Also on the way to the Azores

I can fully understand Frank Mulville’s wish to see his boat ‘from the outside’ in mid-ocean (see previous blog). It’s happened to me as well. I too was on the way to the Azores but sailing twohanded in the 1979 Azores and Back race in my 28ft Trapper ‘Footloose’.

My crew, Rod, was off watch below decks and asleep and there was a flat calm. Or so I thought. We had the main set but had rolled the genoa and even though there was no discernable wind the wonderful Navik wind vane self steering was still steering.

I have an irrational fear of swimming in very deep water – it’s a sort of vertigo at the thought of two miles of water below you. So, when the urge to see Footloose from the outside came on me I pumped up and launched the inflatable, attached it by a long painter and, armed with a camera, stepped on board.

I soon realised that the painter was not long enough for me to get far enough away to take a picture. So I cast it off, rowed away, took the picture and started rowing back. Trouble was a small breeze had picked up and Footloose was moving faster than me.

Have you ever seen an Avon planing under oars? Well I made it back, only to see Rod emerging into the cockpit. ‘Oh there you are,’ he said. ‘I wondered where you had gone. You never did show me how to disconnect the Navik.’