In his article The Art of Telling What Happened for The New Witness Arthur Ransome commended the members of the Royal Cruising Club for their unvarnished accounts of their experiences afloat. In my brief introduction to the article I suggested that its last words ('I think I had better buy a boat') staked out an ambition that was both nautical and literary, an ambition that was to be fulfilled some dozen years later by the building of Racundra and the publication of Racundra's First Cruise.

In the 1911 article special praise was reserved for Walter Ledger's description of his cruise in Blue Bird; that description is reprinted here from a limited edition of 50 copies, presumably prepared (and hand-corrected) by Ledger himself. It is not difficult to understand the charm of Ledger's account for AR: try, for example, the poetic description of Pin Mill, the story of the saucepan (playing on the reputation of yachtsmen for borrowing things and not returning them), or his description of some 1911 Hullabaloos.

As it happens, in 1911 Ransome was introduced to Ledger by Robert Ross, Oscar Wilde's literary executor, when he was collecting material for his book on Wilde. In addition to his many other interests, Ledger was a noted bibliographer, and according to AR had a wonderful collection of Wilde books in his house at Wimbledon.

He invited me to go sailing with him, but Ross told me that at intervals he suffered from homicidal mania and was accustomed to have himself shut up. I have always regretted that I did not sail with him, for he kept his Blue Bird at Pin Mill, and, if I had gone, I should have known that charming anchorage twenty years earlier. Such eccentricity in Ledger as I saw was quite harmless. He used to come to town dressed as an old-fashioned Jack Tar, with open neck and a blue-and-white sailor collar and bell-bottom trousers. He was an extremely efficient seaman, used to make up all his own rigging, was a member of the Royal Cruising Club which I was to join a dozen years later, and in general brought a strange breath of salty air into the somewhat greenhouse atmosphere of the literary Nineties. (Autobiography, p. 142).



A lady was once heard to say of two charming brothers, that when in the society of one, she preferred the other, and I fancy that he who possesses (or is possessed of) many hobbies, must at times experience a very similar feeling.

The thought struck me as spring was fast moving into summer, and I was still enthralled by the beauty of early flowers in my little garden.

Not wholly in the busy world nor quite
Beyond it, blooms the garden that I love.
News from the world comes to it . . .
indeed, but is little heeded while the last perfection of form and colour lingers among the tall May tulips.

That longing for "the other" became more insistent while the harvesting of the bulbs was in progress (a fascinating work the tulip fancier never leaves to others), but at last, with feeling curiously blended of anxiety for the garden I was leaving, and an almost painful longing for the sea, and the little craft I was about to join, I found myself steaming out of London for a good long spell afloat.

This was to be my second season with the "Blue Bird," which I bought last year.

I had been obliged to part with the much smaller "Shrimp" – for over twenty years my faithful little ship; but for reasons of health that could not be gainsaid, she had become quite unsuitable.

The "Blue Bird" is mentioned several times by Donald Cree in his "Cruise of the 'Gulnare,'" published in last year's "Journal," but I will now describe her more fully.

A pole-masted cutter, with spoon bow and elliptical counter, and rather high freeboard, her registered tonnage is 5.09 gross, and 3.66 net tons. Length O.A. 31.3; B.P. 25.9; beam 6.9, and draught just under 4.5. She is copper-sheathed, has a lead keel, and a quantity of inside lead ballast. Originally built as a yawl, by Messrs. Garwood, of Great Yarmouth, in 1896, from designs by F. Shepherd, M.I.N.A., she was almost re-built in 1908, when she was converted into a cutter, with flush decks, lengthened and heightened, her cockpit and cabin remodelled, the new skylight giving about 5ft. 6in. headroom below. The cabin is built of teak, the sides being cedar-wood. There are cupboards on each side of the forecastle door, and I have had two sideboards placed aft of the sofa bunks, with shelves above for books, &c. Under the self-draining cockpit is placed a 20-gallon water tank, with a pipe leading to a tap in the forecastle. This is a great comfort to a single-hander, being a sufficient supply for a month. The forecastle is roomy, and has a hatch, which both lifts and slides. There is a small folding cot, of ample size for a boy, but as I never carry that source of trouble and anxiety with me, it serves as sail-locker. The double primus stove and utensils also live here, and can be manipulated while sitting in the cabin; and on the back of the door is fixed a hinged support for a wash-basin, and a box close by (both being of my own construction) holds soap, brushes, glass, &c.

