(subtitle) Helen, after your comment on the last posting, this one is for you, and me, of course!

Last post, when talking about the experiences of revisiting old boating haunts, I mentioned the pleasure of finding our old Eventide yacht, Cosmic Wind, lying in a mud berth near one of our favorite pubs at Hollow Shore near Faversham. My pleasure was somewhat tempered by the rather, in my opinion, shabby paint-job.

YM Eventide Cosmic Wind

YM Eventide ‘Cosmic Wind

‘What business is it of yours?’ you might well ask. ‘This was my boat! How can you not understand!’ Boats, you see, are never viewed in an unemotional way. When we saw Cosmic we already owned a small 22′ cruiser and we certainly couldn’t afford the asking price for this Eventide, even if we managed to sell our existing boat quickly. And so we sighed as we stroked the beautiful varnish-work and gazed through the brass ports at the warm, glowing interior with its oil lamps, gleaming wood, solid-fuel stove, four berths and a very snazzy ‘Sailor’ vhf radio. Lordy, how I wanted that boat! So, we bought it!

sailor vhf

It was a decision that I never regretted for one moment and J only on those occasions when she was lying below in the grip of mal de mer and longing for death to take her! Designed by Maurice Griffiths, the Eventide is the perfect east-coast cruising boat – long-keeled with two massive bilge keels; they are comfortable at sea and able to take the bottom when the tide goes out. Especially as one of our favourite things was wandering up coastal creeks, chucking out the hook, usually near a pub, lazing away with a book or music, the fire warming a winter’s evening, sheltered by the creek embankments. Such wonderful times and memories that seem, now, like half a life-time away.

So many adventures and each one would fill a post so here’s peek at what was really a bit of a love-in! OK, I know this is being ‘geeky’ and has nothing whatever to do with ‘living, loving and travelling Turkey’, but let’s indulge in a bit of glowing nostalgia, just for Helen and me.

Eventide sail plan

Eventide 3

layout and sail plan

I had Cosmic set up for single-handing, everything was made as easy as possible and J and I would nearly always choose to sail on and off moorings without using the engine and handling everything from the cockpit. In the photos that follow you’ll notice un-yachty things like a ladder (useful when returning from the pub and the tide was out), and a huge oar that could double as a sweep or an emergency rudder. We regarded ourselves as ‘sea gypsies’, rough and ready with all sorts of paraphernalia  hanging from our gleaming mobile home. Those with their ‘plastic-fantastics’ might look askance but we knew we were usually better sailors and in light airs, with our massive sail area, we could out-ghost a J-class!

Here are a few old photos we’ve rediscovered and copied from a scanner, enjoy – I know Helen will!


off Shipwright’s Arms, Hollow Shore waiting for opening time




not ghosting – trying to outrun the Townsend Thorenson ferry


Mac – the very best old sea-dog, ever!




the magic of the swatchways


le Crotoy, River Somme


emergency prop clearing mid-channel


stopping road and rail traffic – Kingsferry Bridge, Sheppey


pub-crawling gear


Cap Griz Nez

These are the fruits of the hours of labour – the rubbing, sanding, painting, varnishing, fixing. I especially recall the days spent lying underneath the boat with a ‘dolly’ as the shipwright and I painstakingly fastened every single plank with copper rivets – no doubt the reason Cosmic is still afloat to this day. It is said that a boat is ‘a hole in the water that you throw money into!’ Was it worth it? Oh, yes!


hoarder that I am, I still have books, charts and navigation tools

Finally, a photo of the most self-contained dog ever to go to sea – he could and did hold it all in but when the hook dropped then a dog’s got to do what a dog’s got to do – and he did!!


