OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

"They ran over to say 'hello'"

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 11:59

Fig.1 Dolphins 'running over to say hi'

My daughter laughed at how I described this but when you haven't got the words and can only think of one other context this is how I described a couple of dolphins coming over to the boat; it was just like a couple of friendly dogs at the park coming over to take a look and have a sniff around. In this case the dolphins stayed with us for nearly half an hour. At other times they were clearly on their way somewhere, swimming with a purpose in a pod or simply came to take a look then swam on.

Fig.2 Off the bow of 'Ximera' - Spanish Coast

A welcome first. As was covering 600 nautical miles in four days. Job done. I recall agreeing to sailing the Atlantic next year so have already started to look at revisiting and improving my skills at sea. Having not been on a boat for at least seven years I was for the first time ever in my life horrendously seasick for the first few hours of this trip. Worse than a hangover? I had a bucket at my side - that bad. I just wished a hand would could out of the sky and lift me back onto dry land.

Armed with a Kindle during the lengthy periods when not much was happening, and during my four hour watch at the helm overnight I read two text books: another on the First World War, this time the 100 days in 1918 that led to the end of war and as the contrast fascinates me, a detailed account of the First Gulf War. 22 years ago my ancient grandfather was watching the events unfold on TV and said to me 'That's Nothing Like Passchendaele'. What's interesting is to do this comparison.

One hundred years on it is worth comparing the causes of the First World War and to dread that events in Eastern Ukraine as indicators of the wrong response to the fragmentation of old empires: one hundred years ago the Ottoman Empire's demise resulted in fractures at its edge - the Balkans and Middle East. Germany, eager to bolster another weakening empire, its ally the Austro-Hungarian Empire, took steps to demonstrate or test its power and influence to destruction. To what degree is Putin testing the strength or weakness of the Russian Federation by the decisions taken first in Syria to support Assad and then in Ukraine to support the pro-Russian separatists?

Permalink Add your comment
Share post


New comment

Did your crewmates sleeping below know you were reading instead of keeping watch on watch Jonathan?  You need that night vision.

At night on a transatlantic sail (55ft sloop), we nearly hit a 90% submerged 40ft shipping container that had been washed overboard, apparently there are quite a lot out there and they all float.  Would have taken the keel off but luckily we were keeping a good watch.

Bon voyage,


Design Museum

New comment

I take your point - so the skipper would potentially have had questions. I read on a Kindle, the light very dimmed and the letter size large. The real 'damage' to the eyes was an iPad which had our course on it; that made no sense to use unless dimmed. I never had my eyes of the sea ahead for more than 30 seconds. Lobster pots were unlikely that far out and we had a sophisticated radar system that tracked every vessel in the Med. I did come across three yachts; one with lights that adjusted its course, a second that had no lights on until I was within 400m then put on all lights and waved a torch - as soon as I had gone passed it turned off all its navigation lights and motored away. The third, a yacht under full sail - with no lights at all. Again, they just waved a torch into the sail - always a good 300m off. Had there been something in the water I would not have seen it either way. During the day detritus included a surfboard - with three gulls using it to kip/fish from; the occasional lobster pot. Since then I've been doing a refresher course in a rib in the mouth of the River Ouse and to our surprise/horror we came across a 2m scaffold pole just sticking out of the water - it must have come off the deck of something and stuck in the mud: that would have punctured a hole in a rib or cracked the side of a yacht. 

Design Museum

New comment

I guess you've seen that yachting movie with Robert Redford where he hits a submerged container in his 40ft yacht while in the middle of the Indian Ocean.