Tattooed Fishermen & Gay Sailors

I started the morning off hunting for a fishing line. The local fishing shop was closed (I thought fishermen got up early) so I hung around the fisherman’s pontoon, looking like I was after a different type of cruise. A bloke walked past in wellies, arms loaded with tats – gotta be a fisherman, I thought – so I asked him if he could help. Sure enough he was about to head out to sea for a day’s work so I wandered down to his boat with him, chatting skate and whiting. The boat stank to high heaven of fish (well what did I expect? It was a fishing boat afterall) but he gave me a line and told me I wouldn’t be able to snap it. Perfect.

"There'll be bluebirds over....." Dover, UK
"There'll be bluebirds over....." Dover, UK

With only 6 knots of wind we started our leg with a bit of motoring but as soon as it got up to 8kn of a SW we had both sails up. It turned into a perfect day sailing through South Foreland, around Dungeoness power station and though Dover Straight. I fashioned a lure out of silver foil but no joy. Jon’s preventer was far more successful – the winds had come round to a 20kn NE so we were running down wind. By mid afternoon the full effect of the wind over tide had slowed our progress and as night drew in we decided to reef the main as a precaution.

barnacle-gosportJust as well we did, too, since the weather got a little nasty over night and by 0700 next morning we entered a very dreary and overcast Portsmouth. We headed for Gosport Haslow marina and as soon as we tied up we cracked open a beer as we’d been racing against a forecast of gales. In July?

With my short hair and Jon’s new breathable sailing boots we must have looked like a proper couple of sailors, if you know what I mean. Indeed entering a pub very obviously reserved for fishermen we were greeted with some rather hostile looks and mumbled comments. The London pub scene from the film Withnail and I springs to mind. Ponce!

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