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Honeymoon surprise – Stan Stable admits his sailing sin

I married in 1965 – two years after the now ubiquitous Daily Mirror dinghy was launched at the London Boat Show.

I watched the salesman stitching the demonstration model together with copper wire: ‘It’s a piece of cake, son – you will have it finished and in the water in a couple of weeks.’

So, £63 changed hands and I became the proud owner of a big box of plywood, glue, tape and copper wire.

‘Where are you going to build it?’ asked my ever practical fiancé.

A good point as we lived in a small London flat so my answer was a feeble: ‘In the bedroom my love – like the man said, it will only take a couple of weeks.’

It took precisely two years to build, during which time the flat was filled with sawdust and glue fumes.

She hated that dinghy and everything about it.

Continues below…

I finished the build the day before our wedding and dearly wanted to sail her – after all, we were going to the Isles of Scilly for our honeymoon.

To ask for her blessing was a non-starter… but I had a plan!

The wedding reception took place in a hotel where I had left my trusty Morris Minor for our getaway after the celebrations.

In those days, friends of the groom used to tie tin-cans and old boots onto the back of the ‘going away’ car as good luck charms.

My plan was for them to replace these with a Daily Mirror dinghy tied to the roof rack.

I bribed them with beer, suggesting that it would be a real hoot for the guests when they came out to see us off.

Well it may have been a hoot for the guests but my new wife was not happy. ‘It’s not my fault,’ I lied. ‘It’s those stupid mates of mine – it’s their idea of a joke.’

So we drove down to Penzance where the dinghy was loaded aboard the Scillonian and eventually deposited on the beach outside the Atlantic Hotel where we were staying.

I had a lovely time sailing her but, to this day, she still blames my mates for nearly spoiling the honeymoon.

You hardly need to ask which lasted longest, my love of sailing or the marriage?

Submit your sailing confession for a chance to win a floating handheld VHF
Open to UK residents only
The Standard Horizon HX210E waterproof VHF radio is worth £134.95.
It boasts a water activated strobe, 6W transmissions, largest-in-class screen an FM radio and more.

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