An oak table that can be folded securely out of the way, a Benson swing lamp, with silk shade, net racks on each side, and an Indian matting on the floor complete the fittings of the cabin. The cushions and bunks, covered with cretonne of an old design of exotic flowers and blue-birds, give the cabin a very bright and cheerful appearance, particularly when lighted up at night. I cannot understand the preference so often shown for stuffy and dusty-looking Brussels carpet, velvet or serge for cabin upholstery, generally of dark and dull colours, ''which change," to use William Morris's phrase, "into all kinds of abominable and livid hues."

A rather tall, square boom-crutch allows of nearly standing room under the cockpit awning, so necessary for privacy in a harbour.

Wykeham-Martin roller gear are fitted to both jib and staysail, the cords leading aft with the sheets; and fixed on deck between the skylight and the mast is a kind of open box or "pound" that I made with teak battens and into which are stowed warps, fenders, and all the falls of the halyards belayed to the spiderband round the mast. The decks being rather rounded, this has proved most useful, nothing placed in it going adrift. The tiller and metal fittings on deck are of heavy gun-metal. The sail area is about 500 sq. ft., and the boat is fairly speedy, and points remarkably well, particularly when sailed without the staysail.

But I am on the point of forgetting that

L'art d'ennuyer est celui de tout dire,
and must proceed to other matters.

I was detained a considerable time at Pin Mill, as there was much to do on board completing the fitting-out. Besides which, I had not quite recovered from a breakdown in health last year, followed by a sharp attack of influenza in the spring, and I found I was still unequal to much continuous physical strain. This affected my little cruise throughout,– but I will not again refer to the subject, lest my yarn be thought the morbid lucubration of a hypochondriac.

But, after all, what a charming spot in which to be detained! It is true, you do not quite get the actual sea-air, and people with sensitive olfactory organs sometimes detect the odours of a drainage farm up the river, and the facilities for landing are abominable. But the scenery around is of surpassing beauty. The fine sweep of park-land across the stretch of water, with Orwell Place and Broke Hall screened and embosomed in the thick foliage of glorious trees, the still finer Wolverstone Park close by, its immemorial oaks spreading to the water's edge, its bracken-bordered paths deep shaded with birch and beech and odorous pine; the silent, mysterious, undulating, deer-haunted glades through which one is privileged to wander, are beyond my powers to describe. Pin Mill itself, its clustered cottages dotted promiscuously by the river side, crowned by the church tower of Cholmondistone, the little postal village up the road on higher ground, presents a picture of quiet rural charm, infinitely soothing to the jaded busy man.

There are always some yachts stationed here, and frequent arrivals and departures sustain the interest and animation on the water.

It happened that, during my stay, only two members of the Club came in, Dunbar Kilburn and G. R. Pember, on board the "Cachalot."

But one evening a suspicious-looking man, or so he seemed in the dark, came alongside in a dinghy to borrow my saucepan – his own, he said, having sprung a leak."It's a very good saucepan," I remarked, as I reluctantly handed it over, "the only one I've got, and I'm a poor man and . . ." "All right," he said, "you'll get it back," and disappeared in the night. Filled with misgivings, I sang out, "I forgot to say that I'm also an orphan."

"A what?"

"An orphan," I wailed.


Later on a strange thing happened (I quote Haggard). The saucepan was returned. The next morning the mysterious borrower had vanished.

Just before leaving, a friend joined me for a day or two, and took some photographs, and at last, on Friday morning, the 4th of August, I dropped moorings at 6.45 a.m., and headed down the river. Wind S.W. moderate; bar. 30, steady. Monarch of all I surveyed, in sole command of a well-found tight little ship, a favourable breeze, a sunny morning,

Oh, fairer than a summer's night
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars,
this was indeed a moment worth waiting for!

