The unstoppable Pete Goss is taking on yet another project, but this one will see him ashore with only the occasional trip to his yacht to let off steam
Tracey and I have just commenced construction of our very own Grand Designs in so much as we are self building a long dreamed of off-grid house in our little corner of Cornwall. It’s cool to be using technology that we used to test and develop during the early days of short-handed racing.
Our sense is that the build will take two years and so trips on Oddity won’t be measured in months until after the topping out party. Until then Oddity will be more a refuge from long hours, frustrations and hard graft. A tranquil escape to recharge and ease aching muscles.
It’s funny how a change in emphasis can influence other areas of life. After a couple of days laying blocks and in need of a break I sat down to call up Windy.com on my laptop. The kids had recently convinced me that I should up my security by opting for a randomly selected password triggered by my fingerprint. A great system until you need a forecast and your fingerprint has been worn off by breeze blocks. Not knowing the new password it took four days of trying before my fingers had recovered enough to let me in!
Fortunately, the forecast was perfect with fresh easterlies and perpetual sunshine gifting cool evenings and hot days. With only a couple of days to spare we decided to head for the Yealm to give Oddity some post-launch polishing and relax in the sun. The Yealm is one of our favourite estuaries and it lies close to my heart for it was home for me as a nipper where we lived on a 36ft Hillyard.
It has the most amazing cliff walk and you can’t beat the Ship Inn, where we met up with Simon and Kate for a pub lunch. Simon is about to start the AZAB and so we chatted about his preparations and tactics for the upcoming race. It’s an event that I have always wanted to do – perhaps when the house is built? Something small and nippy?
Unfortunately, I have picked up a bug and don’t have much steam off the boiler and so we have a very easy few days pottering. A pleasant few hours are spent adapting the hooks on our dinghy arch to accommodate the new inflatable. My brother and his wife join us for an evening and the dinghy proves her worth as she carries us all in one go. As sad as it was to say goodbye to the original clinker dinghy I think we’ve made the right decision.
One of the highlights of an estuary is the birdlife and I’m delighted with our new pair of waterproof Bushnell 7×50 binoculars. I was put onto them by a friend who used to be a top Royal Naval navigator and went on to teach the New Zealand Navy. They are the New Zealand Navy’s binoculars of choice and they are fantastic.
Our two days are up and we leave Oddity feeling completely refreshed and grateful that she excels in her new role of nurturer. We didn’t even put the sails up but that was not what the trip was about. If present circumstances limit our sailing it certainly doesn’t limit the imagination; I have started to gently research our future forays when the house is completed.
Southern Ireland is on the cards and as I look at Europe it strikes me that the answer may well be to do four to five month trips with the odd visit home. If we break Europe up into zones we should be able to explore a zone before delivering Oddity to the next zone and laying her up for the following year. Ireland, Scotland, Norway, the Baltic and so on.
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