Wednesday 25 June 2014

Confidence Crisis

Last Friday I was lucky enough to have a sail on a Rustler 42 - a most wonderful looking yacht built by Rustler Yachts here in Falmouth. (They have built Princess Anne’s last few boats.)

Climbing aboard this boat, on a perfect evening, was one thing. Seeing the magnificent detail everywhere - down below - on deck - up the mast, the rigging - was incredibly impressive. Every boat is tailor made according to the client’s exact requirements, and it shows in the detail.

We sailed out towards St Anthony Lighthouse, nipped into St Mawes, and then returned back to Mylor. I’ve never sailed a boat that size before and the sheer power of it was mind blowing. She sails like a dream, but I’d been told she was worth half a million, so at first I was a little anxious as I was at the helm. Also the wheel was as big as me - and I’m used to a tiller, which is a different sort of steering. I was very aware of my inexperience, and not having sailed for 8 months hasn’t helped - my confidence was at rock bottom. But on the return trip I began to get into the swing of it and really enjoyed this wonderful experience. Mr B and I felt very privileged to be part of it.

But that night I couldn’t sleep. I felt a fraud, writing about sailing when I know so little. And like most of us, when that voice of doubt creeps in, my confidence plummeted.

We’d sat around chatting with Adrian and Nick (who own Rustler Yachts) that evening and they are great company, but I was aware of how much they all know, when I have so much to learn. I know I can’t compete with people who’ve sailed all their lives, but I get frustrated at how my health has had to take precedence this year.

I want to be out there, sailing and learning! I want to be good! Not just because it’s my job, but because I love it and I want to be good at it for myself and those I sail with. I want to be able to hold my own.

At least I am now fit enough to start sailing again, and I know the only way to improve my confidence is by doing it. And it’s such a joy to actually sail, that it’s no hardship. I just wish I could be better NOW!

But I am incredibly grateful to all those who are helping me along the way. You know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Balancing Acts

This is September, the beautiful 47' ketch that I was lucky enough to go out on, on Saturday. Many thanks to Josh and Sally for inviting me so I could take pictures of the Parade of Sail of classic boats.

As a journalist I always listen carefully to the people I’m talking to, note their body language and how they behave. See how nervous they are. How quickly they relax. It’s rare that I interview someone while their partner is there. Usually the interview is between me and the other person. I always make notes and record the interview as well, and it’s interesting transcribing the tape afterwards, because every often what you think they might have said wasn’t that at all - or the nuances are different.

Over the years I have developed my own style of writing which is now as natural to me as breathing. Editors seem to like it, and so do readers. Those who have been interviewed tend to like it too.

Every now and then there is an exception and as someone who cares about my work and the people I interview, it matters if other people aren’t happy. It keeps me awake at night, because I’m a professional - I want to do a good job.

Sometimes it means walking away from a job. I’ve only had to do that once before when my editor asked, “is this the sort of person you think we should be featuring?” My answer was no.

Life is about a balance and sometimes it’s not always possible to achieve that.

Unless you’re Moll, of course, who just knows that she’s right all the time. This is her at the helm.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Another sleepless night

Another picture from Pendennis Cup - sorry, I can't resist.

Ever had a disagreement with a friend and not known what to do?

Whenever I find myself in this situation, I ask myself what I’d advise someone else to do. And I talk to others about it, sometimes.

Thankfully upsets with friends happen very rarely - I’m pretty easy going but I have had several sleepless nights recently over this one. Thankfully we have worked it out. Lack of communication and lack of awareness didn't help but the slate is clear now and we will move forward again.

But enough of that - the forecast is good for the weekend and I sit here looking out on our view of the harbour, the sparkling sea, and itch to get sailing.

This weekend, my friend Josh, who has a beautiful 47’ ketch called September (, has invited me out with them to watch the Classics race on Saturday. I’m meeting Sally at 930, taking a packed lunch, and off we go to Custom House Quay to leave at 10am and watch the Parade of Sail.

MollieDog is going to Emma for the day, the most wonderful dog walker in the world, and she will have a lovely day up at the farm, so well both be happy.

Then on Sunday the lone sailor is going to take us out for a sail. At least, if there’s enough wind we will - the forecast is for zilch wind so we will have to see. That’s another picnic - and something for Moll too of course.

Better pack the suncream - or is that temping fate?

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Adventures afloat

Last week was one of great excitement - not only was I privileged enough to watch the Pendennis Cup from their spectator launch, but on Saturday Mr B and I, and others who race with Charlie Choak were invited on his boat to watch the Red Arrows.

The morning dawned grey with heavy clouds and no wind, and as the Red Arrows were cancelled at the last minute last year due to low cloud, we were all fearful the same thing would happen. Av rang that morning and said it was lovely weather in Dorset. Good, I muttered, through gritted teeth.

Then, late morning, the sun broke through and shone, with a light breeze, for the rest of the day. And it was magical. The only downside was that the wonderful yachts didn't have their sails up so I couldn’t take pictures of them under sail, but here are a few of the afternoon.

I also interviewed the boat designer Roger Dongray on Friday which was a fascinating morning. He’s the man who designed the Shrimper and Crabber, if that means anything to you readers. Most interviews take about 45 minutes but this one went on for nearly two hours! An amazing man and incredibly modest about his talents.

Now, it’s back to real life. Taking the lone sailor to hospital on Monday. I had dentist and doctor yesterday, and life will settle down again.

Nothing like a few adventures afloat to make life special, though.