Call Me Old Fashioned

The Lune Pilot is a replica of an historic open sailing boat from the 1920s. The original didn’t have an engine and I have for all the time I have owned her avoided using one. Call me old fashioned but it just doesn’t seem right to me.

Ok, that’s not quite true. I did have an outboard for a while which I did try out – twice. Once in the engine trunk which did not work very well because the prop would foul on the rudder if it was fitted and the second time on a newly fitted outboard standoff. Its too noisy, it’s too bulky and cumbersome and it completely unbalances the boat. The long and the short of the matter is that the boat wasn’t built for it, simple as that. But then is any small sailing boat really going to take the weight of an outboard that well?

The answer is – I hope so! Because this morning a very nice chap arrived to collect my standoff which he had won on eBay the day before. Yes, I sold it to him. He is planning to use it on his Wayfarer when he sails off-shore this season. He’s quite right though the security of having an engine is a very prudent measure when out at sea or in a strong tidal estuary. It could be a lifesaver.

Having said that my son and I joined a Character Boats rally 2 years ago at Salcombe and we went out to sea with no engine. The rest of the flotilla were not far away and all 13 of the other boats had engines. So far I have never been in a situation where I needed an engine. I have been able to un-ship the oars and get a bit of extra push if needed. Not having an engine I believe makes you think things through and plan better. Proof of this is the very trip mentioned here. We all landed on South Sands at Salcombe for lunch and came the time to head off again. Wind directly on shore and breaking waves – its the worst scenario. The others all motored out and put up sails when underway. We on the other-hand had to do it in the time honoured fashion. A good hearty push and immediately onto a tack whilst leaping into the boat gracelessly at the very last minute. It wasn’t pretty. Actually, I was proud of us because we got away first time and there were quite a few spectators on the beach.

Naturally, when one undertakes a difficult task like that it is important to make it look easy, even if it isn’t, and to demonstrate the utmost nonchalance accompanied by a look of smugness when finally away. As I said, call me old fashioned…

Lune Pilot Thumb

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