This week I saw a news article headed ‘The Sailing Prime Minister’. Turns out it was an obituary of former British Prime Minister Edward Heath
One of Heath’s obits had this to say “I had decided to give up golf, because I found that as my political career progressed, it became inevitable that people on the links would insist resolutely upon talking politics all the time,” he wrote later, so he took up sailing.”
Heath’s sailing became well known. Satirists named him Sailor Ted.
The Daily Sail gave this summary of Heath’s sailing career, “His racing CV includes winning the Sydney-Hobart Race in 1969 (the last British boat to do so before Aera last year) aboard the S&S 34 Morning Cloud I and captaining the British Admiral’s Cup team to victory in 1971 aboard Morning II. He subsequently competed in the 1973 and 1979 Admiral’s Cup aboard Morning Glory III and Morning Glory V respectively. During this time it was Heath who came up with the now famous analogy with which many racing yacht owners will empathise: “ocean racing is like standing under a cold shower tearing up £20 notes”
He retired from sailing after the atrocious 1979 Fastnet race. Perhaps the most prominent sailing politician since John F. Kennedy.
Closer to home, Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller recently completed the Chicago mac race and will sail her 29th Port Huron Mac.
In the process of reading ‘Treachery at Sharpnose Point‘ which I picked up during a recent vacation, I learned about Hawkers Hut.
This small hut was built by the Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker out of timber that came from ships that wrecked near his home. It is built right into a hill in northern Cornwall.
Here he wrote poetry such as this
Thus said the rushing raven,
Unto his hungry mate, –
Ho! gossip! for Bude Haven:
There be corpses six or eight
Cawk! cawk! the crew and skipper,
Are wallowing in the sea.
So, there you have it Hawker and Heat two pieces of Britain’s diverse maritime history.
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