Classic Boat


ot long ago, I found myself sailing on the East Coast with a crew of fellow writers assessing a smart modern yacht. Below decks, the vessel was entirely without charm. Plastic gleamed whitely between plywood panels and the only coloured fittings were a conspicuously mounted set of fire extinguishers. The main sources of boat fires are the engine room and the galley, but my shipmates and I didn’t do much cooking. We also motored as little as possible, so we were stacking up the odds against a visit from the fire brigade. It was only when I stubbed my toe on a shrewdly sited red canister that it struck me I hadn’t been involved in a fire afloat in decades. As I limped up on deck, we were reaching through the lee of a big oyster

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