My first Sailing Yacht came along in the guise of Hector, a Westerly Chieftain based on the famous Centaur Hull and Saloon but with 2 berths in a forward facing rear cabin. She was 27 ft LOA (including Bowsprit), 8˝ ft beam and 3 ft depth with wheel steering (reverse position IE behind the Helm) and there were around 75 built. Hector was built in the 1970's ours being no 68 and a late build. Our engine was the original Volvo MD2B producing some 25 Bhp with the benefit of a very heavy Flywheel and the ability of starting with a "handle".
Soon after her purchase I started looking for Partners to share the cost of running a yacht. A neighbour joined me for a while but soon realised he wanted his own boat. As I worked Shifts my free weekends were few & far between so a partnership had several advantages. After visiting several local Sailing Clubs I soon joined YOSC and not long after had acquired several Sailing Partners. This system worked very well and continued until her sale (for the deposit on my next venture). I was lucky as within YOSC there was a very experienced sailor without a yacht and having the spare time acted as my Mentor for several years. Experience is something you really cant be taught (and must have) but the Theory was a steep learning curve, one I enjoyed very much. Many thanks Eric.
With a little help from Ivan Bole of Arun Sails, I improved her by adding a Cruising Chute made of the most gaudiest, fluorescent colours I could choose. That would at least make us stand out. My choice bit back though on a return trip to France with the VHF call of “Put it away - we don’t have enough Sun Glasses to go round”. Then a little later just to emphasize the call Concorde flew past with its unique double “Bang”. That’s something we won’t hear for a while.
We sailed her all around the Solent, IOW, days East & West and France from Fe Camp in Normandy to Trebeurden in North Brittany finding many obscure moorings testing our navigation skills. These Westerleys will go anywhere! We installed modern VHF, Depth and Speed instrumentation but after the installation of Decca and later a portable Garmin GPS-50 our navigation became much easier although retaining my practical skills of 'doing it the old way' became more important as these modern methods were less reliable in the early days. Even more so now as my intention was to achieve "Yachtmaster" status. Well, at least that was my Dream.
My experience was rocketing but I still craved for more.