Leaving aside a half-century's worth of early history in civil
and then management consulting, I moved here to the little
ex-fishing-village of Cannons Creek on Western Port in Victoria in 1996.
(You can see some pictures of Western Port by visiting
www.woodenboatfittings.com.au/westernport/westernport.htm.) At that stage
I'd remarried and a baby girl was on the way. I was scratching around trying
to find something I could usefully do from home, to be around for her when
she arrived. Then not long after that I bought Aileen Louisa (Google and
you'll see her,) who agreed with me she'd really rather be owned by me. So
then I had a great old time getting rid of chromed fairleads and stainless
steel swivel-blocks and so on, refitting her as she always should have been.
Not all the fittings I wanted could be bought, so I made some up for myself.
Then the light-globe came on, and I started Wooden Boat Fittings working
Well, Carina's mother pulled the plug just as the little one was about to
start school, and walked out (taking Carina with her of course -- the Family
Court out here is strongly biased against fathers in custody cases,) but I'd
had so much fun building up a small and highly select clientele in the
meanwhile that I've kept the business going.
Most of our clients are from Oz and the US (we managed to add the US Navy to
our list a while back, which pleased me hugely.) And we also sell to the
Kiwis. And somewhere in London there's a magnificent black Bentley Coupe
driving round with two of our pennant staffs on the wings. So if you see
her, stop her and pass on my best wishes to Ron.
Then along the way I bought Sanderling, which is why I'm able to be writing
to you now. That was in the old EOA days, and I wanted to re-rig her from
Bermudan to one of the two gaff rigs AB had also designed for her, so I got
in touch with them and managed to buy his sail plans before the drawings,
the EOA, and the lot disappeared into the murk.
In point of fact I've never re-rigged Sanderling, and as anyone who's visited
the WBF website recently will know she's now for sale. Regrettably, needs
must when the devil (in the form of an ex-wife, in this case) drives. If and
when it happens I'll let you know, because that will disqualify me from
membership, and I'll need to resign from the Rudder Committee.
In the meanwhile life goes on, some of it enjoyable, some not so much. Which
I guess is what we all could say, isn't it?
And as far as the EOA goes, to me the old toast seems appropriate --
"The King is dead! Long live the King!"