I wrote in the last Join the Club notes about some misconceptions about the DCA; I now found that I had become prey to some of my own. Setting aside the lively rally scene, it was evident that there were a large number of multiple person crews – including many families – making quietly adventurous voyages; some were even writing them up. There were, of course, a fair few articles from lone sailors about their adventures, but it was evident that even many of them split their time between single handing and family sailing.
One such was Alan Glanville. A relative late comer to dinghy cruising, he sailed a Ness Yawl that he built himself. Lowly Worm III replaced the second of that name, an Essex Smack replica he had also built (as he had the first eponymous craft) and soon became well known as much for the adventurous voyages he made under sail and oar as for frequently turning up at rallies with one or more of his many grandchildren aboard.
Yet this great seaman, who had the ability to write about his pastime in almost lyrical terms:
The isolation of the anchorage [off New Island, Walton Backwaters] was wonderful; the reason I had wanted to come. A huge black dome of a sky merged into the flat dark water and mud. The lights of Harwich and Felixstowe formed a very thin line of light to the north-east, a few other scattered lights punctured the darkness to the south and above many stars were visible. Not a single boat anywhere.
(Taken from A Dream Cruise by Alan Glanville published in DCA Bulletin 159 pp. 24-26 1998)
was also the man who turned up at a DCA rally in Newtown Harbour on the Isle of Wight with a total of nine of his grandchildren and their friends aboard. In a way, he was an exemplar of the middle way of dinghy cruising.
By no means a solitary man, his family was central to his life and he involved them in his sailing. However, like many of us, he acknowledged that the more adventurous and often arduous aspects of dinghy cruising are not for all. We must be prepared to sail alone (or with a sole like-minded companion as crew), accepting both the limitations and freedoms this entails.