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From Ushant to The Scillies - with apologies to John Masefield


I shared a week with Joe and Jane, and skipper Bob as well

The skipper's wife Denise (not Mabel)

Kept all the the crew provided

Whenever she was able


Now Joe and Jane from Lancashire puffed all day

And much of the night on ciggy's that must of cost a packet

But Joe still found plenty of time, between the puffs

To tell all his plans to sail the world aboard his yacht The Racket!


The crew assembled on the pontoon in Brest

Awaiting orders from the skipper

The first day's sail took them to Camaret

A pleasant port, and an evening with a Guinness and kipper


The next day's plans were to call in at Ushant

The skipper said I've never been before it'd be good to go somewhere new

The weather allowed a tricky entry the crew relaxed and took in the view

And a glass of wine or two, plus two, plus two, plus two


On return to the yacht the swell had increased from the Atlantic fetch

I suggested we'd better leave soon,

The skipper agreed we battened the hatches and left at dusk to sail to the Scillies

With heads that were swimming with a happy tune


The next twenty hours would see the crew experience many things

The thrashing breakers on the west of Ushant

The miles of tankers tied together in red and green strings

The setting Sun the rising Moon and the reflection of the stars


The rising wind the scudding clouds the dolphins diving under the stern

An experience on the edge

Of consciousness until pierced by the sound of the cardinal bell

To the east of Spanish Ledge


The Scillies did not disappoint, a day off on St Mary's replaced the sound of the drum

A pasty, ice cream and a Guinness or two

Followed by a shower kindly offered

At the flat of Joe's old Mum


The forecast not good was of wind of force seven and eights

Forced the hand of the skipper to cut short the stay

A visit to St Agnes, Bryher and Tresco had to wait as rounding the Lizard at night in a gale, would no doubt

Mean a glance at the heavens and pray


We set sail at two in the afternoon and said goodbye to the Isles of Scilly

Straight into thick fog we went – with a wind approaching a gale

Leaving Spanish Ledge on an easterly course

But at least it wasn’t too chilly


The next 10 hours at an angle of 45 or more

We struggled to make the tea

Everything not nailed down ended up on the floor

Impossible if you needed a ***


On clearing the lanes The Lizard light came into view

Which seemed to remain on the port beam for a day or two

The overfalls off Lizard Point for a time added to the motion

The swell and the breaking waves tested Barolo and her crew – but refused to give in to the Ocean


The Manacles Rock was the next one to miss

On the approach to the Helford River

With unerring accuracy yours truly helmed the last miles

In the dark and managed to hang on to his liver


We picked up a buoy about three in the morning

Retired to our bunks and slept like babes

We woke at eleven after a quiet night

And looked forward to a barbecue on the beach and a rave


It was great except that poor old Joe suffered first-degree burns

On his fingers from the red hot coals he’d buried in the sand – he tried not to say ‘**** it’

When he tried to dig a hole in the sand with his hand instead of a shovel

And spent the night with his hand in a bucket


The following day Barolo and her crew beat back into Falmouth for a well-earned rest

The skipper said we’d better not linger

We’d better get Joe to the hospital quick

For treatment on his finger


The final day saw no let up in the weather

The skipper asked the crew what they wanted to do

To a man it was practise man overboard in case next time it may be you

Not really – hopefully not never - ever.



Well there was at least one line that was almost profound but that was about it.  




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