Friday 14 February 2014

A bit different

Having a unique type of boat makes for interesting times. There just aren’t any other Badgers around. We don’t expect people to know what Ashiki is. The first few weeks out on the water, at the marina and the town dock people for some reason thought she was a Dutch design. Just the lee board is missing. Many think she’s an old girl, judging by the curves, and Jay Benford did design some very nice curves on this boat, so she must be an antique. They are surprised to hear she is only just launched, brand new and the design is relatively new, from the late 70’s.

Penned at Port Bouvard

At some stage at the end of the first month the knowledgeable folks started showing up. One couple, quite elderly, 70+ insisted on taking our lines at the dock. They obviously knew their way around boats, she mentioned this is the first junk she’d ever help tie the lines (points for spotting she’s has a junk rig - not many do), then her Hubby looked at it and said, “She’s a Badger is she?”. (They were sailing veterans 50years+) Then a couple days later a chap walked over to us and said “thats a Benford isnt it”. He knew because he built a ferro cement boat in the 70’s and Jay Benford was quite famous in that field. One morning I looked out the porthole to see nothing but white gelcoat a few feet away. Susie popped out the companionway to investigate. A big 40’ish newish Beneteau luxury yacht was circling around anchored Ashiki. The skipper was calling out questions:
“Hello, been admiring your boat from over there, she’s a Badger is she?”
“Also is that a Belcher windvane?”  etc
They’re coming out of the woodwork I say.

Windvane - nameless as of now, at least,
not a name which is printable...

Contrary to what I expected, no one questions why a junk, people just accept it. I suppose people understand the more ways to skin a cat thing. Sailors, maybe the racing kind, tend to ask if she sails to windward (there are scurrilous rumours around the internet that junks dont). She sails fine to windward, infact she goes anywhere we point her.

Couple days into laying to the mooring in Mangles bay I was sitting in the cockpit watching the world go by, noticed a chap on an outer mooring climbing into his dinghy, which was really a kayak, one of those Hobie kayaks with pedal power. I watched him paddle.. or pedal up the bay with his knees pumping, he didnt need to take the shortest route to the shore like someone rowing would, he could cruise a 1km up the bay, passed the jetties and turn into the beach immediately in front of the town. I thought "that’s a pretty cool device". Later at the end of the day, I thought I saw him coming, then next thing I heard in a laconic kind of way:

“So are you voyaging on a small income yet?”

lol. Yeah, so far, I think.

He was referring to Annie Hill’s book "Voyaging On A Small Income" which is now quite a classic and inspired a number of people around the world to build Badgers and obviously, he recognised what Ashiki was..

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