That’s about it really. I no longer feel any other evolutions lurking hull-down over the horizon; in fact the only thing sneaking up on me is geriatricity. Being obliged to balance an emaciated, flighty little dinghy may be damn good exercise, but it does not encourage ancient mariners to make passages.
No; it’s been seven years of rolling around on the crest of each wave, but it’s time to admit that my knackered old frame would appreciate a vessel that showed a tad more concern for the crew. So, my perfect little cruiser has to be just like Polly Wee, but
Wider, Christopher, W-I-D-E-R
Now that the restrictions imposed by Arundel’s River Road bollards are relegated to a previous life, I could do with a beamier baby. The only question is, just how wide? Polly Wee is three feet across her flat bottom, with an overall beam of four foot six inches. I could increase each of those figures by a foot while remaining within a single sheet of ply for the floor.
Such a hull would come out about the same eleven foot six inch length, but with a five foot six inch beam. Beginning to sound as round and chiney as a cross between a coracle and a paper cup, yes?
How about just six inches rather than a foot? Well, I haven’t decided yet; I probably ought to go the whole hog, but the narrower the easier to row and my racing past haunts my dreams. I think the next trick would be to go back to my cardboard cut-outs….
And one last conundrum; side decks. Polly Wee has eight to ten inches (depending how you measure it) of side deck - a memory of my old Cadet, though these are adequately cambered rather than the flat originals. They make for a great feeling of safety; unless that is, you need to sit up and out when they give you the sensation of being perched, rather precariously, on top of the world – which you are and in such a narrow boat, close to being over the centre of buoyancy too.
I have spent the years hopping up and down in most normal wind-speeds and wearing a groove in my nethers from the small coaming that prevents any minor runnels of water that do actually make it up on deck, from sloshing into the cockpit. In fact one of my notions has been to remodel these impediments so that I can sit comfortably toward windward on the thwart and merely lean back and forth to maintain verticality – like real people.
Oh the luxury!
But it would either look quite weird, or take a massive amount of rebuilding to achieve and at the end of it I would still most likely want to start afresh –
I have a dream; I dream of something beamier and beautifully bedecked
And the road to (a) hull is paved with good inventions
Unless of course, you know better?
So keep an eye out for
(Er…. Don’t anyone hold their breath. Judging by the other flotsam floating around in my head, it may be a year or four yet.)
Those upgrades to Polly Wee are excellent - some of which I will shamelessly copy. A vertical stem to support MilliBee's mast and gaff as I seamlessly run under Hayling Island bridge would be a lot less hassle than crutches; which are longer and difficult to erect or stow.
I have a 1980s curtain pole of generous proportions, one of Laura Ashley's finest, that is just the ticket for a vertical mast support. An offset "y" shape comes to mind, offset to clear the rudder and the "u" shape to catch the mast more in less central from the tabernacle.
Watching Polly Wee from the rear is like watching a circus act of gravity defying dexterity. The extra foot for Looby Loo makes a lot of sense, as you now prefer to stay dry. With a wider waterline beam you may not need so much V angle at the sides, so a max beam of 5ft 3in might be the sweet spot? It's time to see those creative and curvaceous cardboard models.