea, get comfortable with navigation, possibly a bit of night sailing. Generally improve seamanship. Possibly take her to St Katherine’s Dock in London.
Year 4: Take her across the Channel, probably to Holland; maybe to Norway#
Year 5: Cross the Atlantic – my very own mid-life crisis!
Well.. you gotta have goals in life. Oh yes, one more thing: to earn membership of the Ocean Cruising Club. I’m not sure why, but I just think its a pretty cool club to belong to.