The Art Of Coarse Sailing

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The Art Of Coarse Sailing

I started to write this in a reply to Tom Altee, who hails from Florida. Then I realised it deserved a topic of its own in the forum's "bar".


If you want a true understanding of Brit yachtsmen and the Broads I implore you to get hold of a copy of the book "The Art Of Coarse Sailing" by Michael Green. It relates the fictional - but oh so true to life - tale of a week's holiday on a hire boat.

It was first published in 1962 and it perfectly captures the Norfolk Broads boating holiday of the period. I know! My first sailing holiday on the Norfolk Broads, was taken in 1966. I, the oldest aboard, turned eighteen year old a week after the holiday. The rest of the crew were by brother and two mates from school.

Almost everything related in that book happened to us on that holiday - except the bit at the start of Chapter Seven...  "Next morning I blew the boat up." It's possible the humour will escape you but it does contain such lines as...

If the sun rises in the west, ring the coastguard at once.

It is never possible to make sure of fine weather in sailing, but to ensure rain and squalls, hang some washing out to dry on the backstay.

The human hand is a poor substitute for a fender.

Never put up an umbrella on a yacht; it suggests you may be a novice.

When grass and leaves appear on the bows, it is time to come about.

A tide is the best engine.

If during a storm a large bird perches on top of the mast whatever you do don't shoot it.

The finest way of surviving bad weather is to put three reefs in the mainsail; set the storm jib; prepare a sea anchor with an old canvas bag and a hundred foot warp; make sure everything is securely stowed and the boat is well battened down; then go ashore and sit in a bar until the weather gets better.

The only safe place for a spare outboard motor sparking-plug is the cutlery tray or inside the skipper's pyjamas. If placed with the engine tools it will disappear. This applies to all vital spares.

Never take advice from anyone you meet in a bar.

They will sneer at you for bringing your own tin-opener, until they lose the only one on the boat.
Greg Chapman
GregAfloat - My Boating Biography