Passed Shotley Point 7.40; bell buoy off Landguard Point 8. Here I overtook "Coo-ee" an aux. boeier, which had left Pin Mill earlier in the morning. Cork L.-V. 8.35; Aldborough Ridge at 12.45. The wind, light at times, followed me round Orfordness, headed me for awhile, then backed and became strong off Dunwich. By this time both wind: and sea had risen considerably, so I decided to make for Walberswick, which I had never visited.

I got in at 3, and found excellent accommodation alongside dolphins, one of several sets above the steam ferry connecting Walberswick with Southwold, "Coo-ee" coming in some time after me, moored close by. The harbour is small, but I am told has been much improved, and is pleasant and convenient. The dues on 3 tons came to 6d. The coastguard who collected it, and some fishermen, pleased with the modest tip a modest man could give, helped me most willingly to moor. There is no great depth of water here, and I was partly on the mud at low tide. A great haunt of artists; I was struck with the absence of the "tripper" element, and much enjoyed my few days' stay. Distance run, 34½ nautical miles. The next day (5th) the weather was boisterous." Estrella," R.C.C., came in. Bar. (9.20 p.m.) 29 85.

SUNDAY 6TH.– Bar. (9 a.m.) 29 95. Wind gusty and strong from S.W. "Estrella" and "Coo-ee" left early for Lowestoft. I hesitated awhile, the wind pinning me to the dolphin, but after some trouble I got away at 1 o'clock. Wind and sea both rougher than I anticipated. Off Covehithness a sudden shift of wind caught my mainsail aback, the boom snapping in two like a match, against the weather backstay. The sail fortunately held, so I carried on, but must have presented a rather forlorn appearance to the gay and fashionable throng on Lowestoft Pier as I entered the harbour at 3.30. A boatman soon seized upon me as his prey, and a gentleman came off from a yacht to help, so in a few minutes I was snugly moored.

"Wish I 'adn't 'elp'd ye, I'd 'ave got more elsewhere!" was the boatman's valedictory remark, when in a paroxysm of generosity I had given him a shilling.

As the April Baby said, "Such a child does not go to the Himmel."

When I had leisure to look round, the first face I recognised was that of my honest saucepan borrower of Pin Mill, Arthur Dumas, owner of the "Coquette," alongside of which I found myself, and by his side the kindly yachtsman who had just helped me – his friend and guest! I must not omit to state that the owner of "Estrella" also offered help when I came in. Distance run, 10½ nautical miles.

The pleasure of my stay at Lowestoft was much enhanced by the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht-Club members' polite invitation to make use of their handsome Club.

The coming Bank Holiday had brought many yachts into the harbour (where unfortunately one rolls a good deal) and the crowds and excellent music on the pier produced a very animated scene. But what interested me most was the fishing harbour with its huge fleet of trawlers, splendidly upkept, denoting much prosperity in the fishing industry.

The new boom was only fitted on Thursday, and in the afternoon of Friday, 11th, I left for Oulton Broad, Dumas and his friends, Mr. and Mrs. Hinde, coming with me for the trip. At the last moment a neighbouring yachtsman offered, with a friend and his wife, to tow us, as an experiment, with their new motor dinghy. This was delightful, but a few moments after leaving the yacht harbour the propeller broke, and, I think, to everyone's amusement, "Blue Bird" it was that towed!

We had a pleasant tea party on board at Oulton while the dinghy was repairing, and it was altogether a bright and lively scene on the crowded Broad, but overshadowed by one tall mysterious-looking figure, draped in deepest mourning, and crowned with an immense black toque, who stood impassive, gazing upon the scene from the deck of a private wherry, like

Of Cereberus and blackest midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn
    'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks and sights unholy.

We decided unanimously that the lady was Hamlet's aunt. But she was really a portent, for we heard this evening that the Veto Bill had passed the Lords!

Distance run; 2 miles. Oulton lock dues, 6d. Great Yarmouth river rate on 3 tons came to 9d.

I knew that, in a sea-going boat like mine, with a rather deep draught, and a fixed mast, the northern broads were closed to me. I also expected to meet with many difficulties in a craft designed for such different waters, but tout au contraire (as the Frenchman replied when asked if he had lunched on board the channel steamer), I had no trouble at all, and as far as it went, the trip was a great success.

