This is the big news.
Forget meeting Kirsten Neuschäfer in the Marina office. Forget the local paper coming to interview me today – they did.
The big news is that I have a cockpit table!
Being able to sit up for breakfast in the sunshine with your plate in front of you and not drop apricot jam all over your lap is, I would suggest, one of the (few) advantages of new boats over old ones and something I have been trying to contrive in my 1973 Rival for as long as I can remember.
In fact, this ambition for al-fresco dining pre-dates Samsara. I wanted a cockpit table in Largo – and that was back in 1981.
The problem was always where to put it – for one thing, the Rival cockpit is snug, to say the least – which is just what you want for bashing into half a gale, but not a lot of good for fine dining. Also, what are you going to do with a cockpit table when you set off into said gale?
The obvious solution – as always with small boats – was to delve into the Lin and Larry Pardey philosophy of making everything on the boat serve two purposes (half a dozen would be better).
I thought about the lid of the chart table or a bunk board (too big); maybe a washboard (too small).
Meanwhile, there were other things to think about – a new one-piece washboard for one. By the time I had slotted in the old one’s three pieces behind me, it was time to go out again.
And, I must say, the new washboard with Its window so you can see why you don’t want to go out there after all and its 12 coats of varnish, really is a work of art. It is only now that I realise it is neither too big nor too small for a cockpit table. In fact, if only I could find some way of fitting it with legs, it would be perfect.
If there was some way of mounting it on top of the tiller, it wouldn’t need legs, would it? Maybe some folding attachment underneath…
I will spare you the trial and error – there is nothing more boring than mad inventors trying to explain the development process. Suffice it to say that because Samsara’s original owner, the extraordinarily innovative Birmingham engineer who fitted her out from a hull, had contrived two raised locker lids for the lazarette (which could double as seats high enough to see where you were going), one end of the washboard (sorry cockpit table) could fit under the handles. Then it turned out that the plastic container which soaks my breakfast porridge was just the right size to support the other end (more dual-purpose).
It turns out the whole thing is as solid as a rock. The raised seats make an excellent sideboard. Now you could hold a dinner party in Samsara’s cockpit. Well, a dinner party for two, perhaps.
So don’t all turn up at once.