The Great Escape

Some non-boaters never understand what it is about our hobby that makes it so addictive. They can grasp the simple ideas like the beautiful views, secluded coves and quiet beaches a boat can give you access to. The more enlightened ones might even appreciate the aesthetics of the boat itself (usually accompanied by a remark about the fortune it must cost to run). If you’re very lucky they might even see a certain pleasure in the cerebral satisfaction of navigating safely from place to place without bumping into any of the dry bits. What they will never understand, at least not until they have experienced it for themselves, is the incredible sense of adventure that a boat gives you.

There is no such thing as a boring boat trip. It can be fun, exciting, relaxing, challenging or occasionally even downright frightening, but boring simply doesn’t exist in the boat owner’s lexicon. Every minute you spend afloat in the company of friends and family is worth an hour of time spent ashore. The experiences you share, the sights you see, the challenges you overcome are what make boating such a uniquely addictive pastime. The moment you cast off your lines all the petty concerns of day-to-day life are left on the pontoon and life is reduced to you, your crew, your boat and the limitless possibilities that await.

This is the Great Escape we’re alluding to on the cover and in the stories that make up this month’s issue. Peter Cumberlidge has been seeking out the best West Country havens where you can escape the confines of a marina to spend blissful days and nights afloat; Fiona Walker has gone one step further and is heading for the Med with her newly retired husband on board their dreamboat; but the prize surely has to go to MBY’s 79-year-old columnist Ray Bulman and his 80-year-old former racing partner Geoff Tobert, who defied the years to drive a 17ft classic open Sunseeker from Putney to Calais and back in the space of a day. You can read about their exploits on p52 but to really get a flavour of how gruelling it was check out the video of their day on www.mby.com. Last but by no means least is Fred Haines’s hilarious tale of being rescued from an impromptu grounding in Studland Bay by an army of nudists. Like I said, life afloat is always an adventure.