Not long afterwards, I joined the North West Venturers Yacht Club, based at Gallows Point in the Menai Straits on Anglesey. I was fortunate enough to get permission to lay my own mooring there and duly moved the boat from Rhyl.
Throughout the summer, whenever I had time off from my job, the whole family would climb into our mini van with clothes, bedding and provisions and drive to Anglesey for the weekend. It was from there that we enjoyed many cruises through the Menai Straits, round Anglesey, across to the Isle of Man and Ireland.
One day, the Pilot Manager rang me up to say that a Naval Lieutenant, who had just returned from the 1968 trans-Atlantic race, was docking at Eastham to continue up to Manchester and was asking whether I would like the trip up. He was, of course, looking for a free Pilot, but that did not deter me. I seized the opportunity to experience being aboard a large sailing boat. At 53ft long, the Spirit of Cutty Sark (pictured right), was more than twice the size of “Lobo”.
I enjoyed the trip and a couple of weeks later the owner telephoned me asking whether I would take her down the canal to Liverpool. We enjoyed a trouble free trip to Tranmere during which he told me he was bound for Dun Laoghaire in Ireland. Being on leave it didn’t take me long to agree to accompany him. It was during this trip that the power of a large boat was brought home to me.
The trip to Ireland and then back across the Irish Sea to Holyhead on Anglesey ws a revelation to me confirming my belief that a large boat was the answer. But how to get one was another question! The answer, of course, was to build one ...