Walk In Movies Boatyard Style

We met Ian and his wife Jean at a bring-and-braai at walk-in “movie night” where we improvised a movie screen by rigging a computer projector and stretching an old bed sheet between two palm trees to view “The Kings Speech”. This arrangement was also used to play x-box and computer games projected onto a giant screen suspended below our boat- making Bill the hero of the boatyard amongst the younger set. Ian and his wife are ex-Rhodesians who had spent an interesting life farming and operating various businesses before retiring aboard their steel sloop “Ocean Spray”. Stocky, bandy legged Ian has completed several circumnavigations and invariably has a personal anecdote about every port and yachting destination. Unlike “terrestials” yachties are more concerned with their waterlines than their waist lines. The unending struggle to resist the temptation to accumulate non-essential belongings that weigh the boat down ever lower in the water is a source of constant concern and discussion. Many embarrassed owners have reluctantly repainted their waterlines after failing to pare down excess baggage. Grizzled Ian, beer in one hand ever-present half-smoked cigarette in the other, was regaling the less experienced yachties how he had worked out the definitive plan to return his ever submerging boat to its marked waterline. “I told Jean that anything I have not used in the last six months has to go!” Deadpan, Jean interjected – “So I told Ian -I suppose that means me too!” as the assembled yachties roared with laughter.

Uli ( short for Ulysses, a retired Greek Café Owner, who owned several boats guffawed more heartily than most. He had sold up in Benoni, and moved his wife and teenage daughter from their luxury home and suburban lifestyle onto a gigantic steel ketch that was too large for the walk on moorings so he had tied her up against the concrete jetty usually reserved for international arrivals. Uli’s women were clearly ill at ease in the yachting community. They still wore make-up and nail polish and changed their outfits at least every other day. Clearly the transition from suburban shopping centres and leisurely lunches was going to be difficult for them. Ian was explaining how his boat “Ocean Spray” was named after the vessel design used by his hero Joshua Slocum who had circumnavigated single-handed over one hundred years previously in a sloop named Spray -the design of which would remain virtually unchanged for over a century. He pointed out another Spray moored nearby. It was owned by another ex-Rhodesian and was aptly named “Settlers Edge” –which needed no explanation. I asked Uli why he had chosen to name one of his yachts FIFO. He smiled broadly at the group who clearly were keen to know the origin of the name.

“It’s an acronym which encapsulates my business and personal philosophy. He studied the puzzled faces of the group mischievously

“It stands for Fit In Or Fuck Off!” I cringed as he shot a challenging glance toward his wife and daughter who pretended not to be listening.


About seashoes

I am Lawrence Huntingdon-Rusch, writing as Don Darkes. This choice of pseudonym is due to the fact that I am also writing a Biographical memoir provisionally titled, Darkest Africa My Life of Crime, the life story of an incredible man, Don Darkes, who was given this identity, at birth, in order to keep a secret and the fact that like him, my given name is also an accident of birth concealing my true heritage. I am fifty-something and have been ecstatically married for over three decades to my incredible wife Anne who bore me three miracle children. After repudiating my Psychology degree in the mid-seventies I served my mandatory National Military Service in a clandestine, top-secret unit stationed in (then) Rhodesia -for which I received a medal. (The subject of a novel in progress) During the eighties, at the height of apartheid, together with (then illegal) “black” partners I built a successful manufacturing company which I sold to buy the yacht upon which I was shipwrecked together with my wife Dianne, our five year old son Bill and four year old daughter Morgan. After returning destitute to South Africa I rode a ripple in the dot.com wave and cashed in my Internet start-up in order to distribute rare organic chocolate and to research a challenging historical novel, The Madagascar Plan, which explores an intriguing link between the Jewish Holocaust and Madagascar. Currently, together with my wife, son and two daughters we reside high off the ground amongst the branches of a Casuarina tree as the family works together to build another yacht whilst I also work on several books that have as a common denominator, my love of history and my belief that fact is stranger and far more interesting than fiction.
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