We were brought up on the south east coast
of the UK in a coastal village. As kids
we spent each 6 week summer holiday down on the beach swimming - and maybe thinking about talking to the few (seemed to be very few) girls around.
The beaches in that part of the world are all tidal, and in the UK as one often finds long 'breakwaters' built out - some of concrete - to help retain the sand.
It was no different where we were, at a place called Minnis Bay in Kent.
In my 13th year we'd spent the morning swimming and were sitting watching those few girls, plus shading our eyes to watch the very few boats that transitted across 'our' bay. But we all sat up when we saw a powered open catermaran - around 16 foot long with a big outboard on it - hurtling round the corner and racing
directly across the bay right in freont of us - only 100 yards offshore
We all knew he was not a local for his heading, along with the falling tide, meant he was about to try and cross one of the submerged concrete breakwaters at what seemed to be 20 knots - and with what we all knew was maybe 3 - 6 inches under his keel
The inevitable happened.
When we all waved frantically, the couple on board just waved back.
10 seconds later they hit with a real crash - and simply slid over the submerged concrete- and sank!
Swimming out to try and help two fully dressed adults get ashore may have seemed silly - but we did - and as they sat on the beach wringing water from trousers etc - they explained they had just purchased this boat along the coast in Margate and were taking it up the coast 15 miles to Herne Bay.
It had not cost them much, they said most of the value was apparently in the engine
- so a deal was struck.
If we 5 x 12 year olds could salvage
the engine for them - we could keep the boat!
It actually was not too hard. The thing was settled in only 10 foot of water, and the tide was still going out - so we dived to tie a rope
to the outboard, had another local adult dive to uncrew it for us, and collectively we dragged it back to the shore. We weighted the submerged hull
with big lumps of chalk to try and keep it stationery as the tide continued to go out - and as the sun set our new jointly owned boat began to appear before us.
It was a heap of rubbish.
Home build superstructure in plywood
with two fibreglass drop tanks
obviously from the local air base (which at that time was a USAF base).
But we loved it.
We drained the hulls with using short hoses as siphons, stuck two plastic bags across the two fractures in each hull
with Bostik, and for the rest of the summer we paddled that device up and down the beach (and kept replacing the plastic bags) until our arms dropped off.
It only lasted that one summer and got turned into a pile of jetsom when a late summer storm took it off the beach.
But it got me hooked - so despite it not having a sail - it was my very first boat.