The Eventider's News




Issue Ten.  Spring/Summer 2008 



Page No 5

Reminiscing about Therapist


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Having just joined the EOG as a ‘dinosaur’ at the moment, to quote the old term used for a non-owner, I find myself reminiscing over our old boat ‘Therapist’ and the many stories I could recall as a lad aboard her.

‘Therapist’ was without doubt the best boat we had over the 20+ years we spent sailing as a family. Starting from a dinghy class called a ‘Wine Glass’ to our first cruiser a ‘Caprice’ called Minden Rose, then ‘Therapist’ a 24’ Eventide and finally, after I had found new interests, which I still regret now; to a Junk Rig Coromandel called ‘Sinobee’.

The reminiscing has brought back one in particular which I can still re-call with such clarity is somewhat scary considering the time that has passed.

Anyway, ‘Therapist’ was built in 1971 by its original owner in Lewis and was bought and sailed from Newhaven to Portchester Sailing Club in September 1973, our home port for many years.

‘Therapist’ was a sturdily constructed Eventide, where the builder had waited considerable time to get a grown oak stem, which know the curve of the Eventide bow must have taken a long time to source. This was reflected throughout the boat with an iroko centre keel and skeg, and oak frames supporting plywood hull and decks.

The one September or early October day in particular which pays testament to the Eventide, and Maurice Griffiths’s designs, was on a very stormy Saturday in 1974, we had gone down to Portsmouth to check on ‘Therapist’ as we drove along the road which runs past Vosper Thorneycroft, my father asked me to keep and eye open and see if she was alright, which she was. We continued in to Portsmouth and did a little shopping and had a look around old Portsmouth, but as the winds were so strong; storm force 9 gusting 10 and 11, we were unable to get near. As we couldn’t get near a last double check on our way back home Dad decided to go back via the same route for peace of mind.

It was me who said then "Dad! She’s not there"…I’m not lying, She’s not there!!". At that point he pulled the car in the garage which used to be along that road and asked the owner could he have a few of the old tyres he had there.

This was a good bit of forwarding thinking which at the time was foreign to me, but in hindsight was the ideal thing to do. We turned around, and in our haste Mum managed to trap my fingers in the car door, sped our way up the causeway which lead to Horsea Island, past the then rubbish tip and land fill site, which is now Port Solent, as I clung on to the sets of part worn tyres we had stuffed in to the back of our old Beatle

Sure enough ‘Therapist’ was slowly destroying herself against the causeway hard-core, which comprised of concrete blocks and old chucks of broken up road. Needless to say this was as dangerous any rocky shoreline.

As we pulled up my to our delight we could see that a number of the local members of the club had already got to her and were doing their very best to fend her off, which was reassuring to see considering the SW wind was buffeting her against causeway with sickening crunches I can still hear today.

Dad managed to get aboard and unlock the lockers to throw so warps up to us. Myself, mum and couple of the club members managed to lash together the tyres we had brought along from the garage, and then the more adult members of the assembled, managed to feed the unorthodox fender arrangement between the hull and causeway between each rise of the swell. This gave my Dad time to pump out ‘Therapist’ too, as the water had already reached the cabin floor, any more and it would have reached the engine.

Meanwhile other members of the club had managed to get a long enough line ashore to the little headland on the MOD side of the causeway around the disused crane, about 50 feet or more away which stands there to this day.

As time passed we all managed to pump her out, get the engine started and eased her off of the causeway, release the mooring tackle which was still attached and get her in the lee of the headland with the crane, so we could start assessing the damage at low tide.

Thanking all assembled members without who’s help the outcome would have been much worse I feel sure of, we set about assessing the damage, which was nothing much more than the 2" gash which had been punched through the ply hull just above the chine at about mid-ships.

Armed with a piece of ply wood kindly donated by a club member and some P38 kept on board we managed to patch her up. Myself and Dad at low water managed to briefly inspect the mooring tackle, and to our amazement had found that ‘Therapist’ had managed to lift two ¼ ton concrete blocks and about 30 feet of ¾" Link ground chain, as well as the riser chain and drag this along the muddy bed on her little jaunt.

On the high tide the following day, repairs complete enough to try a crossing, during a brief lull in the wind we managed to get across the channel in to the lee of the castle by the sailing club to await the insurance assessors.

All in all a memorable weekend of events, our thanks still go out to the Portchester sailing club members and Maurice Griffiths for designing such a study boat. Had that been a lesser design or fibreglass who knows what would have been the outcome.


Adrian Cox