A chart in this mornings news shows that we have had more than 4 metres of snow this season and most of it still seems to be in my backyard. While it is never hard to dream of sailing the snow on the ground and the ice in the harbours represent a substantial barrier to all but the most creative of plans to get in the water early.
Instead I have sought solace in returning to the series of videos prepared by English sailor Dylan Winter under the title “Keep Turning Left” (KTL). Winter, to use his own words is a “middle-aged middle class bloke from middle England” who decided to circumnavigate the British Isles. He is the original slow sailor who, after almost seven years starting near the Isle of Wight is still creeping up the East Coast (the other East Coast) toward Scotland. On the way he had posted more than 700 video blog entries and has produced dozens of hours of broadcast quality programming.
Dylan Winter is my kind of sailor! He delights in the hundreds of small creeks, inlets and rivers and enthusiastically shares that delight on-line. He started with an 18 foot boat, affectionately called the “slug” but has move up through two slightly larger boats since then. All have been slow bilge-keelers because of his penchant for thin water excursions. Sailing only when he can steal time away from his day job as a freelance videographer every hour on the water is precious. I envy him his ability to sail to sail all year long although some of the shots of scraping ice off the inside of the cabin windows and his delight in recording the sound of ice drifting past the boat at anchor have literally left me cold.
After the first season I was in a hurry for him to get going but the lack of progress is its own reward as I learn more and more about less and less to the point where I think I am beginning to understand the great early 20th century English sailing writers from the North Sea ports such as Francis Cook, Holmes of the Humber, and Maurice Griffiths. It is not hard to see where Arthur Ransome’s Swallow and Amazons come from in the English imagination.
Although the videos are available You Tube and on the KTL site the highest quality is through the modestly priced downloads for site subscribers or better still on a five sets of double DVDs at a very cheap $25.00 each. Well worth the money and the time while waiting for the ice to go out.