2382Hrs – Meeting A Hero
I had a successful visit to the London Boat Show yesterday. It was my first time there as apart from having a strong dislike of London I was fearful that there would be nothing of real interest to me given that I’m at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the shows main target audience. On arrival I feared the worst, huge great gin palace motor yachts, displays of Aston Martins and Range Rovers, Champagne & Wine Cellars, luxury brand this exclusive brand that…. I only have one word for it….obscene.
I walked through these displays as fast as I could and discovered another area filled with chandlery and equipment, much better. I decided to do a preliminary sweep noting the stands that I wanted to visit properly and as I was exploring the far corner of the hall I was suddenly stopped in my tracks by a sight that immediately bought a smile to my face… it was ‘Mingming’ Roger Taylors junk-rigged 21ft Corribee, sitting there with sail up and just as she was when she was taken out of the water after his 3000 mile voyage into the Arctic Circle in 2011. The sight of her bought back happy memories of ‘Morgwas’ as the Corribee is a very close cousin of the Silhouette.
Imagine my further delight when I realised that the man himself was also there, selling and signing copies of his books.
I guess I shouldn’t assume that you’ve heard of Roger or ‘Mingming’ so here’s a quick bio.
As a young seaman Roger was shipwrecked on a remote New Zealand shore aboard the square-rigger ‘Endeavour II’. He then built a 19ft boat called ‘Roc’ and twice crossed the Tasman Sea in her. He’s sailed ‘Mingming’ some 20,000 miles and his voyages included a foray into the Davis Strait west of Greenland, a circumnavigation of Iceland, and a voyage to the isolated Arctic island of Jan Mayen. In 2006, he retired in mid-Atlantic from the Plymouth to Newport Jester challenge and in 2008 completed the Azores Jester challenge in 21 days. All of this single-handed in an engineless 21ft boat…. amazing.
Rogers voyages are all the more amazing given his philosophy of keeping things simple. It’s a philosophy shared with James Wharram, build it simply, build it strong, make it easy to repair.
Anyway after spending a good amount of time looking over ‘Mingming’ I was privileged enough to be able to shake Roger by the hand and to chat with him for 10minutes or so, he was genuinely interested in ‘Gleda’ and I was pleased to hear that whilst ‘Mingming’ is now retired he is working on ‘Mingming II’ an Achilles 24 that he plans to return to the Arctic Circle in during 2014. I was chuffed to bits to have been able to meet with one of my sailing heroes and although I already have all three of his books I am now the proud owner of a signed copy of his second book ‘Mingming & the Art of Minimal Ocean Cruising’ which will make a fine addition to the library on ‘Gleda’. I highly recommend all three of his books and it’s best to read them in order. The first was ‘Voyages of a Simple Sailor’ the second I mention above and the most recent ‘Mingming & The Tonic of Wilderness’.
To be honest even if I’d achieved nothing else at the show I’d have left happy after that but I was on a mission and I’m pleased to say that it was successful. I gathered a lot of information about the electrical system and was very impressed with the latest Rutland Windcharger and I’m almost certain now that ‘Gleda’ will have one of these along with solar panels for charging. It was good to be able to see the latest LED lighting as well, now no doubts about using those.
I also found a supplier for some nice foam-backed lining materials for the cabin and I’ll shortly be ordering custom made mattresses and bedding for the main double and guest single berths. I know there will be some who question spending money on such things but ‘Gleda’ will be my permanent home and confort and a good nights sleep are essential for health and wellbeing… enough said.
Apart from being able to see everything under one roof the other benefit of a show like this is meeting folks face to face, getting names and talking. I did a lot of that and now have contacts with several suppliers who have agreed to give me some discounted prices on orders I place over the next few months so all in all it was a very successful trip.
Today I was back to earth with a bang. It was -3 when I drove to the barn and it was -2 when I drove back, the forecast is for even lower temperatures tomorrow and then, if they are to be believed we’ve got blizzards on Friday and Saturday.
It was hard working today but I spent some time cleaning up the mast beam and putting a routed radius on the top plank, I then got the first plank glued to the longest beam, removed the perspex ports I’d put in with the wrong sealer and cleaned them up (I’ve now ordered the right marine grade silicon for the job). I finished up by making the templates for the custom mattresses ready to send off.