Boats I have owned

I read a post from another blogger a few days ago, which talked of the feelings of selling a past yacht, having bought bigger or for another reason.

This got me thinking of my past boats and yachts. My father being a teacher thought very quickly I wasn’t going to have brains to go to university so encouraged me into using my hands and later a trade (in later years I realised I was dyslexic). So dad thought building a dinghy from plans would help, so one winter at the age of 12, I built an plywood 8ft pram “Scamp” dinghy. The following summer in Gillan Harbour I was pushed off from the shore to find out how to sail the hard way. I found I loved sailing. This dinghy I kept, it was used as a punt in later years to get out to other bigger boats on swing moorings, until around 15 years old it started to rot and it ended life on a bonfire. But I still have it’s mast.

The following winter, I bought a plywood kit “Embassy” 10ft dinghy which I built, more sailing at Lochwinnock, later I had my one and only sailing lesson on Loch Lomond with my uncle John who was a dinghy instructor, I learnt a few things but mainly the calls for going about and gybing. I sold this dinghy to buy the next sailing dinghy.

At 15, I bought a 14ft “Enterprise” dinghy which I sailed lots over the next 3 years until I got interested in sea kayaking and sold her on after not sailing much for 2 years.

At the age of 17 after I had started my apprenticeship as a carpenter, I built a plywood “Falmouth Bass Boat” from plans, we used for a few years but it wasn’t a sailing boat, she was painted orange and called “Outspan”. It got stored ashore in a barn at a local farm one year. The barn had fallen down around it by the time we got her back 23 years later, the local young farmer who drove the tractor couldn’t believe boats had been built of wood! The plywood had rotted and the cost of replacing was more than the value of the boat, so this was another which went on a bonfire!

“Outspan” the Falmouth Bass Boat I built around 1977 before she got moved to the farm shed, she was collected again around 2000 but rotten was later burnt.

At 18 I got into sea kayaking and bought a new GRP “Baidarka Explorer” I called her “Banana Boat” which I paddled over 4000nm during the next 5 years, mainly on the West Coast of Scotland, when I moved to Cornwall in 1982 there wasn’t any other’s doing this sort of kayaking (in Cornwall at that time was surf kayaking) This kayak I sold in around 1990 having not paddled for years.

The only photo I have of me kayaking

At about 18 I bought my first GRP boat a new 16ft “Plymouth Pilot” called “Sara May” (inboard open motorboat) hull and deck to fit out. This fitting out I did during holidays in Cornwall, so took me 5 years to complete. She was first launched in 1982 and I took up fishing but soon found I didn’t like fish much. I sold this boat in 1988 having not put on the water for a year.

Here is “Sara May” still being fitted out, sometime around 1980, I think that’s the back of my head at the aft of the boat.

I got married in 1986, my wife came from a farming family and liked cattle, so I left the sea for a while, we lived on a small holding we kept a sucker herd of Herefords until my wife left around 1998. After that I played golf for a while, I loved the game but I gave up playing in the spring of 2009 because I needed to work some of the time!

In 2003 I met Vicki and she moved in spring 2004. I continued to play golf but we wanted something we could do together, I suggested sailing. Vicki hadn’t ever done any but had been on a few canal holidays. So we hired a dinghy from Sailaway at St Anthony, Vicki loved it from the get go. We hired a few more times though the summer and then bought a “Bradwell 18” called “Acorn” in August, which we used the rest of that summer and during the season of 2005. Although “Acorn” was a lovely day sailing yacht, she wasn’t a cruiser, it would have been camping! So we started looking for a bigger yacht.

Around August 2005 we set off to look at a “Hurley 22” called “Gala” in Emsworth. She had a fin keel but came with a trailer, which was the main reason we went to look, as the cost of buying a new trailer was nearly the value of the yacht. We made an offer subject to survey, which was excepted. It was an interesting road delivery but that’s another story! Over the winter 2005-06 I did my RYA Day Skipper and RYA VHF/DFC Radio. We sailed “Gala” over 5000nm during the 11 seasons we owned her, including 3 passages (60nm) to and from The Isles of Scilly, only once having to return via Newlyn due to a bad CG/ Met Office forecast in 2013 and that poor forecast was my reason to buy my first smartphone later that year. As yachts go 22ft is small but “Gala” was a very capable little yacht, we had been at sea a few times in a force 7 without any problems. I did a complete internal refit during ownership including a new inboard diesel. We sold “Gala” in the summer of 2017 having bought a bigger yacht “Elektra” at the end of 2016. We got a lot less than we had paid for her back in 2005 but I wasn’t too worried because we paid about £12-14,000 less than the 2005 value buying Elektra. Values of yachts fell by half between 2008-2013 and it was a buyers market between 2014- 2020.

“Gala” at the HOA Plymouth Rally during the season of 2006

Boats come and go, all you can do is look after them while you own them. It’s no good getting to upset when you need to sell, hopefully you well have enjoyed sailing them during your ownership. The best you can hope for is the new owner, gets as much enjoyment. Sometimes it’s better not to know what happened to your last yacht or boat. “Gala” didn’t go to a good home, I think she may have been launched in 2018 but then laid up in a boatyard and she hasn’t been back in the sea since.

But I have a theory about yachts/boats and their use……….. 50% never go in the water and 25% never leave their moorings. 12.5% only leave their moorings when there isn’t any wind! Only 12.5% go sailing when it’s windy and half of them are racing yachts………… When cruising, we see the same cruising yachts again, again and again though each season. And on a nice windy day sailing, looking around, there are very few other sails, and I think to myself where is everyone?? So when you have to sell your pride and joy, the chances of her going to a good home is only 12.5%.

We had been thinking of a bigger yacht for a few years. In November 2016 we bought Elektra which this blog is about. Since owning Elektra, I have met her PO and we chat when we see each other. Elektra was his first yacht which he bought in 2010, he traded her in for a new Bavaria 33 at the London Boat Show 2016.


2 thoughts on “Boats I have owned

  1. A great story Bruce, and a great insight into your boat ownerships and sailing career.
    I also found your personal history very interesting.
    Thanks for your blog very interesting indeed. Cheers Philip.


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