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  • Writer's pictureMark

My parallel universe!

Something very strange happened yesterday morning. Asha wrote about how we decided to go onto a pontoon to hide from a northwesterly gale that, as I type, has almost blown itself out. Shortly after we moored on the pontoon another boat moored in front of us. I heard it arrive but didn't poke my head out to see what it was. Instead, it appeared in my line of sight when I stepped off the boat. My heart fluttered and my jaw dropped - literally. It was a 1960 Dutch Trawler called Monara. Monara caused me several sleepless nights a few years ago. She is a thing of beauty! She was built as a yacht, not as a commercial trawler and I first came across her when she was moored in Fambridge on the River Crouch, my home river. She was there for several years and I always loved to look at her. When she came up for sale I couldn't resist having a look. That was the wrong thing to do because I had sold my house and was wondering what ‘property’ I would buy to live in and I had already thought that a live-aboard boat was the way to go. The problem was that my previous circumnavigation of the UK on my old boat was already planned and, in fact, the execution of that plan was well in motion. I actually looked at Monara twice and very nearly put an offer in but what I deemed as sense and sensibility kicked in. I couldn't buy such a beauty and then go off sailing, leaving her sitting afloat and unloved until I returned. That would also have been contrary to how my mind works. A boat like that couldn't just be left. She would have had to have been my way of life so after the sense and sensibility kicked in, I looked at her no more. I always saw her when sailing past and quite inexplicably there was always a sense of longing.

Shortly after that she was sold and then she disappeared. I was sad and felt that maybe I had missed out but in truth, it just wasn't the right time for me. A boat like that needs love, lots of it and proper use. My fear for her was that she would be bought simply as a floating house and as such, all the things that make her a functioning boat would fall into disrepair and her boating days would be over, for ever.

How wrong I was and how pleased I was to be so. There she was, my parallel universe, moored in front of Altor of Down. Like an excited child I half walked and half skipped up alongside for a look. I called ‘Hello’ and spoke to the family of the Belgium owner and then, once he returned in his rib, the owner himself. I recounted my story and explained how close I had come and how excited and happy I was to see her not only being used, but being used properly and as it turns out extensively! She has already done a tour of Denmark, Sweden and West Ireland and she is soon to be taken on a world tour!

I have to admit that I would never have been able to lavish that life on her so she went to the right owner but of all the boats in all the world, the one that got away had to turn up on a pontoon in the Hebrides right under my nose. It’s a small world and I’m very pleased about that because seeing her again felt like a treat. She might be the one that got away but now I can see that fate intervened and she found the right home. In future I will imagine her elegantly cruising free instead of sitting forevermore shackled to a dock and never stretching her legs again.

What's more I can also check their website out at

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