SATURDAY, 12TH – Sailed up the Waverney to Beccles, and my first impression of the Broads was, how narrow they were! Plenty of wind made the trip exciting, as many boats were about, and catastrophes only avoided by inches. Passing through the narrow railway swing bridge gave me palpitations, but no trouble. Beccles is a charming old town, with a massive detached tower standing by the handsome old church, a landmark for many miles round. There are some good Georgian houses in the town, and eggs are only a shilling a dozen – a pleasant change from Lowestoft, where, the season being at its height, one was between the dairyman and the deep sea in that respect. Distance run about 10 miles.

A peaceful moonlit night! No rocking, and no sound save the silent music of the spheres.–

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone!
From Sunday to Tuesday I remained quietly busy in this haunt of ancient peace – a little varnishing, and much dozing in the glorious heat.

The tides here are quite perceptible, but the rise and fall is not much over 18 in. at springs.

TUESDAY, 15TH.—Left this morning at 10.15, with a N.E. wind, and made fast to the reeds for lunch, close to Oulton Dyke.

Somerleyton swing bridge must be under a curse, and' destined by evil spirits to inflict destruction and damnation on all who try to pass through.

Fouling a pier, but eventually passing through, after breaking every rule of good seamanship, I stopped to take breath and wipe the sweat of labour and the blush of shame from off my brow. I was, however, somewhat comforted on seeing a wherry with two men on board foul the bridge and blunder through, after me, with even less skill shall I had shown! The tides here are strong, and near the Duke's Head Hotel landing place, a projecting quay converts the stream into a mill race. I had two reefs in to-day, and No. 2 jib, and being rather exhausted by this time, I tied up for the night, walking up to the pretty village later for bread. Distance run, 11 miles of river.

WEDNESDAY, 16TH.—Thanks to the pointing qualities of "Blue Bird," I managed to sail down the New Cut, a perfectly straight and narrow canal of over 3 miles in length, impossible to tack in, connecting the Waverney with the Yare. The slant of wind barely allowed me to sail through, though I luffed at every puff. Some other boats which followed had to tow. I left Somerleyton at 10.30, but had to moor and wait till 3.15 to pass through Herringfleet swing bridge. A short way on, across the cut, is another bridge (with a shilling toll) that lifts like the Tower Bridge.

Reedham, a village at the end of the New Cut, is not a very good place for mooring, the banks being shallow, but I found a resting-place for the night further down, where some other boats lay among the reeds in the Yare. Distance run, about 4½ miles.

The evening closed in with a stormy-looking sunset, the clouds over the sky turned gradually to an enchanting amethystine colour. And listening to the silvery rustle of the tall reeds beside me, and the rhythmic lapping of the water at my foot, Beethoven's rippling melody* came to my drowsy thoughts, ere gentle sleep had slid into my soul.

* Sonata opus 26; Scherzo, bars 46-69

THURSDAY, 17TH. – Cast off at 10.30. Wind N. by E., and very light at times, but coming up with heavy puffs occasionally. A wherry went through Reedham Bridge ahead of me, but I passed her in a calm near Hardley Cross (which marks the limit of the City of Norwich's river jurisdiction); the wind, however, freshening, she recovered her lead and arrived at Whitlingham, near Thorpe, about twenty minutes before me. It was a beautiful trip, the many bends of the river giving one every variety of sailing, and there were no more bridges once past Reedham. I realised by this time that to be quick in stays is essential in these rivers, and that a quanting-pole (I improvised one out of the spinnaker boom) is also indispensable.

The kind old skipper of the wherry helped me in the most obliging way to tie up in a good place by the bank, and then I had leisure for a cup of tea and the rest I needed and felt I had earned.

Arrived Whitlingham, 4.30. Distance run, 16½ miles.

Though there were many small yachts on the Broads manned and lived in by amateurs, the four young men on board the wherry, attired in spotless flannels and sweaters, and heads adorned with knitted caps, were typical of many I saw afloat.

