‘Seagull outboards are always stopping,’ a frustrated yachtsmen once said to me as he cast his old long-shaft in the long grass. I rescued it and used it for many a season on my old engineless 26ft cutter, Almita.
He was right, I discovered. It stopped in the middle of Amsterdam while I was exploring the canals in the tender: I had to walk back to the boat which was berthed at Sixhaven Marina through the red light district with the dinghy on my back. It stopped in fog in the Dunkirk Road and a ferry passed within 20 feet: unseen but not unheard. It stopped while entering the harbour in Terschelling and we had to drudge the boat to the quay.
But conversely it always started…eventually.
Those happy days of Seagull ownership were brought vividly home to me this last weekend at the Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival when the man with the machine appeared straight from the old Seagull advert.
I discovered he was Richard Morris, a surveyor with the RNLI, who was adding a little colour to the packed-out festivities.
Well done Richard, as a fancy dresser you sent a nostalgic shiver down my spine.