My old mate in Cairns, Brian Darcey, who was also on Bougainville when we built the mine, phoned me some weeks ago to say that he had had enough of looking at the walls of his suburbian unit and that he was going to live on a boat instead and do a spot of sailing. Well, he's just SKYPEd me from Picton in New Zealand where he's bought himself a H28 sailing yacht.
The Herreshoff H28 is a popular New Zealand design which was originally built in timber but later, when Compass Yachts started production, in a material her designer referred to as "frozen snot".
Brian will sail "Dara" back to Australia in late January after he's renamed her "Tekani II", after an island in the Nuguria Group in Papua New Guinea with which Brian has a personal connection. Not bad for an octogenarian (you know, somebody in his 80s - like October, the eighth month! The eighth month? Well, yes, it used to be the eighth month in the Roman calendar which began in March) who's also an aviator and a self-confessed late-blooming writer.
Brian's purchase almost fell through - literally! - when he fell into the water in Nelson Harbour and lost his driver's license, money, and credit cards. However, he phoned the credit card company's hotline and good ol' Betty in Bangalore had him all fixed up within 24 hours!
Need a crew, Brian?