20,000 miles and legal bollix
I am a middle aged, middle class man from middle England. I have been a sailor since I was 8 years old yet I have never been right around the island I have lived on all my life.
I decided to make a start before I got too old to tolerate a small boat. I am not a rich man, so I can’t afford to do the trip all in one go – I am doing it in stages between my real job as a cameraman and video journalist.
The boat had to be cheap and tough – so I bought a 19 foot Mirror Offshore. She is nearly 50 years old and was designed by Van De Stadt for a competition being run by the Daily Mirror newspaper where the brief was to create a “yacht for the working man”. I have always been a working man – and as a jobbing hack then I consider myself to be a working man too.
This was at a time when Harold Wilson was promising energy would be too cheap to measure and that the main problem facing Britain’s labour force would be an excess of leisure time – what happened?
The Mirror Offshore has a separate heads, an inboard Volvo diesel with a flywheel that would do justice to a tractor, a triple keel so she sits upright on the mud and a 17 foot mast which is short enough for me to raise and lower myself. She was built of fibreglass at a time before they had managed to cut so many corners that they invented osmosis. She draws just over a welly – so I can usually get by without using the $40 ebay inflatable that I keep in the stern locker.
I used to race Eboats and Sonatas so I know how well a small yacht should sail. The Mirror sails like a pig.
After 5 years the Beast (Volvo MD1) went bonkers so I sold the Mirror and Bought a Hunter Minstrel
with an outboard in a well, . I sailed her up to Scotland and realised that I would need a bigger boat for Shetland so I acquired a Westerly Centaur on a partial loan.
She got us safely around Shetland and Orkney and is now for sale in Gralsgow.
So click on some one of the seasons to see some of the wonderful rivers, estuaries, boats and birds I have encountered along the way. If you have the bandwidth or the patience for a big download click on a HD video and join me on my journey around our 20,000 mile coastline – it will be a long relationship. We can grow grey together.
All the films are available for free viewing at good quality – as good as your bandwidth and computer will allow. Please feel free to watch the films at high definition – the bandwidth costs me nothing.
If you have a decent monitor or TV then you really should try downloading the films.
I have watched the films from a memory stick shoved into my neighbours HD TV and they look really good.
now for the dull stuff – the law says this has to be here
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