Like an old 60’s comedian coming out of retirement, I have returned to sailing to discover that the world has changed. The Environment has taken over.

I’m sure it’s a good thing. In fact, as we shall see later, I am going to be doing my bit when it comes to putting an end to plastic waste at sea.

But I was not prepared for what has happened to anti-fouling.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that you got a bucket of water and some coarse wet & dry paper… and after half an hour, you hands, your clothes, your hair – not to mention the ground all around the boat was bright red – or blue – or black of whatever was the colour of the stuff you were rubbing off.

Not any more. Now we know about “Ground Water” and the effect of chemicals on micro-organisms.

Quite how it was going to get into the water course through the tarmac of the hard-standing, was never explained. However, one thing was abundantly clear: Samsara’s generous coating of TBT and Micron and every type of organotin constituted an environmental disaster (I have since looked it up and it quite put me off my fish supper).

“So how,” I asked Barry who had just imparted the dire warnings, “am I supposed to get it off”.

The words “Specialist equipment” and “Hazchem suit” featured in the explanation – along with the news that he had everything that was needed, together with a fit young man who would be happy to spend a couple of days crawling around under the boat scraping away while a vacuum cleaner attached to the scraper sucked up all the toxins.

It’s a wonderful system – and do you know what’s wonderful about it? Cooking breakfast to the accompaniment of “scrape-scrape-scrape” coming through the hull, knowing you don’t have to do it yourself.