We live by the sea, and there is a boatyard a few hundred yards away from us, full of beautiful vessels, well-maintained, well-loved, and well-used. There is a vibrant yachting/bating community here, and a special place in the pub for the ‘yachties’ to sit and yarn and tell sea stories.
In my latest novel ‘Night Vision’ there are several scenes set in a boatyard, situated at the imaginary place of Westope. Unlike my village, Westope is little more than the boatyard, ships chandlers and public toilets. Part of the story revolves round an old and ruined boat, which has sat in the yard, propped up and unloved for nearly thirty years, gradually falling into decline. It’s never used, but it stays there because someone pays for it to be there. All the boats in a boatyard have to pay to stay there, even old ruined ones like the one n my story. A friend who read my story wondered why people leave boats to rot; well, in ‘Night Vision’ there is a reason, which I guess would never apply to people in real life who have neglected craft.
In reality boats are expensive, even little ones; it’s expensive to maintain them, to keep them in a safe condition to sail or use. I’m not a yachtie, so I can’t tell you all the things that have to be done, but I guess it involves bilges and barnacles, repainting and refitting and repairing. I’m not a yachtie, but it’s a sad sight indeed to see a lovely old boat slowly dying, neglected and unloved.