I’ve been in serious hermit mode recently, writing new songs on my boat, and just came back from a little cruise down the river … The songs, I will be sharing at some point soon (I’m thinking little videos filmed in my boat!), but in the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the delights of my steep nautical-learning-curve, for your general entertainment.
So here goes: Boat Life: – My Cruising Learning Curve.
Basics First: if you want to go left, push the tiller right, and vice versa. Confusing!… But important for avoiding head-on collisions with other boats, ducks and the like.
If you need to stop, Reverse. ‘Reverse’ means ‘Slow Down’ in boat language, as water doesn’t provide half the friction of, say tarmac, so you have to exaggerate – it’s the only language boats understand.
Boats also understand the language of ropes. It might weigh 10 tonnes, but weirdly you can pull it around and slow it down with ropes. An upside to the whole water thing.
Joggers will overtake you on the bank. And you might keep spotting the same people on their afternoon stroll if you moor up for a cuppa. Deep inside though, you’ll still know you’re on an epic quest through unchartered territories.
Obey the 5 mph speed limit (I’ve been in moored boats when the wash from speeding boats hits- you have to hold all the pots and pans in place- not cool speeders!).
People cruising boats on the river always wave at each other as they pass – even the grumpy ones. And people on the banks join in too. It’s the cutest thing. But you have to remember to stop doing it when you pop into tescos for a quick re-stock of food. Landlubbers see it as over-familiarity.
If you want to wild-moor up to a tree, have a plan for God’s sake. I mean don’t just approach the tree hoping your boat mate will magically lasso the front rope round a massive tree trunk having never combined ropes and trees in their life before. And don’t think shouting ‘Hug The Tree!’ at the top of your voice will help in any way. ‘Hug the tree!’ is not an effective instruction. Vainly hugging a tree whilst standing on a moving boat doesn’t help mooring efforts. I know that now.
When you get back to the same spot on your way back, if you still feel wild mooring is your thing, go to the front of the boat with a boat hook – it really helps you get the rope round the tree. No hugging is necessary. You can save that for the communing with nature bit once the kettle is on.
Lastly: locks. They are much scarier going upstream than downstream. When going upstream, once in the lock you have to jump on the roof of your still-moving-boat to be able to jump off onto the bank so you can tie your boat to the bollards. I won’t provide anymore details incase my mum is reading this, but let’s just say it’s scary for newbies like me, and in come cases, it leads to nicknames such as ‘The Death Lock.’ (thank you Shepperton Lock.)
Update: the above routine was unnecessary, we discovered, as we later observed someone using a boat hook for the task- no scary jumping is necessary. Boat hooks are great therefore. Making tree hugging and death jumps wholly a matter of choice.
That’s all for now re: my steep learning curve. I hope it’s been useful.
Back to Music: if you’re reading this, you probably have a couple of free tracks. If you like what you’ve heard, you can hear snippets of my album and buy it here. My dream is to eventually make a living from my music, and I’d so appreciate your support. It feels ambitious, but I believe it’s possible with my minimalist approach to life (as above!) in combination with people like you who want to see genuinely independent creativity thriving in today’s world.
Moor soon ! XXX
(See what I did there?)