Adam has been kind enough to post some of my scribbling and make me a guest author. The last piece was about my sailing Dutch Uncle, and his new boat. Well, this evening we went for a sail on said new boat. If it was a horse I'd have it shot. Where do I start? The thing looks right. It looks tough, purposeful, it looks the boat we both thought it was when he bought it: perfect for a sailor of a certain age who has just had two knees replaced, is not as spry as he was and needs some ease in his sailing. We climbed aboard: the previous owner had been a bodger. The interior was capacious, well appointed. The stuff that counts was a Greek tragedy. We motored down river waiting for the swing bridge to open. The tiller slopped around without much appreciable change in the boat's direction. The throttle position bore no relationship to engine revs. The outer harbour, we rounded up and set the main: a roller-reefing 'mechanism' has been tacked to the back of the (wrongly-placed) mast. The main is ill-cut - I think it was cut with garden shears - and sets like washing on a line. It sheets backwards from the boom end and has no traveller. You can set it, you can't shape it. Crap. We motorsail out of Whitby's historic piers, the North Sea tide hits us, Dutch Uncle is a sailor, we unroll the jib, kill the engine. The jib is cut badly, the botched rig means we can't get luff tension, the sheet lead... She doesn't get close to the wind. She doesn't tack, we tried everything, she doesn't tack. Hard to gybe, too. We'd sheet in, put her daft stern throught the wind, and be ready for the gybe...the main would stay ungybed way beyond the laws of physics. Einstein, Feynman, explain this, explain a supernova...wham, the stupid boom and bag o crap main finally comes across. On a beam reach she's alright. Not good, alright, But that's it. She's a dog. The disappointment in DU's eyes is obvious as we motorsail back to the harbour. We've sailed together so long we don't need orders as we motor up the harbour to the mooring: the bag o shite main skulks away, the fenders are out, the mooring lines ready. I've had some hard sails, I've never had such a disappointing one. On the way home, we discuss the boat's shortcomings. Is DU going to sell? 'I'm going to fix that rig. We're going to get that boat sailing properly. Then I may sell her.' I'd cut the rig off with an angle grinder and lob a burning flare in her, burn her to the waterline. You see, as DU went towards his car I'd met someone who knew the previous owner. 'Sailed it? Sailed it?' As though I'd asked had he flown it to Mars. 'No, in the twenty years he had it he never sailed it, he just came down every day to read the paper, drink coffee and get away from the wife...'