All of them in the prime of youth and strength, garbed as for the most strenuous athletic exertions, they smoked and lolled about on a garden seat on deck, doing absolutely nothing the live-long day. These Lotus-eaters allowed themselves to be sailed about (think of it!) by a skipper and his boy, never associating themselves with the navigation or with any work on board. And every evening, lying beside their nectar –

Propt on beds of amaranth and moly,
. . . . (while warm airs lull them, blowing lowly)
With half-dropt eyelids . . . . . .
they listen to their blatant gramophone.

With lovely Thorpe at hand, and Norwich, quaint mixture of mediæval beauty and up-to-date prosperity within three minutes by rail, ten industriously idle days soon passed. Chancing to meet an old friend and yachtsman, Major E. St. F. Moore, of Felixstowe, who was staying at Norwich with his family, I persuaded him to join me for the day (as he would not stay longer) when I sailed down the river. A young French friend, Jacques Boivin, had just joined me from Oxford, and though he admitted, like Agur, the son of Jakeh, that the way of a ship in the midst of the sea was too wonderful for him, he managed to make himself comfortable on board for a week.

SUNDAY, 27TH.– We quanted off at 10.30 for what proved a rather exciting sail, `with a strong S.W. wind blowing. Having the Major with me, I carried on under full canvas, which I would not otherwise have done, having. no fancy for being cut off in the bloom of middle age, and also being by nature of a timidity verging on cowardice. The incredible amount of tacking since I had been in these narrow waters had by this time worn through the wire jib-sheets, and in a squall the port sheet carried away with a bang. While this was going on Jacques good-naturedly tried from time to time to restore some semblance of order in the chaos in the cabin. Tearing down the New Cut below Reedham, we met a big wherry, in passing which very few inches separated us from quite a pretty smash. I remembered that hesitation of any kind is a sign of mental decay in the young, and of physical weakness in the old, and being neither the one nor the other, and as the least I can recover from my insurance is £7 10s., I went straight at it, as indeed, I went at all the bridges, with success, until we got to that bridge of sighs, Somerleyton. I forget how many times we tried to pass through, or how much paint was scraped off our topsides in the endeavour, but when we gave up, and had moored by the bank, we calculated that the confounded bridge had baffled a united yachting experience of seventy-five years.

Moore had to return to Norwich this evening, but left us with the gratifying remark that the "Blue Bird" was an ideal little boat, and that he had had the best sail of the year. Distance run, 16½ miles.

MONDAY, 28TH.– The tide swept us through the bridge this morning, but before we had reached Oulton the strong head wind had finished off the remaining wire jib-sheet. It was regatta week at Lowestoft, and the harbour was so crowded, we decided to remain here for a few days. Jacques was charmed with what was a new country to him, and took some cycle rides while I repaired damage and did other work on board.

THURSDAY, 31ST.– While I was receiving news from the "Gulnare" on the south coast, of windless days and drifting matches, we were being visited by summer gales. With a strong wind (the small boat-races had to be put off at Lowestoft), we had one final sail in freshwater, going up to Beccles for lunch and for a supply of the famous eggs, returning to Oulton in the evening. Distance run, about 20 miles of river.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1ST.– Jacques having to return to Paris, we dropped down Lake Lothing and moored above Lowestoft Bridge, just in time for me to speed my departing guest. To dispel regretful feelings I turned to the gaieties of the crowded harbour, the flags, the noise, the animation and the music, till I longed for a wind to waft me away from it all.

