Sailing stories

Like any sailor worth their salt, our crew members can tell a good yarn! Here are some sailing stories kindly shared by crew and skippers past and present. A big thank you to our contributors, with whom copyright remains.

East End Endeavour ~ John Happs

I discovered sailing late in life – after I had retired. I wish I had known much earlier that yacht sailing isn’t just a hobby for the rich and that you didn’t have to have your own boat and loads of RYA certificates.

The first time was a trip from Ardrossan to Brodick on a dreich, miserable day.  As we left the harbour, Sam turned off the engine and I was hooked!  The feel of the boat picking up speed as the wind filled the sails and the hiss of the water sliding past the hull were enough for me!  It didn’t matter that I spent the next couple of hours at the helm with the rain battering my face and a puddle developing inside my sailing jacket (which I hadn’t done up properly).  I thought if you could love sailing under these conditions what would it be like to sail up the Scottish coast on a clear day with a nice breeze?

Since then, I have clocked up over 50 days (and nights) on EEE.  I have seen some fantastic scenery – the Scottish coast and islands can only be fully appreciated from the sea.  I have sailed with a great variety of really likeable, interesting people. I have done things I would never have dreamt of attempting and I have seen some amazing sights. A night sail across to Barra with the sparkling stars of the Milky Way and the eerie green phosphorescence in the water is unforgettable.  The fun of negotiating the Crinan Canal or sailing into Lochboisdale as the sun sets or anchor watch at 4.00 am near Port Appin or karaoke on a Saturday night in a Millport pub!

Sailing is a great mental as well as physical challenge – there is so much to learn. From knot tying, mooring ropes, navigation, meteorology, steering, hoisting, sails, cooking – even using the toilet in a Force 8! But on EEE you are part of a crew all of whose members have their own strengths and skills, under the command of a skipper with a huge wealth of knowledge and experience and (almost) limitless patience!

Writing about it has reminded me how much I am looking forward to the next time!

~ John is a retired secondary head teacher and has been sailing on EEE since 2012.

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Carlingford Oyster Festival ~ Graeme Smith

1987 saw East End Endeavour attend the Carlingford Oyster Festival in an informal meet up with the then Ocean Youth Club vessels: Master Builder (NI), Taikoo (Scotland) and Greater Manchester Challenge (Liverpool). 

At short notice the Dundalk Sailing Club put on a non-handicap class for the training vessels and started us at the back of the published sailing classes. As a result the smaller yachts were quickly over run by four large powerful vessels tacking up through the fleet in the loch. It was tough for the smaller boats to call “starboard” on the bigger vessels, who were often restricted in their ability to manoeuvre or were constrained by their draft in deeper water! None of the yachts seemed to mind though, and said our presence made the event.

Technically none of the training vessels were “racing” as our insurance didn’t cover this, but believe me we were doing a lot of quick tacking to get to the evening entertainment at the yacht club and the promised oysters and Guinness! The bigger OYC vessels had us on waterline length and when they got going were much faster.

However, EEE was nimbler in the tacking in the narrow confines of the Lough and the Glasgow crew were determined not to be beat. In fact I don’t think I ever saw a crew more determined in their teamwork and effort and they gave it their all for four hours in the loch that afternoon – twice around the course.

We scraped home ahead of Taikoo and the others, and at that evening’s entertainment were awarded this piece of crystal – Winner of the Sail Training Class.

~ Graeme skippered EEE from 1982 until 1987.

 

Have you sailed on East End Endeavour?

If you have any stories about EEE you’d like to share, please email jenny@rivalsailing.co.uk

EEE crew cartoon, July 1986
Caernarfon Castle, NW Wales, Aug 1986
Carlingford Oyster Festival award, 1987
EEE "hot news" article, Nov 1987
Day Sail Training certificate, pre-1996
Rival 41 elevations by Peter Brett
Rival 41 lines by Peter Brett
Graeme, EEE skipper 1982-87
EEE from up the mast c.1985
Alastair, EEE mate 1984-87