Alan Fenn, somewhere down Memory Lane

16 thoughts on “Eventide

  1. What a lovely lady!
    Well worth all the weekends spent in the yard in winter, sanding, painting, varnishing, general overhaul while your hands froze and a biting wind stored up later lumbago as it hit the gap between trousers and jumper as you bent to your task.
    It was a design that was perfect for pubbing it on the East coast while she was a perfect lady under sail while seeking another estuary to enjoy…and I remember that bridge over the Swale too! And the pubs in Sheerness.
    I had tyres as fenders (money was not unlimited)…the engine (I forget what it was) was such a b…d that it was easier to sail off an anchorage….there was more than a touch of Old Harry about some of the lashups…and she gave me the time of my life.
    The only photograph I have of me from that period is something resembling a drink then popular known to us as ‘blood and pus’ (advocaat with a drop of cherry brandy in the centre of the glass) – nattily attired in yellow oilskins from Milletts with a face scarlet from wind – and no I do not intend to reproduce it.
    Much later, while living in France I came across a chap who had designed and built a barge yacht….I think he presented it at the La Rochelle boat show in the early nineties.
    Took me back years.
    I’ve just received a copy of Hervey Benham’s ‘Once upon a tide’ to replace my copy long since disappeared, so what with that and your super post I’m having a wallow in nostalgia.

    1. . . there are a couple of Hervey Benham’s books, ‘Down Tops’l’ and ‘Last Stronghold of Sail’, in the top left stack of books. Thanks to you, I’ve just ordered up ‘Once Upon A Tide’, so there will be a few hours beside the log fire this winter that will be filled with much reading and re-reading. The scanned photos of Cosmic do not do justice to the paint/varnish work, but seeing dear old Mac again brought back some memories and lots of smiles. Thanks for the comment that has stimulated so many good things 😀
      Alan recently posted..Let’s Get Out HereMy Profile

  2. I’ve never been a sailor nor had any interest in becoming one, but must’ve been in a prior life because there’s nothing I love more than wandering among the docks at an Antique Wooden Boat show. This post is almost as fun!
    Bobbi recently posted..Entrepreneurs are EverywhereMy Profile

    1. wandering the docks was always a feast for the senses – the smell of rope, paint, tar etc. It saddens me that such pleasures are becoming harder to enjoy as these working places become gentrified, converted and occupied by ‘Yuppies’ (yes, I did mean to be derogatory). So pleased you enjoyed the post.
      Alan recently posted..Self IndulgenceMy Profile

  3. A and J, Well, shiver me timbers! Didn’t know you were such sailors. What a classy looking boat! (After seeing your old photos, I’d have to agree that its current paint job is shabby. ) Your sea dog looks like he was the best pal ever. Thanks for sharing the memories.
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  4. @Alan
    I did try to take a peek, but my glasses weren’t up to the job!
    You took me back years with that photograph of your boat….and brought back all the fun.
    None of my dogs thought much of water…I had a half decker on the Broads for a while and my then dog would curl up in the sail locker…all I could see were the whites of two disgusted eyes…

    Did you come across the books by James Wentworth Day? Terrible old fart, but gave an interesting picture of wildfowling and farming practice.

    Isn’t blogging amazing!
    Helen Devries recently posted..Skip ‘2theloo’ in ParisMy Profile

  5. I envy your bilge keels – why didn’t my father buy a boat with bilge keels. Instead we spent hours on our side as we missed yet another tide turn. I don’t miss the endless mud flats that the East Coast turned into when the tide went out, but I do occasionally yearn to hear the clanking of the shrouds – they don’t sound the same here.
    BacktoBodrum recently posted..What’s the point of offering an olive branch?My Profile

    1. As we spent many a night sleeping on ‘Cosmic’ well away from any other boats the rattle of the rigging was never a disturbance – being ‘good’ sailors we always tied everything that could annoy to the shrouds. Know what you mean though – very evocative sound – a bit like the anchor chain rumbling over the bottom as the tide changed. Ahh, dreaming again!
      Alan recently posted..And This Little PiggyMy Profile

  6. Great photo’s and brilliant memories, your getting as bad as me digging out old photo’s !!!!! can’t beat it though, and no the blue paint doesn’t do much for it, much nicer when you had her. Great for you to see her again and to know she still on the water though.

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