Classic Keelboat Sailing in the Midlands
This Easter, I went on a little road-trip with two others on my course starting from the coastal city of Bournemouth to a small village near Burton-upon-Trent in the Midlands region of England. While I was in the Midlands, I got to sail on my housemate's Flying 15. Since most of my boat experience has been on large wooden tall ships, I would usually not go out in a small keel boat however this one was unique example. It was one of the original of it's class from the late 1940's complete with a mahogany hull and canvas deck. Believe it or not, this boat is fully capable of planing. Wooden boats that can get up on a plane? Amazing and borderline terrifying.
Due to the boat's age, it is kept in a barn for the winter so the day I was aboard would be the first time it had seen water in months. After we spent time stepping the nicely varnished wooden mast, we put the boat in the water. Being a wooden boat, it naturally started to take on a bit of water as the planks swelled up. After leaving the boat in the water while we ate lunch, it was time for a bit of sailing. While we were sailing, I was on the jib sheet. My more important job however was acting as the boat's bilge pump. Every downwind leg we had, I spent my time picking up floorboards and bailing out the water underneath. Ah, the joys of classic boat sailing.