May 24, 2014

Alpha woman and the days of sail

Chey at the helm of Alpha, a Bristol Pilot Cutter built 110 years ago.
Although we live just 5 blocks from the Star of India and other fine sailing vessels in San Diego Bay, we do not get out on the water much because of Chey's health. However, 20 years ago Chey was an active sailor, studying for her Yachtmaster on the Isle of Wight and sailing historic wooden sailing ships around Scotland.

Chey's favorite was Alpha, a 52 foot Bristol Pilot Cutter. On one trip she sailed Alpha from Scotland to Portugal and back, straight up through the North Atlantic and around the western side of Ireland. Bear in mind that pilot cutters were the "built for speed" boats of their day, sleak, stripped of deck rails and any other impediments to pace. Why? Because pilots made their money guiding large cargo ships through coastal waters and into port. The pilot who was first to reach an incoming ship got the job!

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