Morning Mist, 2019.
In March 2019, I bought my first boat. I had been stranded in a little house on the west coast of Ireland all winter, the rain was constant. I left England two years previously feeling resentful, but now I could see what I had left behind. I wanted to continue living with nature, but the countryside was unaffordable. So, this is how I began searching for boats on the internet. I dreamt of living at the river's edge, surrounded by plants and air so fresh you could eat it.
After weeks of searching for something that was remotely inhabitable for my tiny budget, I came across Morning Mist. She was a beamy bilge keeler, built in the early 70s, with fiberglass thicker than was ever necessary. 28ft long, but with a solid fuel stove and solar panels, I was sold. So, Late one night after too much black coffee, I made the call. I spoke to a man called Derek. I asked a few sparse questions, trying to gather what I had learned about boats. Derek was more interested in sails than sales, but in the end, that’s why I bought it. I trusted him, and a bond was formed when he agreed to sail her home with us.
I arranged to travel across from Ireland, the week before had seen vicious winds which left the locals in a panic as the supermarket roof was ripped off. My friend Jason, a marginally more experienced sailor, came with me. I was anxious as to whether the boat would be ok. If we would sail at all. Having come all that way, I had to buy it. I just needed to know it would float. I snooped around pretending I knew what I was doing and put my trust in Jason. That night we ate fish and chips and sealed the deal. We talked over possible routes. That was the first time I had slept aboard a boat. Tomorrow would be the first time I sailed one. Our crossing would take 11 hours, through the Black Deep, from Felixstowe Ferry to Ramsgate.
I woke the following morning at 4 am. My back ached and my stomach was floating. It was only two degrees outside, but calm. Looking across the room to Jason I laughed, I could see his breath steaming as he snored. I tried to warm up the room by boiling the kettle, but before long the oystercatchers were calling us, it was time to set sail.