Sail Ho?


I read that a couple of people with more money than sense have put up rather a lot of money so that the yacht Gipsy Moth IV will stay in Britain, rather than possibly be sold overseas.
Now I know a little bit about the sea, and small ships, boats and yachts, so I probably find myself in a minority by plaintively asking,”Why the fuss?”
After all, that yacht, is just a collection of timber, steel, aluminium, concrete and fibres, sailing loosely in formation. It has no intrinsic value whatsoever, being as it is some forty-odd years old, and in sad need of a lot of cash being slathered all over its wooden ribs. The ‘donation’ of more than £250,000 will enable the old boat to go sailing once more, but again, and again, the question nags at me, “why spend all that cash on an old boat when you could buy a new one for very little more?”

The simple truth that it was the Man who sailed that voyage. It was Sir Francis Chichester who battled the seas, the winds and all the elements on his voyage. The yacht was just the collection of timbers and canvas which carried that single-minded man as he won out against all the odds. Having been in very large ships, I have also sailed in very small craft, of a similar size to Gipsy Moth, and it is the sea which is your opponent. If you look ‘up’ at a wave whilst on the bridge of a modern ship, just think of the power bearing down upon a puny yacht in the same seas!

England fought the French with old ships of the line, and won, but that was because of Nelson, the crippled sailing genius and his men of the Royal Navy; the government of the day was too tight-fisted to pay for new vessels. ‘Victory’ remains as the only reminder of that Navy, but only because there are sufficient sailors who have fought to keep her in dock.

Gipsy Moth should have been let go, to sail on until she disappeared of old age and fading fortunes.

 

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