Tag Archives: royal huisman

The grabbing hands grab all they can

Heads up to my old mucker Connor.  He dropped me a line today asking if I was ok as I hadn’t posted for a while.  When I checked, it has been almost 2 months.  A tad too long me thinks.

Lets put that right.

Where was I last time ?  Well, in the last couple of months I sold my house in Portugal, I am sure I wrote about that before.  I have also officially returned to the UK.  Not only returning, but adding immensley to HMRC pleasure, I have also started two new businesses.  If we are chums on facebook, you would most likely have received an invite to like my new venture.

The business went live as of 1st September and I am currently sitting in Gatwick Airport waiting for a flight out to Buenos Aires and then onto Uruguay so that I can join my first customer, a sailing yacht called Pumula.

You can read about her here  Pumula

A small craft by my standards but also high tech and complex, hence the captains request for an engineer of my stature to do the trip from Montevideo around the tip of South America and up to Valparaiso in Chile.  If the incoming new engineer impresses the captain with his skills during that trip, I will get off and head home.  If not, the skipper will ask me to stay on for the delivery between Chile and Tahiti. Two very big trips for a novice engineer to undertake, hence my attendance to help him along.

I see the Canadian premier is in a little trouble this week – for black facing 18 years ago.  Interesting.  People say black facing is racist.  I struggle with that a little bit.  The old definition of racist according to the OED was ‘a belief that a race is inferior to another’ and I just don’t see how black face fits into that category.

For a couple of reasons.

If you were a racist and hated black people – why would you black up ? Surely dressing as any character, regardless of colour is an aknowledgement of their achievments ?

In the instance of Trudeau, if you are dressing up as a person of colour ( I use that term not for political correctness but purely because it covers a broad range of races), for that dress up to be effective, you would need to be of the same colour skin surely?  Let me give you an example.

I want to go to a fancy dress party as the great, Mohamed Ali – floats like a butterfly stings like a bee, his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.  If I want to go as Ali and  I go white skinned, how will people differentiate between say Ali and Henry Cooper?

Its an interesting question.

You might even argue that if only naturally black skinned people could go to fancy dress as Ali – where’s the equality in that?

I coupled that statement with another thought.  If you were a black person going as Henry Cooper, would you white face to prevent the reverse confusion?

I managed to watch a BBC interview linked below.  I watched this with interest, as, people of colour (again for the wide coverage rather than PC) all suggested they had no problem with this.  Some stating it was a long time ago, others stating that he should be judged on what he is achieving today.

I was interested in those views because we are being told that blacking up is offensive to black people.  I didn’t see any black people complaining.  What I did see was one white woman complaining how wrong it was.  It does give power to my thoughts that all of the noise is not a serious defence of right and wrong, but nothing more than a political points scoring exercise.

The danger with that?  The normal people of the world get tired of hearing it. So when there is a real case of racism to be answered, our ears are numb to the call – numb and deaf.

Dont take my word for it though – see this interview for yourself here.

BBC Interview


Now, all of that aside


I walked into the duty free section at Gatwick Airport tonight.  Duty Free areas a shit now aren’t they.  They force you to weave your way through all that shit that you never want to buy.  Sneaky really – trying to lure you in with bright lights, pretty girls and the false promise of cheaper goods than you can get on the high street.

It is my least favourite part of the airport if I am honest – I would rather lick random toilet seats than pass through there.  Tonight though – it was, very briefly, a very pleasant experience all owed to an old song I heard while walking through – I almost stopped to listen.  A very brave and smart person put this on the playlist for a duty free shop selling perfume – but I don’t care, I appreciated it.  Bravo

D’arcy rocks.  This one’s for you Connor – speakers at 10 please !!


Fuck – music was good back in the day!

And the winner was……….?

Me I hope – generally, after all isn’t that what it is all about?

It was a tough few days I can tell you.  Some times during my more thoughtful moments, a sickly feeling appeared in the pit of my stomach. Yes, I know, something of a cliché but it was true.  Right up to my midday deadline and even 3 hours past it, I still didn’t know which way to turn.

I wrote two acceptance emails in the hope it would push me in a certain direction but it didn’t.  Careful not to send one of them by accident, I saved them as drafts – after all, I would be needing at least one of them right ?

My self imposed midday deadline approached and a song came over my speakers that would give me the all needed surge into one direction.  A stunningly beautiful song, performed by a rather class act.  The lyrics also seemed to fit so well.

The song reminded me of those rare moments you get at sea.  You landies just wont understand but I will try to explain.

Most of the time I am sailing in shit weather.  Its wet, cold, dark, big waves trying to wash me off the boat every ten seconds or so. The boat is rolling from side to side at such angles that washing machines no longer work, taking a shower becomes impossible, taking a dump without covering yourself in it becomes the second biggest challenge of the day – second only to trying to stay alive.  If you’re trying to sleep and the boat is cresting sizeable waves, you lift off your mattress, just like when you drive over a hump back bridge a little faster than you should.  Conditions are so rough you either sleep in your clothes or spend 20 minutes trying to dress yourself in the most basic of gear.

