Silly Punts and Zealous Sailors


Recently in another category I talked of my cruiser which lived near my house in the small marina known as Carters Boat Yard. It was owned by my mate Roy, my regular partner in the taking of pints of Charles Wells bitter, and his long suffering wife, Annie. When it came to angling I always described Roy as a dabbler. He liked it enough to go but was happy at not being very good at it.

Another mate of ours was Pete. I wouldn’t describe Peter as a carpenter but more of a craftsman with wood. He was brilliant. Roy decided that to get to the fish proper like, he needed to be afloat and although he owned an immaculate cruiser it wasn’t the job to be fishing off. Roy provided Pete with plans to build a punt from marine ply. Pete duly obliged and the job was done.

I was invited to view Roys new toy which nestled proudly in the boat house, and then on to watch the official launch. The job was well up to Pete’s high standard and was as pretty as a picture. The only thing was I wasn’t going to get in it. Although very well made the sides were little more than 1ft high giving a draught of probably 10 inches.

I kept my council and the punt was duly launched from the slip into the area behind where I had my fishing tackle shop. Roy jumped in and began ‘punting ‘ it around the sheltered cove away from the main river. I was then invited on board but declined the offer making the excuse that duty called.

A few days after Roy asked me if I wanted a trip about half a mile downstream to where a cut entered the main river. It was a well known spot for catching big chub, bream and the odd huge carp. He told me that if I wanted to go the punt would make it’s maiden voyage early the following morning. I told him that Simon the lad who worked in the shop was off for the day so I had to be behind the counter.

The following dinner time I wandered down to Roy and Annies house as I needed to talk to Roy about a bit of business. Annie invited me in informing me that Roy would be in shortly as there was a gent sitting in the lounge who had made an appointment to see Roy with a view to leaving his 40 ft cruiser on a vacant berth in the boat yard. I walked through to be met by a middle aged man, resplendent in blazer and sailors hat. Through the lounge window I could also see sitting at anchor is  very resplendent cruiser.

After thirty minutes Roy was nowhere to be seen and my ear was getting well and truly bashed by tales from captain Hooray Henry.

I was just about to make my excuses and leave when I heard the kitchen door open with a mighty crash. Roy entered the lounge soaked from head to toe. It was obvious he had taken a full immersing. Captain Hooray offered Roy his hand and then quickly withdrew it.

Now Roy was and still is a firey little bugger at the best of times. I struggled to hold back laughter as I began to see steam coming down Roys nose.

Looking directly at Hooray he gave a direct order. ‘Get your Fin boat out of my yard before I sink it just like you sunk my Fin punt,’ he said. ‘You knew you had sunk me but you just carried on you Fin###### asshole. All my gear is sitting on the bottom of the Great Ouse. Anybody who goes that quick on this river has no place in my yard now F off.

As Hooray very quickly climbed the steps on to his boat I swear a brown stain began to appear on the rearof  his trousers. Off he went never to be seen again. As for the punt. It was rescued and the last time I saw it it was sitting propped up against the wall of the granary.




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