I've got "ishoos." Because I didn't concentrate at school I can't afford a proper boat. That's why I'm masquerading as some kind of evangelist nutter small-boat campaigner: my mission, to share the grief of sailing and boat ownership. If I can make it pay I'll buy a Sunseeker.
Dave was born at an early age and came to sailing fairly late in life, but when he did he found it transformative. For, as you know, no other leisure pursuit does so much damage to your dress sense or makes golf seem so appealing.
In 2005 Dave started writing his Mad About The Boat column in Practical Boat Owner, chronicling his mis-haps, adventures and encounters with the unfeasible salty characters of the sailing firmament. In his own words Dave says: “I count myself lucky I haven’t learned anything. That’s what gives me so much to write about.” Dave’s one regret is that his delinquent Jack Russell terrier, Bart - a randy little criminal mastermind with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - hates sailing.
That aside, sailing really has transformed Dave’s life, prompting the career journalist to leave London and live by the sea in Maldon, Essex on The River Blackwater. Along the way this sad old Ted has become a campaigner and champion of affordable small-boat sailing. As he says: “For a modest outlay you can buy a great little old boat that will give you holidays of a life time for a life time. You won’t enjoy them, but they will be cheap.”
In 2016 he undertook “Marlin’s Mission,” a 340-mile voyage in his 18ft Sailfish from Maldon to The Southampton Boat Show to show that cost is no barrier to getting afloat and encourage more people to get on the water. It’s a fact of modern economics that there’s an ever-growing fleet of good, cheap old fibre-glass, built tough in an age when things were made to last, and they’re getting cheaper all the time. Dave believes the truly sustainable way of sailing is to mobilise this dormant Armada, rather than consume more of the world’s unrenewable resources building new GRP boats from petro-chemical by-products.
In 2012 another thing transformed Dave’s life when he was paralysed from the waist down with a rare nerve illness called Guillain-Barré Syndrome. He recovered from that but now has an even rarer variant called CIDP, which means he loses mobility every four weeks or so, then spends three days in hospital where his legs are restored thanks to the antibodies from the blood of 800 donors. Another impetus of Marlin’s Mission was to raise money for www.gaincharity.org.uk, the charity that funds research into this rare illness and provides support for sufferers and families. Creating awareness of this rare condition and charity fund-raising remain a driving in all Dave does.
I've got "isshoos." Having Dave as an owner is downright humiliatin' for a numero uno top dog of my standing. I hates sailing, and Sailfishes in particular, cos as a Jack Russell I ought to have an owner wot's got a Sunseeker, a very large one. Mind you, I don't half fancy those furry fenders you find on Hallberg Rassys.