Julian and Alison Cable took turns to recount their a voyage round Ireland, in a small and elderly little yacht. They started by emphasising that this was not a single trial of endurance – they had avoided long passages, night sailing and bad weather by leaving the boat and flying home after each of the many stages of the trip.
The talk concentrated on the lesser known and, for us yotties, more scary voyages along the exposed western Atlantic coast where seas are big and harbours and refuges are few and far apart.
Their very pretty (22’6”) boat Robinetta was built in 1937 and designed by D.A. Rayner, who went on to design the very successful Westerly 22 which marked the start of Westerley Marine’s commercial success and long run as leading British yacht builders. Robinetta, a traditional gaffer, was slow but comfortable – and with her sea-kindliness and TARDIS interior, looked after them well. As they said “failure is allowed” and their aim was to be adventurous, not intrepid. They worked the weather, worked the tides, and most importantly did copious homework on harbours of refuge so they could always dash for safety when need arose – not feeling bad when they did but rejoicing in finding a new place to explore. Often the harbour was a small commercial port where they met friendly people to admire their boat and join them in raising a glass.
Interspersing the dramatic pictures of jagged rocks, craggy cliffs and havens were pictures at sea looking back at their little wooden dinghy Worms serenely following them at the end of a painter. Worms is an Iain Oughtred design (a “Mouse”) that Julian had made.
A heart-warming talk well suited to a chilly winter evening!