There is no doubt in my mind that a well maintained wooden boat will always outshine any boat made of steel , fibreglass or plastic. I feel the same when they are in the last throws of decay; where with paint and varnish peeling, with the caulk rotting away and previously water tight planks springing loose they take on a character which surpasses that of a rusting hull. As to the frayed, splintering decay of GRP and plastic, well I can not find anything positive to say as they only seem to harm the fragile ecology of the foreshore.
This rotting hulk is found at a sheltered inlet near Kyle on the northern shore of the Plock, a community area that used to house the gun emplacements that protected Loch Alsh during WWII and then hosted a golf course before now being transformed as a haven for wildlife and nature. Behind her hull can be seen modern boats laid up for the winter season. Who knows, one day, they may also be on their side gradually decaying as the tide ebbs and flows around them. As I look at the hull my mind wanders and tries to imagine what adventures must have taken place as she sailed under full canvas plying her trade around the Western Isles.
I also wonder why she was laid up in the first place, an anchor casually hooked across the port gunwale? Her bow line, stern line and springs still in place. Was it the sprung planks so evident amidships on the port side or some other reason? Lying on her starboard side the shade has protected more of her original green paintwork which though blistered and peeling has good coverage compared to the sun bleached bare boards on the port, sun facing side.
So many questions and so few answers. Just my thoughts and imagination.
"Fair Winds and a Following Sea" is a traditional sailing and naval toast often used as farewell to those departed, it seems apt when looking at the sorry state of what must once have been a magnificent day boat. The toast has spawned a number of colloquial forms of which one is "Here’s to Being in a Boat with a Drink on the Rocks, Rather than Being in the Drink with a Boat on the Rocks!’. Alas this old working boat is now well and truly on the rocks.