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Are you interested in sailing?

A different story this time - and its a positive sort of feel good non dental one one - so stay with me.

I've been a frustrated sailor - i.e. I cant do it, but want to do it - for 45 years, and finally this year I got off my rear end and did what I'd always intended to do, and got myself some sailing lessons. A couple of days in the Lakes where we live and then a week in Cornwall at Percuil (www.paddleandsail.com) and me and the Son And Heir Ed were at least vaguely competent with some certificates to our names.

We're at the point now where we need to get some time on the water, and a friend suggested that we buy a Mirror Dinghy. These are small wooden sailing boats, ideal for a couple of people and a cheap way of developing our skills without killing ourselves. So, I checked on the web and we found a promising looking boat on Ebay being sold by a company called Wirral Ark Dinghies (www.wirralarkdinghy.co.uk/home) in Birkenhead, Liverpool, which we eventually bought.

Wirral Ark Dinghies is a Social Enterprise company, linked to a Charity called Wirral Ark, that houses homeless people in the Birkenhead area. They have a hostel, 6 "Move on" houses and the Dinghy Enterprise. Residents strip down and refurbish old Mirrors as a work therapy. Because most Mirrors were built in the 60's and 70's, and because there were tens of thousands of them made, there are now a lot of sad old boats sitting in corners of the UK slowly rotting away. Bob, a retired bank manager who runs the business, told me that most of the dinghies that they refurbish are donated and that he has picked them up from all over the UK - ours apparently came from Abersoch.

Ruth and I drove down to collect our purchase (no name yet...) a couple of weeks ago, and we met and thanked the team who had worked on her. I think sometimes its quite easy to forget that there are people who don't have a home, have had massive social or health issues, and have lost their ties with the things that perhaps we take for granted. Our little boat is blue, has orange sails and we took her home on the roof of the car and she's now filling the garage. As soon as I can get a launching trolley we'll be out on the water, and I'll be thinking of that small group of lads down on Merseyside that breathed life back into her.

If you've thought about getting into sailing, and want a cheap way in, I can't recommend Wirral Ark Dinghies enough....and if you've got an old Mirror that you don't need any more, or if you know someone else who has, get in touch with Bob via the website, he'd be very grateful.

the link again: www.wirralarkdinghy.co.uk/home


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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

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