The Log of Pure Energy



First Mate’s Log. Saturday July 3.

NOTE. This is a real hardback log. I am writing it with a pen. I got this notebook last Christmas. It is beautiful and should be used, pref. for something of historical importance like the history of the sloop Pure Energy. Underlined. That means the same as italics which you have to use for boat names.

Pure Energy may not be a sloop after tomorrow because we are going to bolt an oar on the fore deck to make a bowsprit. Then she will be a cutter. Andrew is going to borrow the drill and make holes in the oar blade for the bolts. We are allowed to do this to the fourteen because nobody believes she will last another summer. She is old and made of plywood and nobody sails her. So why not let us transmogrify her, they said.

Andrew has just made these comments:

One. Who died and made me first mate?

Two. It is news to him that his boat is called Pure Energy.

Three. The way I spell transmogrify is not how he would spell it. He thinks I should write in pencil.

Four. He sussed that I cannot spell “preferably” and has brought me the dictionary for which I thank him. Thank you, Captain! The name pure energy is from him saying over and over when we are sailing that the wind is pure energy and that the wind is free.

The Log also has a Volume Two which is a drawing book for plans of what we are doing to the boat and these plans will be numbered. (See Vol 2. Plan 1. The bowsprit.)

It was Andrew who made me first mate by making me crew for him in the first place. I always crew for him in the Kestrel. Our cousin Jake always crews for Sammy. We always win in the Kestrel races and those two say it is only that we are lighter. Andrew says he takes me because my great weight keeps the boat upright but our cousins have worked out the truth which is that I don’t weigh much at all.

Sammy got tired of losing races. So he and Jake have challenged us to a special race between boats adapted for extra speed. Anything goes, they said. Uncle Bryn is letting them have the Wayfarer and we will enter the fourteen with modifications.

The first thing Andrew thought of is get more sail on her. We will have a bowsprit and a fore sail ahead of the jib. I have to go hunt in the garage for some wire for the fore stay. Incidentally Sammy and Jake are staying in the west cottage so they have their own boat house. Andrew wishes we were not stuck with just the garage but he can always drive the car out. He is learning to drive.

Monday July 4. See Vol 2, Plan 2 for the bowsprit and fore sail. It is from the dinghy Mum and Dad used to have. Lucky they kept it in this house. Most of the things like spars and rigging are in the west cottage boat house, which gives our cousins a big advantage. But Dad’s extension cable makes a good fore stay.

We saw an ad in the paper for two sails that Andrew really wants. The wind is free, true, but sails cost money. However, we can make sails out of bed sheets. I am not great at sewing but the single fitted ones could work the way they are.

See Vol 2, Plan 3 for Andrew’s idea. We have to increase our waterline length. The longer the waterline the faster the boat. The Wayfarer is almost two feet longer than the fourteen and naturally will go faster. Andrew’s idea is outriggers. This means there is more length in the water even though the boat stays the same length.

Plan 4 shows where we can set extra sails ie the fitted sheets on the outriggers.

Wednesday July 7. See Vol 2, Plans 4 – 7. Andrew made the outriggers from the ply off the backs of our wardrobes. We put mastic in the seams to make them water tight. Andrew fastened them on with a frame made of kitchen chairs. Meanwhile Sammy and Jake are working in utter secrecy. We will soon know all, however. Sea trials tomorrow!

Thursday July 8. Sea trials put off due to gales. No problem swimming under water however to see what our rivals are up to. I dove under the boat house doors before breakfast. They have fitted a mizzen on the Wayfarer and also they bought the sails that we saw in the paper. Sammy has a job this summer. He can afford stuff.

Sunday July 11. First sea trial went well. Light westerly breeze. It took ages to set the two bedsheets but we will fix it, see Vol 2, Plan 8. Obviously they will not work going to windward but we are seriously fast on a run.

Our cousins did not bring the Wayfarer out. They think their design is a secret. Little do they know. Of course they have seen what we did. I think they looked worried.

Next Saturday is the actual race.

Tuesday July 13. Force 4 from the south. We practised furling and setting the extra sails. I can do it as long as Andrew keeps quiet. People can hear quite clearly from the beach and his language is not wonderful.

Thursday July 15. The captains have laid out a course from the beach to the channel marker and back. So we beat one way and run the other whichever way the wind is. Of course it could just be on our beam but I hope not because the extra sails would not work.

Friday July 16. We raced in the Kestrel (eleven boats counting us) and won. Jake and Sammy were third.

Saturday July 17. 7:30 am. I am writing this note before the race. Good luck, Pure Energy and all who sail in her! It is flat calm just now but there will be wind by 10 when the race starts.

4:05 pm. The great race is finished. However, there may be a rematch.

It was only Force 3 when we left the beach and beat up to the marker. The Wayfarer got there first in spite of our fore sail. She came round while we were still heading up. We were praying the wind would not change and make us beat back as well. It was shifting all round the compass. The sun went in and Andrew saw the horizon turning black. I was too busy to notice. Then when I did look up I saw this weird cloud above the horizon. It looked like there was a kitten’s tail hanging down towards the sea.

We were flying along with all sails set and closing in on the Wayfarer. Andrew said something like easy-peasy and then we realised there was too much wind. The fore stay snapped and the fore sail blew off and one of the extras ripped in half and wrapped itself round the rudder. The wind was incredibly loud. Andrew gave the order to abandon ship. We jumped overboard and Pure Energy vanished behind a solid pillar of water.

It got very quiet when the waterspout passed. We could see it moving away but Pure Energy was hidden. Then we saw her, still in its grip. She was heading for the beach.

The waterspout did not get the Wayfarer, which was running for the finish with only a light breeze. But our boat spun round like crazy, with spars and sails flying out every which way. The waterspout suddenly lifted, and Pure Energy shot straight out. She then went aground at the finishing line.

The Wayfarer came in second.


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