This photograph shows 'Mariner' on her very first sail in 1979. It was supposed to be a motor only trip to the 'Nook,' a nice small bay on Whangarei harbour. This photograph was taken by my father from his small motor launch 'Bullfrog'. Halfway to the Nook I realised that a slight breeze had sprung up and I could sail. So although there were no deck fittings installed I improvised by threading the jib sheet through one of the scuppers and made a rope mainsheet traveller by running some rope between the two stern mooring cleats and turned off the diesel engine.
So there we were, Christine doing a good impression of Twiggy and me trying to look cool in my 'Easy Rider' sunglasses. I remember rafting up with my Dads launch and having a nice on board picnic with Mum and Dad - All a long, long time ago now.
This second photograph was taken on a different occasion but pretty much in the same place as the first photo, but going in the opposite direction. I see that we are towing my dads dinghy for some reason or other. By this time I had most of the deck hardware installed, including the life rails.
One of the things I regret most when I look at this photograph is that I have lost the beautiful hand knitted pom pom hat that was my good old boat hat for cold days. It was well worn, with memories of many anti-fouling paintings all over it. I remember it was lost overboard and sank one stormy day as I desperately tried to retrieve it with the boat hook - can't win em' all shipmates.
The old boat has gone through a few persona transformations in her time. When Mariner was first launched she was painted Storm Grey with a varnished mahogany cabin trunk, later I painted her Royal Blue with a White cabin trunk. Currently she has a Beige cabin trunk and decks and a White hull.
The thing I am most proud of is that I built this little ship with my own hands. In the last couple of weeks I have built two sturdy gates to keep a very adventurous grandson safe in the backyard and are now working on a back door renovation. As I bumble around hitting my thumb with the hammer and looking at the gaps in the joins of my woodwork I do wonder how I ever built a boat.
All this happened a long time ago in the 'Olden Days.' When Mariner was launched Christine and I had only been married 4 years, not 40. It was only 10 years since men had landed on the moon, there were no personal computers, internet, cell phones, GPS and I still had a couple of pairs of flared jeans and a few paisley shirts! Happy Days that were a bloody sight less complicated. BUT, I am not complaining about todays realities, I look forward to the future with great expectations.