Becca Boo - Helen Gould/Bill Douglas
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A delightful example of a Nicholson 32 Mk X. Becca Boo's first owner for 32 years kept her immaculate with many upgrades along the way. His youngest daughter was nicknamed Becca Boo which is how the boat acquired her name. Sailing both with his family and alone they ventured on many happy trips across the Channel and in the Med. Becca Boo's second owner took her further afield around the Atlantic clock, bravely surviving 2 knockdowns on the return trip from New York. Since July 2009 I have enjoyed getting to know her both single-handed and with crew. With her 40 year MOT finally completed she's now ready for plenty more adventures. Winter sailing? With her long heavy keel she has a mind of her own. Reversing? What's that?! Her crew laugh as, given the opportunity, she does have a habit of heading south towards warmer waters too! Light winds are a challenge for her, however, during our recent qualifier, she came into her own ploughing on for hours through a gale with her Aries keeping track.
An enthusiastic novice with wild dreams! My first real sailing experience was dodging the March gales around Skye with the Penguin Cruising Club during Easter school holidays. With snow on the mountains, double thermals and 7 crew on each of the 4 chartered Rival 32s, those early trips made a huge impression. Must be mad but I loved it! Returning to sailing in 2006 I bought a Rival 32 in Copenhagen ... Penguins to the rescue as Phil, Bill and my sister helped sail her back to Chichester in what was a spectacular almost gale-free autumn sail around the North Sea. I always wanted to the AZAB but didn't feel ready for the 2007 race. Now with a few more miles under my belt 2011's race is more realistic. Remembering Bill had wanted to sail to the Azores and how effective his infamous watch-changing buzzer was he was the obvious choice as co-skipper. I'm sure he will have plenty more to say on that! On a final note ... the battery still hasn't worn out on the dreaded buzzer alarm clock so that will be accompanying us too!! Neither of us have completed a longer ocean crossing so now's our chance! So to all our fellow competitors, winter well, all the best for your preparations and we look forward to seeing you all next June.
Skipper's notes on co-skipper: Otherwise known as Bodge-it-Bill or Mr Ducktape, Bill is a superb not-so-old and definitely not rusty seadog! Married with a 21-year-old son, Bill has been associated with the Penguin Cruising Club for many years too. He co-owned a Rival 34 in which he recently circumnavigated the UK taking in the Shetland Isles and St Kilda. Other sailing grounds have included Scandinavia, Med, French coast and Ireland, with yacht deliveries across Biscay. Over to you Bill ... Thanks for all that Helen. I’m not sure about the not-so-old bit - I started learning to sail in a plywood Cadet, and an example of this lovely dinghy is now hanging in the Maritime Museum in Falmouth. Neither can I remember crossing Biscay, unless I may count hopping back between the islands from La Rochelle with Ken and the above-mentioned Phil? (I can thoroughly recommend Ile de Yeu on the 15 August). And the only reason I haven’t rusted yet is because I try to avoid water, preferring green tea or red wine. My favourite cruising ground remains Scotland, West Coast. Perhaps now is the time to start explaining racing to me. If this means going fast in the correct direction, and playing with the sheets, then we have two challenges. Firstly Becca Boo and I both prefer strong winds, so all’s well provided we avoid sailing towards the centre of a known anticyclone - we proved this on our qualifier - even the pilot whales got bored and left us after only one hour. Secondly, close scrutiny of our track during my watch starting at 0100 on 25 October proves that I am well able to sail in almost exactly the wrong direction, without a word from Boo. As for my hi-tech made-in-China crescendo-alarm clock, I merely note that the one that Cap’n Phil bought at the same time is now as dead as John Cleese’s parrot. So one of us may have a very very loong watch? Or should I buy another?