From eyes meeting across a crowded bar, to consummation.

We’d always meant to buy a more substantial boat in a few years time, but Betty Alan came right out of the blue. Something of a coup de foudre. We’d not even thought about a gaff rigged boat, and I’d imagined one of those beautiful retired 60’s racing boats – a Holman by choice.

After many weeks of negotiating (with our hearts as well as the vendor), surveying, and commissioning, we embarked on the last step of the sea-trial. Jeremy Lines came as well – see the section for the boat herself – and within minutes was up the mast like, well, like a designer up a ratpole.

No wind to speak of at the sea-trial, but no big bangs from the machinery; the mast stayed up; Jeremy found nothing nasty, and off we went to the bank, in a mood of fear and anticipation. Jeremy remained to weigh the boat, using nothing more than a tape measure to measure the freeboard, something I’d read about, without really believing.

It was done. Ours. What a great adventure awaits: trepidation and disbelief stalks the decks .