Friday, 31 December 2021

Holiday reading

I had heard of this book but never seen it before: D managed to get me a copy for Christmas. It tells the story of another Crossfields boat -about 3 ft longer than Bonita- the 'Pacific Moon'. The cover picture shows an evocative scene of a Morecambe Bay prawner yacht in a tropical paradise. The book tells the story of a trip made in 1931/2. The boat itself was obviously strongly built and stood up well to the various adventures, although like many pre-war long distance sailors they had lots of trouble with the petrol engine, rotting ropes and sail repairs. The most dramatic moment comes when the crew falls overboard in mid ocean while the skipper is asleep. Fortunately he catches hold of the trailing log line, hauls himself back to the boat and calls out to the skipper to heave him back aboard. There are advantages in having a boat with low freeboard at times like this. Inevitably one is left wondering what happened to both author and boat after the adventure was over. It seems that Sidney Howard returned to a more peaceful life in England as a journalist and remarried. Pacific Moon was sold cheaply in Tahiti to an Argentinian yachtsman, and I have not been able to find any further record of her. So what of Bonita as we look forward to the New Year? She is still in her mud berth awaiting a new propellor. I have been strengthening the cockpit sides where the pull of the sheets had opened up cracks in the woodwork. I tried to cure this a few years ago using bits of copper sheet, but the problem hasnt gone away. This time I am using bronze plates with stainless steel inserts. As my father used to say, when you find yourself doing the same repair for the second or third time, its time to do the job properly.

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