Duncan Kay and Offshore Memories

»«Sunday 16th January 2011

Duncan Kay's talk 'Offshore Racing' brought out both the members and the sunshine! It was standing-room only for the latecomers and members came from far and wide to hear of Duncan's adventures, especially those connected with Morning Cloud.

There were five boats all called Morning Cloud, each bigger and better than the one before and Duncan became a permanent member of the crew through his association with Jean Berger. Sailing with Ted Heath was quite complicated; before he became Prime Minister, crew meetings took place in his flat in the Albany but afterwards in either at Number 10 or at Chequers, the country house reserved for the Prime Minister. Duncan recalled one meeting when the chairs laid out in the garden were removed as the PM reckoned the meeting would be much shorter if they all had to stand up!

Duncan also told the tale of a Fastnet Race in 1967, sailing on Jean Berger's Joran when tricky wind and tide conditions were such that they were sailing perilously close to the Rock. This caused one of the lighthouse keepers to shout to them to go away as it was dangerous! They had to resort to their engine and then report the fact to the race committee which resulted in a penalty, effectively putting them out of the race.

Duncan's last slide showed a curly-haired Maureen, holding a small daughter, identified as Sophie, as the reason why he ceased to dedicate each weekend to sailing on the high seas. It was lovely to see both Maureen and Sophie there, giving encouragement and technical assistance.

The next event in the Cruisers' Winter Programme is Sunday February 13th when Pete Willetts will be talking about sailing on the Thames Estuary. Please note the date in your diary. See you there!

Wendy Eagling