Oh ye! whose ears are dinn'd with uproar rude
Or fed too much with cloying melody,
Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vex'd and tired
Feast them upon the wideness of the sea!
SUNDAY, 3RD.– A N.E. wind at last! I slipped out of harbour at 9.25. Off Covehithness 11, Walberswick 12.25, flood tide commencing; off Aldborough 2.20, where, about 12 miles out, I passed the floating body of a poor dead fisherman in a brown smock. I had sailed beyond the melancholy object before I could fix what to do. To try and hoist the body on board alone would have been difficult and risky, and I knew that with the wind and tide as they were it would be washed ashore near Orfordness. . I decided to proceed on my way, trying (not very successfully) to chase away the sad thoughts engendered by the incident. Orfordness 3.10. Entering Woodbridge Haven I quite missed the right channel, but made for a small black buoy close to a projecting pile of shingle on the dangerous bar. I think that, unknown to me, the little cherub that sits up aloft came down and took the helm, for I got into the very narrow and only passage through the bar. The tide was at two-thirds flood, otherwise I could not have done it. As soon as I was anchored above the steam ferry I went ashore and reported my encounter at sea to the coastguard, who wired the news to Aldborough. The next morning the body was recovered just where I expected it would be found. His mate was also picked up. Their smack had capsized while they were fishing off Thorpe on August 29th, and as they were wearing heavy sea boots at the time, their fate is not surprising. Distance run, 35 nautical miles. Bar. (8 p.m.) 30 35.

MONDAY, 4TH.– I wonder more yachts do not use this snug and quiet anchorage. The shifting bar at the mouth no doubt deters many from entering, but by carefully noting the leading beacons ashore, and with a favourable wind, the entrance is not a difficult one.

2.10.—Left for Woodbridge under headsails. The river is badly buoyed – a short-sighted policy – for if the extensive flats were well "wanded" and the bends marked, I know no river more pleasant to sail in for boats of moderate draught. But I had started too soon, for I twice grounded in the channel higher up.

Woodbridge, about 10 miles up the river, is a quiet old-fashioned little town surrounded by lovely undulating country. Some repairs having to be done on board, I had leisure to look round, and the friendliness of the people here made my stay very pleasant. The kind loan of a bicycle enabled me to visit the church at Ufford, which contains one of the most beautiful font covers, of exquisite tabernacle work, to be found in England. It rises in a pinnacle almost to the roof. Some ancient poppy-headed bench ends were also remarkable.

Outside the churchyard near the gate are the village stocks and a whipping post, with three sizes of iron manacles graduated to fit all scoundrels.

I take number two's.

I continued my ride along picturesque but flinty roads to Boulge, where, in the romantic little churchyard in the park, I stood awhile by the grave of Edward Fitzgerald. A rose tree raised from seed brought from Omar Khayyám's tomb at Naishápúr, grows at the head of the grave, a link between these two who wrote so prophetically –

. . . . my buried Ashes such a Snare
Of Perfume shall fling up into the Air
As not a True Believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.

SATURDAY, 9TH.– As a charming finish to a week of varied emotions came an invitation to dinner from the Rev. and Mrs. Denman-Deane. Their fourteen-year-old son, Georgie, always about on the water in his little punt with gun and devoted retriever, "Sweep," had chummed up with me from the first, and now came to show me the way to the rectory. My lucky star was in the ascendant, for the next day the friend who had lent me his bicycle, after presenting me to his mother, entertained me with tea and supper and pleasant conversation. A jar of honey on the table disclosed the fact that my host was an ardent bee-keeper, and as I had been one, too, in days that are no more, the talk turned upon that fascinating pursuit, and the amazing ignorance existing on the subject. I remembered that having once sent a friend a pot of honey, on which I had affixed a label inscribed:–


he wrote: "Your honey is delicious – but I didn't know that you got it from monkeys!"

MONDAY, 11TH.– My mellifluous friend, his young brother and Georgie came off this afternoon at H.W. for a sail in the "Blue Bird." Rashly trusting in their local knowledge, we got firmly aground about a mile and a half down the river. Happening so soon after H.W. (and at spring tides, too) it was rather disconcerting. However, being quite upright on the mud and the young brother put ashore, we settled down to a snug tea in the cabin, followed later by supper. This meant turning out about 2 a.m., and while quietly enjoying an early roost we were disturbed at midnight by a boatman, sent by anxious parents to help us off. He was just the one too many, but having his gun with him he was good enough to go off with Georgie in the still moonlit night to shoot . . . I was too sleepy to remember what. However, they returned in time to help us haul off at 2.30 a.m., and after anchoring up the river in deep water, some hot tea was served round, the boatman departed; and we all turned in again.

TUESDAY, 12TH.– Georgie's parents came along the seawall early this morning expecting to find their boy in a state of collapse after a terrible night on a shipwrecked yacht, but found him instead in the highest spirits, having had the night of his life. I even have reasons for-thinking the jolly young rascal had planned the whole adventure. Distance run, 2 miles.

