Despite owning a boat I’d never been in a boat race until now. I hadn’t even joined a flotilla or taken part in any sailing event other than drinking the bar dry after fighting with the helm for a day or more. Well, fighting with the helm was what happened in the Classic Wooden Boat Race in Bodrum, Turkey. Sails ripped, waves got splashy and the wind got stronger and stronger. And one boat, the oldest Turkish wooden boat in the race, a boat who’s crew included me, didn’t even finish…
A patient and competent skipper Roger kept his head, and his boat, when all around him were losing hope on that windy day! Roger was accompanied by Brian, his tennis partner from the UK, who was holidaying with his wife.
We stayed on the boat and didn’t go anywhere today. The weather was miserable and by the time we had stocked up with provisions it wasn’t worth going anywhere anyway, so we remained tied to the mooring. I made myself comfortable in the forward cabin, though it was a little tight. Barnacle Bill was, after all, built as a racing boat so the designers, Sparkman and Stephens, had clearly prioritised speed over sleeping comfort. The saloon, however, was very accommodating and was begging us to get through a couple of bottles of red.
You can tell from the crew photos that this trip was a bit of a giggle. In fact it was a complete scream, but the emphasis, for me at least, was to learn much about navigation. This was due to Jon’s methodical and considered approach to passage planning and sailing, but when you own a boat like Barnacle Bill then you’re going to be a proper sailor, aren’t you? This boat is a real head-turner!
The skipper had pointed out that there was a window of good weather so the possibility of leaving this evening was a real one. The Germans in the wooden ketch next to us obviously thought so and left Bayona at lunch. It wasn’t until we checked the weather that evening that that window of opportunity had turned foul. As dark clouds drew in and the boat bobbed around the forecast was predicting winds of up to 100km! Just as well we didn’t go out when we were planning to as the sh!t really hit the fan. But what of those Germans?