Lady Corinne - Itchenor West Sussex UK

Some three years back a mistake was made.

Well in fact two mistakes. A boat was purchased and it was made of wood... in 1939. It was not meant to be made of wood but the trouble with falling in love, is going blind at first sight. Anyway, it was a good boat.

Nothing horrid turned up, just some bad luck and total ignorance. Nothing one can do about the former. The latter is easily dealt with, with money time and willingness to learn anything from steaming oak, to greasy old tractor engines and high end electronics.

The idea was simple. Buy a boat cheaply. Do the work. Get it sorted. Ship it on a container to Greece and have a floating caravan in my old home country. Sail from bay to bay, jump off the back where one can see the bottom of the sea. Drink cheap wine, eat feta cheese with sweet tomatoes and repeat.

Sadly Brexit meant that now, to do this, VAT is demanded with menace, and I have no intention of doing that for a boat built in 1939 at Littlehampton Sussex by Mr Hillyard. Nor do I want to be a tax target for my Greek compatriots who need dosh to pay back the Germans. So the Solent it is.

The trouble with the Solent, as opposed to say Corfu, is multifold. But the fundamentals are, lack of consistent sun, loads of tides, serious traffic reluctant to avoid one, and many many regulations. On the other hand emergency services are the best in the world and very near... so that's good to know... ohhh and people do not normally sing on channel 16.

Back on board. Upon purchase, the boat went into Tim Gilmore's shed in Birdham. Lovely man. Lovely bunch of craftsmen who know what wood does. Tim let me work in the shed to do the stuff I could not afford him to do.

Reshaped the heads to have a basin and shower. New water tank and hot water with electric pump now available on demand. No foot-hand synchronisation is now required to brush one's teeth. New sump pump, self activating. New diesel tank, replacing a diesel bag hanging from nails! This boat crossed the Atlantic with very little modern or indeed safe features on board. A fridge is also now available. Although this was meant for the Med. At Itchenor I tend to sling the Prosecco and Fever Tree over the side in a Waitrose bag. To compensate the boat also has a wood burning stove. Very handy for the Solent. I am glad this was kept and I did not replace it with some cooling system.

Other improvements. Refurbished steering. Had to learn about hydraulics for this one, Axiom Touch screen and whole bunch of other stuff.

The engine blew a gasket or maybe had a leak... result... seized whilst in the shed... one of those mysteries because it run well to get us into Birdham. Got stranded in Birdham. Engine came out head came out, cylinder one was solid. Full of antifreeze. The good news, everything got a polish and looked good to go. Whilst at it, got the injectors cleaned (it is only money). Starter got inspected and cleaned. Put in a new alternator. It is amazing what a Perkins 4108 originally designed for tractors, can do to your cash flow. No wonder farming is not very profitable.

Other expensive things.

When the Med was the destination, the issue of parking the thing backwards, was a concern. Weighs 12 tons without Prosecco or Tonic supplies. It has a long keel and an off centre prop. So turning it around, say somewhere like Korcula Marina was only going to upset the Austrians. So being a responsible boater, jet thrusters where installed to manage the bow in cross winds.

Then there was this desire to anchor a lot in the Med. Now, the good people who had her before, liked manual labour. Personally I am not that keen. So I got the manual windlass complete with its 1 meter steel bar handle sold on Ebay to a young chap in Chichester. He was refurbishing something equally old and wanted authenticity. I like the look of the Lofran Tigres and the buttons to work it. It is particularly nice, whilst sipping fresh coffee early in the morning and not needing a two hour recovery time from the exercise.

Finally and very recently the Med option was well and truly abandoned. So the pot of dosh which was set aside to lift the boat into the bowels of a container ship and off to Patras was put to good use in new well cut sails by the very nice people at Sanders Sail in Lymington.

So here we are have boat. Now in need of crew. In particular I would like a confident navigator with knowledge of the Solent so that my rusty tidal passage planning can be improved and checked. Lady Corinne is a lovely long keel boat. She is heavy and different from the Bavaria's and Beneteau's from my experience in Croatia and Greece. The previous owners, which in the 80s also included the British Army sailed her hard and well. So in addition a natural trimmer / helm person would also be most welcomed too.