I left in good earnest at 4.15, and without mishaps; though, wind failing, I had to sweep down from Ramsholt to the Haven, arriving at 8. Distance run, 9 miles.

WEDNESDAY, 13TH.– Rain this morning, and feeling out of sorts, I walked into Felixstowe in the afternoon. Met Major Moore, who-had just returned home. Regretted time did not allow of another sail together, but weather permitting I had to leave on the morrow.

THURSDAY, 14TH.– Fine morning and fresh N. E. wind after heavy rain. Up anchor 10.10, and as I passed the Ferry, Moore, who had cycled over, waved a friendly farewell from the shore. Off Cork L.-V. 11.10, Stone Bank buoy noon, Walton Pier 12.30, Clacton Pier 1.45, wind having been very light at times, now freshened from N. Inner Bench Head-2.4S, and anchored in Mersea Quarters 3.55 in-view of Draycott's R.C.C. burgee flying gaily from his garden flagstaff. Distance run, 26 nautical miles.

SATURDAY, 16TH.– Blowing hard since I arrived. My health, of which I had promised not to speak, but which often spoilt my plans, kept me from landing till this afternoon. A cordial welcome from the Draycotts greeted me when I called. D. was going off golfing, but Mrs. Draycott and a lady friend honoured me, and my little "Blue Bird," by coming to tea, and brightened the cabin by their gracious presence.

On Sunday I was their guest, and after tea D. came on board, and we planned a trip for to-morrow.

MONDAY, 18TH.– A lovely day, with N.W. wind. The Draycotts and their guest came on board and we set sail for the Colne at 11.30, arriving off Stone Causeway at 1 o'clock, and lunched. After a visit to the golf links, we set our course for home, "Blue Bird" doing her best with Mrs. Draycott at the helm. Distance run, 15 miles.

TUESDAY, 19TH.– After bidding farewell to the Draycotts got under way 10.50, and sailed round to the Colne. Anchored (through lack of water) off Alresford Creek at 1.10, and, weather becoming wet and stormy, I stayed here the night. Distance run, 12 nautical miles.

WEDNESDAY, 20TH.– To Wivenhoe under jib in the morning, making fast alongside a quay. Spent the afternoon at Colchester, but it was wet, windy and cold, and the feeling came over me that the marvellous summer of this year of grace was at an end, and the homing- instinct began to manifest itself in me.

THURSDAY, 21ST.– The sun was out again to-day, and the wind W. to N.W. I left Wivenhoe at 9.50, picking up two men belonging to the "Celia" going down to Brightlingsea, and towing their gig. Nice fellows both; it seems one of them knew me, and we found we had mutual friends, and I was sorry when they left me, near their yacht. Tide was against me till I reached Inner Bench Head Buoy, at 11.20. Then with it in my favour, passing Clacton 12.15, Walton, 1.20, Landguard Point, 2.30 (ebb), I anchored in the Orwell for tea,-and arrived off Pin Mill, 6.15. Distance run, about 29 nautical miles.

"Blue Bird" seemed now to be thoroughly "tuned up," and overtook and passed every boat sailing her way today. After years of humiliation, the "Shrimp" invariably falling behind the slowest, I may, perhaps, be forgiven a feeling of pleasurable pride in the speediness of my new boat. But it is not every day I get such luck. I passed "Fanny," R.C.C., coming down the Orwell, and had a friendly hail from Sandford.

My cruise is at an end. For the remaining days of the month I sailed about home waters, taking trips round the warships and destroyers lying off Harwich and Felixstowe, and one morning I was cordially welcomed by our Vice-Commodore on board his steam yacht, "Inyoni." But the elements were becoming unpropitious, and the month ended in furious gales and heavy rain squalls, which lasted over Saturday, 30th, and Sunday, 1st of October. This was a change, indeed! One had almost forgotten rude Boreas, and that the weather could not always be as in that island-valley of Avilion –

Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly, but it lies
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard lawns,
And bowery hollows crown'd with Summer sea.