The Galley Bitch Gets The Chop


Am growing increasingly concerned that I’ve become the ship’s bitch, though I’m happy to report that my duties do not extend beyond the expected day-to-day chores one normally associates with being ‘Mum’, which is my new nickname.


The crew break for a family photo

This has come about due to my extensive activities over the hob (try cooking a saucepan of pasta whilst the boat rocks from side to side), my concern for Lorraine’s sunburn and the fact that it is now expected that I make toast every morning. This pissed me off a little to start with, though quitting smoking is probably the cause for any apparent moodiness. Besides, each of us have our roles and duties to fulfil.

Whilst I make out I do all the cooking it’s actually Lorraine who’s knocked up some blinding recipes, making the most of the mackerel we seem to be catching now on a daily basis. Conny has become chief washer-upper and cooker cleaner, though I think he needs a gentle reminder that the heads (toilet) could do with a serious bleaching session (you try pissing in a toilet whilst the boat rocks from side to side). Sam’s role, of course, is skipper. This makes him exempt from cooking and other duties, though unlike my last skipper he’s quite happy to get the rounds in.

The crew break for a family photo

Lorraine's Tommy Cooper impression

I made a very interesting observation whilst in L’Aber Wrach regarding Sam. On board he is Skipper, not Sam. One does what Skipper says and Skipper’s rules are there to be obeyed. Woe betide you if you ignore or break Skipper’s rules. This can make him an intimidating person to deal with but a great teacher to learn from. On land, however, he is Sam. Sam the interesting, funny intellectual who is as happy to listen as he is to talk. This transformation shocked me to start with but it only emphasises the reasons why I opted to come on this trip with Sam as my chosen Skipper.

Back to the sailing. Leaving L’Aber Wrach we’re totally surrounded by fog. Not just patches of fog, as the shipping forecast had warned us, but fog banks. This reduces visibility down to around 50 metres, making our first leg of the journey very taxing. As I said previously L’Aber Wrach is notorious for its rocky banks and hard-to-negotiate channels, so with limited visibility we really were relying on the Skipper’s expertise. As was another yacht who decided to tag along behind us for safe passage! With Lorraine at the helm, Skipper watching the radar, Conny on horn duty and me at the bow we motor-sailed out. Skipper was in charge of shouting out any on-coming vessels, rocks or cardinals (navigation buoys), Conny was to blow on the horn as a warning, and I was to look out to see when these objects emerged from the mist. Lorraine had to swerve-and-avoid. Or hit-and-run. Whichever was to come first.

Ramprasad III?

Ramprasad III?

The fog persisted for some hours and it wasn’t until early afternoon that the sun broke through allowing each of us to burn the tops of our feet and backs of our knees. We anchor up in Camaret and take to the harbour for a picturesque stroll. Lots of very old fishing boats moored up in the dry docks, waiting for someone to invest a little money into their restoration. Quite a few wrecks left on the shore, adding to the ambiance of this fair port.

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