Yachting Monthly - - VIEW FROM THE HELM -

What to do now that win­ter is here? It is clearly tempt­ing to wait out the dank days of win­ter cosied up in­doors, with the boat safely on the hard un­til the balmy spring re­turns. That’s an aw­fully long time to be land-locked though, so Pasque will be stay­ing in this win­ter and I’m look­ing for­ward to it. The ‘off sea­son’ has fre­quently given me some of my most mem­o­rable sails; crisp frost on the deck, a whistling ket­tle as the low sun rises over the bur­nished wa­ter, and a cloud­less sky over­head.

Bun­dled up, we’ve rel­ished brac­ing (and ad­mit­tedly short) sails to ar­rive in har­bour be­fore the early dusk to hurry to the near­est pub with a roar­ing fire. As the Danes would say, you don’t get more hygge than that. Hav­ing done just this with non-sail­ing friends a few times, I reckon it could even be the best time to in­tro­duce novices to the charm of sail­ing; short pas­sages, a sense of gen­uine ad­ven­ture and the re­ward at the end of it are often met with firm ap­proval, as long as they’re kept warmly wrapped up.

If you’ve al­ready laid up for the sea­son, all is not lost. There are plenty of ways to get afloat this win­ter (p36). It might be the ideal time to do what­ever you’ve been putting off – hav­ing a go at dinghy sail­ing at your lo­cal club, brush­ing up on a train­ing course, or book­ing a last-minute Caribbean ad­ven­ture.

What­ever you do, spare a thought for the Golden Globe sailors cur­rently catch­ing the worst of the tail-end of win­ter in the South­ern Ocean. With more ex­pe­ri­ence of ex­treme weather in a few weeks than most of us would want in a life­time, the tales they have to tell are quite re­mark­able (p20).

Theo Stocker Yacht­ing Monthly Ed­i­tor

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