And you get that for two weeks at a time if you are unlucky.  Two weeks of relentless pounding, walking the boat holding on to anything you can find, like a drunk trying to get along the bar to his taxi at the end of the night.  It can be a constant fight for survival.

Until you have those moments of clarity.  Sure, they don’t come very often.  Alone on the deck, helming at sunset and a random song comes on.  Purely by coincidence, it is the perfect sunset tune.  It happens maybe once a year.  It’s that moment of clarity that makes it all worth while.  Perfect timing with the sunset and that random song make for four minutes of absolute bliss.  Now I don’t mean absolute bliss as those twats that claim to be ‘living the dream’ might proclaim – let’s be honest, they are the same twats that post photos of burgers on their Facebook feeds and claim the same.  This bliss is beyond a level they could comprehend. The battle is not yet won, just survived – there is another battle not far around the corner. Always know where your life jacket and rescue beacon are.

The song ends in perfect harmony with the sun disappearing over the horizon, your mind clears and you focus on night time duties.  Keep everyone safe, and arrive at the next port of call.

I can’t imagine those moments being anywhere near as spectacular from the inside of a bridge on a Motor Yacht as they are standing behind a wooden helm on an open cockpit.

I have Birdy to thank for that – stop reading and have a listen to this…..

Suddenly all of the pain, struggle and strife of the last few thousand miles disappear and it is worth all of the grief. The ocean calms and your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness.  The hard earned spoils of offshore sailing drift away waiting to be discovered again like a long ago launched message in a bottle.


It was also that same fight for life, that clamber and struggle to dress, the 6 hours a day in the weather of an open cockpit, surprise squalls with excessive wind speeds that threaten to tear the rig in two, a boat constantly leaning at 15º for days at a time that made me think a little harder.

For all the romance, beauty and style of a sailing yacht – it doesn’t offer stability in turbulent waters.  Imagine being able to shower at any time, to have a poo with out clinging onto your towel rail.  Getting dressed with the light on in less than 20 minutes  because you dont have to worry that you will wake your cabin mate up who has just had an equally harrowing watch on the helm.

Yes, Motor Yachts are typically vulgar floating masses but that mass offers options.  Options like your own cabin, your own shower or better still, your very own toilet – no more cleaning up other people’s mess.  There is also the benefit of a full size engine room, stand up head room everywhere, two huge V16 diesel engines with 7000 horse power between them and two big 175 kW generators to keep me company.

Add into the facts that it is a little better paid, has 90 days paid leave instead of 60 and paid in $ – it had to be the better option right?  It seems writing two acceptance emails actually did pay off.  Seeing everything written down for clarification made the two roles stand out.  No more getting dressed in the dark, no more head hitting in an engine room to small for an elf (a bit of irony there).

Even with that clarity, as I hit send on the acceptance mail draft, I still had that ‘oh fuck’ moment where I doubted myself.  One thing I am certain of – if I took the sailing yacht job, the first time the weather got rough, or I stubbed my toe on something or twatted my head in the engine room – I know I would have been cursing my choice.

After the end of my last relationship – it’s time to move on to something different, after all, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.


It’s Quiet Company





British Gold Medals at the Olympics

What’s the difference between a blog and a web site ?

Here to help me explain, is a sample of a website by Connor


As you will see – Connor’s website is a story about his car.  The story is written and thus the website will not change, whilst my blog is always changing, or to be absolutely correct, ‘evolving’.  So there you have it, the diffrence between a blog and a website explained in a jiffy.

Now for something more interesting.

I am bloody knackered.  Struggled to complete a 2.75 mile run tonight, legs as heavy as Nigela’s left breast – and that is heavy.  Back to Nantucket tomorrow, while I am there I will be missing my second wedding of the year over in Mallorca and I really wanted to go to that one too.

The boat is being very badly behaved – it seems like every day there are two things breaking and I only manage to get one fixed.  I turned down a 2 month job in Alaska yesterday too – I am beginning to wish I hadn’t been quite so hasty – a job on a 6 year old Royal Huisman…….I wonder if it is too late to get in touch with the guy again?

All in all – I need a motivational boost.  My two month probationary period is up on the 12th and I have to decide if I want to stay – I guess what happens in the next week will make my decision for me – if the boat continues to fail, I will be off – if it behaves well, I should stay.

Now, I hear you cry, jumping a sinking ship and all that – I have little quarms about doing so – that probationary period is as much for me to check out the boat as it is for the boat to check out me – and ultimately, this boat is not the shining pin that the previous engineer suggested it was.  On those grounds, I shouldn’t feel bad about walking away.  Let`s face it, if I had told them I was a wizzard at navigation and turned out not to be, they would have little hesitation to drop me  like a hot brick of shit – so fair is fair.

On the up side – it is quite a good programme.  Lots of space on board for my surf board, mountain bike and running shoes, I might struggle to find another vessel with that amount of space, although, what I initially thought was a good salary offer has already been matched twice this week by two other vessels so maybe I should give this one some serious considerations.

So, something to think about.

I see good old Blighty is doing rather well in the medals tables – good old Team GB! I can think of little more satisfying than winning an Olympic Gold Medal for your country – the down side, I can’t watch any of it over here on the boat!

Now, an early night beckons, and it’s not even 9pm


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