Spring 2000

Commodores Bit
News of Members
Big Thanks
Pay Up Time
Sailing Secretary Report
Prizes for 1999
Boatswain Report
Kempton Park Fireworks
Catapult Weekend
Racing Rules Change
The Meaning of Life
Theatre Visit
Aquarius Stakes
How to Sell a Yacht
Flower Bed Volunteer
Old Carpet Wanted
Brian Clements Capsized
Nine up on Laser
Alice in Wonderland
Working Party
Sailboat 2000
Start of Season Party
AQSC Home Page

HOW TO SELL A YACHT - Peter Devinish
Poor Mr C! What had he done to deserve this? The previous day, at our Teddington home, we had virtually sold him our Signet 20 (or, to he more precise, he had virtually sold her to himself') and all that was required was the formality of actually viewing her!
Now, here we were, aboard "Asterix", on our Emsworth mooring in Chichester Harbour, me and Mr C and his son Alex, the dinghy bobbing alongside and - horror of horrors! - the key was nowhere to be found. I stared into the stern locker in disbelief.
"B-but it was on top of the gas bottle."
Mr C showed polite concern as I hauled warps, oil cans, buckets, lifejackets, riding light and a heap of half-empty cans out of the locker, until the cockpit looked like an Oxfam jumble sale.
Still no key.
Only one thing for it: force the lock. No tools - they're locked up below. Mr C's penknife proves unequal to the occasion. I start to row ashore again, to see what burglary equipment I can find in the car.
"You might like to have a look at the mainsail while I'm gone", I called out hopefully. (I don't think he did.)
I returned with the most likely objects I could find: a wheel brace and part of a roof-rack.
No go.
I went for'ard and wrestled with the forehatch. This was more with a view to impressing Mr C than than with any hope that I might thereby obtain access. (He was undoubtedly fully aware of this.)
Then my eyes lighted on the ventilator.
"Supposing we could undo that, maybe we could reach through and undo the forehatch." I smiled brighfly. Mr C didn't. Alex studied the sky.
The screwdriver was locked up below. Mr C removed the four retaining screws with his penknife. Mr C is a patient man...
My arm wouldn't go through the hole. Mr C's arm wouldn't go through the hole. I'm so glad he brought young Alex with him.
Down in the cabin, I was immensely relieved to find a rusty hacksaw blade. The lock was duly amputated, main hatch opened, washboards removed.
A few flicks of the starting handle and the Stuart Turner burst into life. We were ready to play motorboats for the next twenty minutes.
We slipped our mooring and, with hand poised over the gear lever, I noticed that the tiller was still lashed to the backstay. Desperate struggle to unlash it. "Asterix" drifting sideways towards next moored yacht. Tiller freed at last. Engage forward gear. Yacht forges ahead. Life's good.
Engine stops.
"What have we done?", I ask. (This is addressed more to God than to anybody visibly present.)
Yacht stops dead.
God tells me that propeller has got snarled up on mooring line. I pass this information on to Mr C.
"Oh", says Mr C. (He is a forgiving man.)
I spent the next twenty minutes kneeling reverently before the engine, turning the flywheel, whilst Mr C and Alex heaved on the mooring line. It was soon clear that I would have to go over the side.
It was starting to rain.
As luck would have it, I was wearing the somewhat satincal knickers that Di had given me for Christmas but not to worry, Mr C had retired pensively to the cabin and Alex found me a line to run to the next moored yacht, to relieve the tension on the propellor.
A quarter of an hour later, all was clear and I found half a Jaycloth to dry myself on.
"Right", I said (nonchalantly), I'll re-start the engine and we're off."
I think Mr C grunted.
Stuart Turner two-strokes will start when they're cold. They'll start when they're hot. But this one wasn't at all sure whether it was meant to be hot or cold - and who could blame it?
I knelt at the starting handle. Mr C sat silently behind me in the cabin. Mr C, as I say, is a patient man. Twenty minutes later (and for no apparent reason) the engine started.
We duly went for our motorboat ride. But did Mr C buy "Asterix?" Well, actually, no. Can't think why not...
Oh, and just one other thing: the key turned up in the pocket of my oilskin jacket.