Saturday, 1 August 2009

Sunny Greece, rainy London - messing about in boats

Two weeks sailing Lasers and Picos at Kalamata in Greece comes with a simple antidote: a return to London, where drizzle greets us at Gatwick. Drizzle and the usual feral queue at the Dartford Crossing: I understand the Romans had to queue for three miles when they came, too.

There really is something about messing about in boats, though. It is just as much fun pitch-poling a Laser in a Force 5 as there is mucking up the approach to Sawley Lock.

I am happy on any boat, big or small, and even reading the harrowing accounts of the 1979 Fastnet race in magazines - which is coming up to the 30th anniversary this month - aren't deterring me from tentative planning to take part in 2011.

The next big adventure - after a week on North Star - is a day on one of the beautiful Thames sailing barges. I really want to go through Tower Bridge on one of them under sail - never going to happen, but it gives me goosebumps.

Was it Boswell or Napoleon who said that Britain is a nation of shopkeepers? I think we are, much more, a nation of boaters and sailors.

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