Astrid – Chapter 7
No backing out now
‘You lucky girl!’ – Lottie Hansen (April 2022)
Sent: 29 April 2022 at 6.38 pm
Subject: The good ship Astrid
Such goings-on to report! I’ve bought a ship!! Well, a boat, a yacht technically, but a big, beautiful yacht. Take a look at the photos. Isn’t she a lovely girl? And her name is … Astrid!!!
The Astrid was built in 1927 in Portland, Victoria; kauri planking on jarrah frames and keel. She was designed as the gentleman’s yacht of a rich grazier and businessman: John D. Holland jnr. He hailed from Massachusetts, USA. I’ve been wading through the correspondence between him and the shipyard. I don’t think the previous owners threw away a single scrap of paper – there are great bulging files of it. A treasure trove!
John D. originally wanted a square topsail schooner. Maybe the old boy was dreaming of the Nantucket privateers of his youth. You know: those long, low clippers with the raked masts?
He was persuaded to go with a more sensible Bermudan rig instead, which could be handled by a small crew without the need to go aloft to hand sails. Still, she’s a bit of a pirate: a lean, fast vessel, light on the helm. A crew of three can easily handle her, but she’ll sleep twelve – when I’ve finished the below-decks fitout.
With a few modifications to the rig, I’ll be able to sail her single-handed. But it will be a lot more fun with an experienced first mate (BROAD HINT) and a hunky cabin boy or two.
Will you come over and visit us Astrids later this year? Please?!
Just give me a few months to get her shipshape. I’m hoping to get her back in the water by September.
Love and big, big hugs
Little Aussie Sis xxx
BTW Tom and I are separated. Probably looking at divorce.
Sent: 30 April 2022 at 2.02 am
Subject: Re: The good ship Astrid
Dearest Little Aussie Sis – or must I call you Captain Astrid of the Astrid now? 😆
Wow! You lucky girl. I am sooooooo jealous. She looks gorgeous. But she looks a lot of boat to handle solo. FaceTime me tomorrow – I want the FULL virtual tour, okay?
I’m really sorry, though. I can’t get away until January next year – too much going on with work and family. Henrik is starting a new job and Jan will be in his last year of school, as you know.
But I promise: I’ll come. Damn it, girly – just try and stop me!
PS ‘BTW’? Don’t you ‘BTW’ me, naughty Little Sis! That’s one hell of a bombshell you snuck in there. More info please! Immediately!!
PPS Henrik sends his love. He is worried about the hunky cabin boys. I told him the only cabin boy is likely to be Lachie, so not to fret. Unless there’s someone you’re not telling me about … ? … ?? … ???
Astrid frowned a little as she read Lottie’s email. ‘A lot of boat to handle solo.’ It was true: it would require an exceptional sailor.
Astrid was such a sailor – or at least, had the potential to become her. After a youth spent in and around small wooden craft, she had earned her Yachtmaster Ocean at 31. She was the veteran of a gruelling Melbourne to Hobart offshore race as navigator and radio operator on an Open 60. She had volunteered as watch officer on a couple of tall ship voyages, logging as many sea miles as her family and demanding job had allowed.
Still, Astrid the schooner was going to be a challenge for Astrid the shipwright and Astrid the sailor. The greatest challenge of her life.
There’s no backing out now, girly, she thought.
Next week in Astrid:
Astrid and Lachie make plans for the Astrid …