Hi, I'm Mike.
I was born in Somerset in 1945 a farmer's son where I lived until I joined the Merchant Navy as an Engineer at the ripe old age of 25. I then moved North to Yorkshire for a few years and then on to Tyneside. My first boat was a 'whithy boat' sometimes referred to as a Somerset Flatner. These boats were used to transport whithies from the flooded fields back to 'base' via the ditches that were the watercourses of Sedgemoor and the Somerset Levels. They were basically propelled with poles 'punt style' but we managed a few 'variations'!!
During my life in the South West we were as a family always at the coast and had friends with boats of various descriptions. I also learned scuba diving and canoeing as well as sailing.
Once I moved to Tyneside and nearer the sea I took up sailing again. I built a few sailing dinghies for a few friends before I built my own and subsequently joined the Tyne Cruising Club. Later through friends I met during my navigation night classes I went along to a sailing club in Sunderland where I crewed for a couple of years before buying my own boat. This was a 24' 'one-off' which I owned for about three years before buying an Invicta. The Invicta is a Van de Stadt design based on the folk boat. A better sea boat for the size I have yet to sail on.
I have taken my Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore Shore based courses all at the South Tyneside College and did my practicals on the 'Irene Jack’, which is a gaff rigged Colin Archer type boat based at Falmouth. Altogether I have been sailing for around thirty years on various types of craft.