Nicholas's blog

Starting "Wild English" (1) Buying the school boat

Gig and sea-dog

The adventure begins

In winter 2013, I decided to start a summer language school on the west coast of Scotland. We teach English to people from other countries. The theme of the course is the natural environment. We do "citizen science" projects and learn practical skills. See Wild English.

Where can you find the maximum number of birds and animals? The most biodiversity? The best place in western Europe is is at the coast. And the further you go from cities and people, the more wildlife you find. Clearly I needed a boat!

I thought of buying an ordinary yacht like a Westerly 27, but I wanted to be very close to the coast. I also wanted to go up small rivers and into marsh / wetland areas. Maybe a catamaran? I went to look at a Wharram Tiki 26, but small catamarans don't have much space inside. Then I saw an advertisement for a classic sailing gig. I went to have a look. The boat was made of wood, and built in 1934. She (boats are always 'she') was half full of water and dead vegetation. Some of the wood was rotten, and she had a trailer which looked as if it came from the Titanic. This was a boat, not a yacht. However, I fell in love!

A gig is a long, thin boat. A light rowing gig goes very fast with oars, or with a small sail. A heavy sailing gig like mine needs larger sails, and it's a good idea to have an engine too. A gig sails very fast downwind, but not very well upwind.

This photo shows the gig in 2013, and the salty sea-dog (not me) who put her on her trailer:

Buying the gig

And here she is back home, after an overnight drive. My, that's a big boat...

The gig at home

That's a very big boat...

Bigger than a Land Rover

This is going to be fun:

This is going to be fun...