The Con­fes­sional

Yachting Monthly - - INSIDE THIS MONTH - By Tim Mars­den

Own up to your sins...

Dur­ing the 1980s I was a fresh faced teenager, des­per­ate for sea miles. A friend of my fa­ther owned a Ni­chol­son 32 in Southamp­ton and made reg­u­lar trips to Guernsey, where he vis­ited a friend who im­ported fine wines, and I went with him.

On our re­turn jour­ney, the skip­per opened a bot­tle and re­tired early to his bunk. Be­ing the new boy, I had the grave­yard watch. A cou­ple of hours out of St Peter Port, the wind was light and it was a black, star­less night. Ev­ery­thing was si­lent, apart from the lap­ping wa­ter and a snor­ing skip­per down be­low. I sat back and scanned the black­ness for ship­ping. BA-BOOM! It was the loud­est noise I had ever heard. I jumped sev­eral inches into the air, my heart leap­ing into my mouth. I stum­bled around the deck, not know­ing what I was look­ing for, but con­vinced we had hit some­thing. In a panic, I stuck my head down the hatch. The skip­per, from the dark­ness of the cabin, turned over in his bunk and mut­tered, ‘Con­corde!’ and re­sumed his snor­ing. I breathed again.

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