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Issue 35 - Searching for sea legs

Whisky Magazine Issue 35
November 2003


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Searching for sea legs

Dave Broomdiscovers life on the ocean waves.

That's more like it.” Had I really said that? The bosun's jaw dropped.

It takes a lot to render him speechless. Then he grinned – a more common occurrence. “Did you hear that? We have a convert.”

I'd blurted it out unconsciously, but had meant it. We were underway, the Kings of Leon were on the stereo, the sails were up and we were scooting down Loch Sween. Was it just a day ago that I'd faced my fear of water and done what I swore I would never do – get on board a yacht and crew on a leg of this year's Classic Malts cruise?

In my mind sailing was elitist – all blazers, white trousers and strange caps with anchors on them. And I don't swim. I'm Glaswegian. We don't do water.

Well think again. I've learned a lot since I staggered on board with a bag which was, for some reason, stuffed full of boots. Such as you can't haul a winch without a rope. That might seem to be stating the bleeding obvious, but it's an easy mistake to make – and it's a good maxim for life.

The strange angle wasn't that scary either as long as you sat on the opposite rail with the Skipper yarning about music, books, basking sharks and islands. He talks of St. Kilda, of seeing a shifting shrieking shroud of whiteness. Gannets. An island composed of gannets.

We anchor and go in search of the still. The commodore tuts at our continuing blind adherence to fantasy. There's no sign of a still of course, but there is a superb old chapel, a meditation hole (which I get stuck in) and heart-stop...

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