A Poetic Voyage

My eyelids were getting heavy…

It was about 1am. Night watch, a stunning calm night, phosphorescence glittering in our wake, and the blinking distant light of Cape Campbell in the distance. I was motor sailing Wildwood on our (almost) annual pilgrimage 183 miles north from Lyttelton Harbour to the Marlborough Sounds for the summer holidays.

We were travelling in convoy with our friends on Flying Machine. They were about five miles behind having given us an hour and a half leading Mark Foy start about 20 hours earlier.

“Doodoloo” my phone springs to life. Its Craig on board Flying Machine for an update on our position. (Its not like we are racing – right?!)

He and Mike are on watch. Mike is reading “Fatal Storm” by red torch light, a book that Craig commented was best read while curled up safely ashore. I had to agree.

Texting was a welcome distraction, waking me up, but made me veer all over the place – hand steering in these conditions gives me something to do and keeps me awake, but with a non-functioning compass light it makes things a bit more challenging staying on course. Thank goodness I wasn’t on the road! (is texting while sailing illegal yet?)

So anyway Craig suggested that to keep ourselves awake we should write limericks.

Where he got that idea from I have no idea, but – brilliant!

He came up with the first line:

“There once was a man from Dunsandel”

(Which for those of you who don’t live in Canterbury – is a small town just out of Christchurch on State Highway One, and its got a pie shop – and thats about it.)

So then it was my turn to come up with the next line:

“Who loved to go out in his Jandals”

(Jandals – for those of my readers who aren’t from New Zealand – Jandals are flip flops, or thongs or those rubber shoes that you wear on your feet… you got it?)

Craig’s turn!

“His Jandals were huge

Much stranger than use”** 

(**pronounced as in the abbreviated version of “usual” – uge)

And then I got to finish off with:

“They were almost impossible to handle!”

As I am writing this post and having to explain every line of the poem, I am kind of thinking that perhaps these limericks were really entertaining for us, but perhaps not quite so interesting and funny for everyone else…? Anyway you decide if you want to read on or not… here was the next one…

There once was a small yacht called Wildy

She was gorgeous and so lovely inside she

She sailed through Cook Strait

It was getting quite late!

Her skipper was glad of her she wee!


You’ll have to read the post about She Wee’s if you don’t understand what that one is all about!


Have you heard of the yacht Flying Machine?

She really is a sight to be seen!

How will you know 

How fast she can go

Unless her bum is kept particularly clean!


Craig had very kindly donned his SCUBA gear and cleaned both Wildwood & Flying Machine’s bottoms in preparation for the voyage north.

So all that poetry had taken us about an hour and then it was time for me to go to bed. Kyra was coming on watch and I was really keen for some sleep.

After a lovely long snooze I was back up again for my sunrise watch, while the tide changed and our speed over ground just about ground to a halt.


I text Craig:

The current is currently quite currenty

Its slowing us down quite alarmingly

Two small boats in Cook Strait

Cake for breakfast is quite great

And it feels like the sun is smiling at me!


As we approached the entrance to Tory Channel, I noted that we hadn’t seen any shipping across the Strait at all. This worried me. Given I was almost run over by a ferry the last time I went through this very narrow channel which has about 7 kts of current at full flow. I swear my grey hair has been caused by this area of water…

So for our final limerick:


There once was a flotilla of ferries

Who thought it would be kinda merry

To hide and await

Two small boats in Cook Strait

And sneak up and give them a scarie


If Craig was using the poetry as a way of catching up on us, it had definitely worked. But we still managed to cross through the entrance to Tory Channel a boat length ahead. Its not often that we beat this speedy racing boat in any kind of race, (even with a head start) and I expect its the first time that a limerick has nearly won a yacht race – but as far as tactics and entertainment go, I can highly recommend it!

A3pNLDB2S8iJsCciyoLn2gThanks to my crew Justin & Kyra

For much more fabulous poetry afloat, check out my friend Beach Poet Bob. Bob’s love of poetry, and Craig’s limerick inspiration on this voyage has inspired me to bring a bit more poetry in to my sailing.

If you’ve got any limerick lines – or complete poems to share – please add them in the comments below!

IMG_20191130_075501Thank you for the beautiful photo Jesse Riddell

6 thoughts on “A Poetic Voyage

  1. Beach Poet BOB thanks the Little Ship Co. for the regular opportunity to recite his “Beach Therapy” themed words and write for members requests. Recently on a 500nm coastal cruise a crew member challenged him to a poetry slam, then requested a written report. (Tech. gruru)

    Pleasantly cruising on a keeler,
    cannot get much realer.
    With at least two on deck,
    and nothing about to get wrecked;
    Inspired by warm fuzzy nature around,
    crew members can engage
    impromptuly verbalising poetry rounds,
    admiring each others sweet sound.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Viki,
        Your support has motivated me to step up three quite different businesses this year.
        I did a spot last Tuesday at “Kensington Fun” house with the Can do comedy crowd.
        Taylor Ruddle gave me 4mins after “Crazy chicken Lady”.
        Nice to get positive feedback from younger people with performing Arts degrees.
        Got invited back this week.
        Written 5 pages of my next booklet now.

        Liked by 1 person

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