Monday, 7 September 2009


Leaving Lynn back to the island yesterday, it was raining hard and the wind was getting up as we crossed the sound. We noticed one or two yachts at their moorings with tenders astern, meaning someone was aboard - nothing unusual about that, and anyone wishing to go ashore from south of the pontoons could go quite safely with the wind. However, by the time we had pottered about at the cabin for twenty minutes, it was blowing better than half a gale from the southwest, and on the return trip, I spotted one boat, the very lovely old Rudha Nan Gall, on her mooring to the north of the pontoons with only a tiny skiff tied to her stern, and it seemed to me that only a very strong rower would attempt to go ashore, and certainly not with passengers.

I thought about letting it go, as I always have this feeling that it's not nice to be disturbed when you're minding your own business on your own boat; but as I got closer I could see that the punt was pitching and jumping in a most uninviting way, so I decided to approach from downwind and see if I could help.

I saw a face in the stern cockpit, waved, and shouted a greeting - and it turned out that there were actually five aboard and that for three of them (and two dogs), a lift to the pontoons would be very welcome. Rudha Nan Gall has a white painted wooden hull, so I was very conscious of the need to come alongside carefully, especially as my own boat was behaving just like the skiff but perhaps in a more ponderous, grown-up way. Two pairs of hands reached down to hold me off while the three evacuees (whom it turned were acquaintances from way back), climbed over the rail and down into the With - one of them, Rosemary, who is well over eighty, making as good a fist of this quite scary maneouver as her younger companions. The two dogs followed, or rather were propelled, after them, and I let go and drifted astern, turning into the wind to head in a zigzag to the nearest pontoon and doing my very best to get my passengers there without getting them soaked.

Anyway it went well and we parted company at the pontoons - it was my good deed for the day. Then, before writing this blog I looked out the cruising club Year Book for the correct spelling of Rudha Na Gall, and just out of interest, to see who owned her: everything had happened very quickly and we all had to shout to make ourselves heard, so it hadn't been an occasion for pleasantries.

Rewind to last Wednesday, and to a comment posted on one of my YouTube videos from someone signing him (or her) self 'S.C.' The comment was about having ordered my book, and there was also a thank-you for a rescue years ago, I think probably in the 1980s, from a Lightning boat in the lough. I had no recollection of the rescue, and responded simply to say thanks for the comment and to see if the author would give me any more clues as to his (or her) identity. I only got around to this at the weekend, and haven't heard back yet.

Fast forward to the Year Book. The owner of Rudha Nan Gall is one 'S.Clarke', whom I would only have known in the passing. I believe in coincidence as being, often as not, meant, so it got me thinking.

I'll find out soon enough..
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