It's Howard's Way... not Martin's way
Classic Boat|January 2021
Martin Black recalls a rare win, uncelebrated; and a chance at fame, unrequited
Martin Black

Throughout my yachting career, the adulation of the crowd has always eluded me – although the carping of critics has not. That sense of failure exhibited itself quite earlier on. It was a nice bright, breezy day on the Firth of Forth and I had persuaded my good friend Pebbles to try the heady delights of sailing a Loch Long. The weather was warm and the prospects were promising for a fine day out on the water.

It is fair to say that the briny was not Pebbles’ natural element. Show him a golf course, or better yet, a well provisioned dinner table and he will be up and running like a beagle who has caught the scent of a fox. The concept of mother nature throwing buckets of cold water at him for an entire afternoon did not seem to light his fire. Still, I pointed out, it would give him bragging rights when he next sat down with his fellow trenchermen.

I steadied his nerves with a few glasses of G&T, then we stepped from the club launch onto our trim little craft. I set Pebbles pumping out the rainwater while I rigged and hoisted the sails. Soon we were off, making for the harbour entrance. I saw that the other members of our fleet had just started a race and I decided to cross the start line and give chase. Our course took us close-hauled off to the first mark, a few miles away. I ordered Pebbles to sit on the side deck.

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