Skipper's Comments on the 2022 Netherlands Trip:

Foreword by Dave Douglas,

    The long suffering skipper, Rear Admiral Rex Davenport, has nurtured a secret desire to put his slant on my sailing blog for some time. Perhaps he has delusions of becoming the next Charles Dickens, David Walliams or Alec Greven. Rex is usually most comfortable when he is up to his neck in spreadsheets, but I thought it would do no harm to give him his first big break. Besides it would be good to have a different perspective on the blog and redress the balance of mickey taking. His comments can be found below. Take it all with a pinch of salt.


    When you sail thousands of miles with someone on a small boat, you feel you get to know them very well. You have been with them for hours at sea, when they are happy, exhausted, hungry, frightened, sea-sick and joyous at the sight of land. And on top of that, you also spend four weeks or more at a time visiting various bits of Europe sharing accommodation 29ft by 10'6" inches, you have also walked miles with each other, visited museums, art galleries, kirks, historical monuments, nature reserves, met strangers and ate in restaurants and bars together, it takes a certain amount of understanding and tolerance to still be speaking at the end of the day.
    I am hugely conscious that Dave's Blog is his own personal record of his sailing, ballooning, art and other travel expeditions. It is a large part of his legacy to his children and children's children. Dave suggested I write a Skippers Commentary on this year's Blog (Summer 2022), but I now feel like an intruder. His recollections of our trip are largely the same as mine, but we are different men, so there are naturally significant differences in emphasis in our recollections. His suggestion for a Skipper's commentary stems from me proof reading the first draft (Dave always kindly asks me to do that after each trip we do together), and me pointing out a few cock-ups which had either been glossed over or omitted entirely. The points below are in in chronological order for the trip, and, whilst true, the reader should bear in mind the emphasis I give is from a Skipper's non-engineering, big-picture perspective, as well as a friend's.

Holland 2022

21st June.
    The Scheur Channel is pain for my boat in that if you leave Tollesbury at High Water, as I must, arrival at the beginning of the Channel invariably coincides with the start of the 7 hour ebb. This makes progress very slow over the last 25 miles. Other sailing friends from Tollesbury put in at Zeebrugge this summer, and then went on to Vlissingen timing the tides to be with them. In future, I think I will adopt that plan, or alternatively, head for the Roompot or Ijmuiden entrances.

22nd June.
    The blog fails to mention that whilst tied up in the lock at the entrance to the Veere, I got nattering to a woman on the foredeck of the boat behind. I made the schoolboy error of cleating off the stern line and for the first time, the boat got hung up as the water level fell in the lock, requiring me to cut the rope. No damage done, as the line was old, but pride badly hurt!

23rd June.
    Dave kindly notes just under the photo of the Krammersluizen that my face is "like an elephant's scrotum". Whilst I appreciate Dave did spend a few weeks in Tanzania in 2013, I have read his blog from there from start to finish and cannot for the life of me find out how the hell he knows what an elephant's scrotum looks like. It should also be noted that the watch was only a cheap Timex watch.

26th June.
    Second paragraph refers to my face like a "little cherub". Interesting to note that my face can be described as "an elephant's scrotum" and "a little cherub" within the space of 3 days. Now when we have sailed together before, I have had occasion to comment on Dave's eyesight, and have suggested a visit to the opticians is in order, as he hasn't been for years. Whilst I gather Sally (eldest daughter) agrees with me wholeheartedly, the old bugger refuses to get along even though eyesight tests are free. So, Dear Reader, if the blog says Dave saw something, do take it with a pinch of salt……

1st July.
    The first paragraph is missing from the Blog for this day. It should read " I clambered out of my bunk finally about 09.00 clutching a very sore head after last night's drinking to be greeted by Rex in the cockpit with a cheery "Good Morning Dave. Coffee?" As I sat down slowly it occurred to me that I couldn't recall for the life of me if I had paid the restaurant bill the night before, so I asked Rex. He explained very patiently to me that I had been given Purser duties (i.e. managing the kitty) ever since our first trip together, so he wouldn't have a clue if I had paid the bill or not. He suggested I ask them when we return to the restaurant again this evening". Given the non-payment episode in Hindeloopen on the 29th June (towards the bottom), this was potentially the second time Purser had forgotten to pay. I may have to relieve him of his duties.
    Third paragraph from the end regarding Rex's eyesight - this should be corrected to "I should really go the Specsavers". See also 26th June.

2nd July.
    See First paragraph. Dear reader, please be aware that Dave has an absolute phobia about not being fluent in any language. I think this stems from an on-going concern he won't be able to order beer in a bar. On our trip to St Petersburg with Alan in 2011, immediately after we left Germany for Helsinki, he got out a book "Learn Finnish for Beginners" and insisted I read it cover to cover. To be honest, I have NEVER not managed to get two large beers in a bar in any country in the world and therefore see little point in learning more than a few courtesy words in each language. Anyway, if Dave's doing all this language training, it would be duplication of effort if I bothered.
    The other thing is I packed Dave off to Leeuwarden for the day for a bit of p and q. I recall a difference of opinion on a previous trip when we stood in front of a gallery window with a large picture in front of us - dirty yellow canvas with a few small red splotches. I commented that a child of four could make a better effort, but Dave explained it was the work of a master artist portraying with amazing brush strokes a cornfield with poppies in a breeze. As I said - he should have gone to Specsavers.

5th July.
     Third paragraph down. I note the Blog says "we" had lost a fender. Other than Purser duties, Dave's main responsibilities are the tying on of fenders and mooring lines prior to arrival and removal of same on departure. Despite much encouragement from me to get Dave to simply use a clove hitch followed by a half hitch for extra security, Dave ties fenders on in lots of different ways, depending on his mood, but never employs the clove hitch technique. So, in my view the "we" should be "I". But to be fair to Dave, he was first in the Chandlery the next morning buying a replacement and insisting we didn't share the cost.

10th July.
     Last Sentence. Of course Dave was tired and just wanted to sleep, we'd walked bloody miles through desolate roads lined with warehouses to find the Immigration Control office wouldn't open the door to us, then another mile or two to find a very average pseudo Italian restaurant. That's why I organised the taxi ride back - Dave wouldn't have made it otherwise!

    When we meet strangers, I always try to get into the conversation early about how many weeks pass-out my wife has given me, to ensure there is no misunderstanding on Dave's and my status. The main driver for this is I know we sound, and probably behave, like the Odd Couple (people under the age of 66 will need to Google this reference). But my Father-in-Law had a great expression for mates like Dave "A good man to have next to you in the trenches" - and that is exactly what Dave is, as well as a great friend.

Post-script note
    The first and last Sections above read more like the forward to a book, but I felt some context is important. But hey - maybe there IS a book somewhere here "Sailing With Dave and Other Adventures"?


Last updated 22.9.2022