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Unfortunately Ann’s Mum died on the 14 February 2001. She was a wonderful woman who had had a great life we still miss her dearly. We did not feel like doing any more work on Spray.Ann’s brother, Nigel arrived from South Africa where he had been living for 25 years. Not the best of times to show off our yacht.

But enough of that. Ann and I sat down a couple of weeks later and discussed recent events.We both decided that Ann’s Mum would have wanted us to finish the boat and get away. So we decided to both work on the boat full time. The plan was to work on her until the aft cabin, heads/shower and kitchen were fitted then we would move onboard and complete the fitting out working 12 hours a day. It took until May 2001 to do this. Then as planned we moved on board. Ann and I, Mitzi and Monty our dogs.

We worked from dawn to dusk every day for the next three months. Whilst working one day down below Ann carried Mitzi down the ladder so the dog could run around the yard for a few hours.

Ann came back up the ladder and continued her varnishing job. The next thing I knew was that Mitzi was jumping down the companionway steps. I asked Ann if she had carried Mitzi back up the ladder, she said no.

So we repeated the procedure carrying the dog down the ladder we returned to the cockpit and watched. In front of our eyes Mitzi climbed up that 14’ ladder one rung at a, time waggling her tail all the way up. We could not believe our eyes we had never seen a dog do that.

This was how Mitzi got onto the boat every time she was in the yard and wanted to rejoin us on deck. After a few days we never gave it another thought. Then one day we heard a call from the yard.

A woman was standing there mouth wide open unable to utter a word. Hm, ahm, uh, your dog just climbed that ladder she said finally regaining her speech. Yes Ann said she does that. The woman was Rowan Warner fellow yacht owners.

Grampus their 37’ Colvin Watson motor sailor was also in the yard. Rowan and her husband Roly were in the middle of a refit. She told us that as we had a dog that could climb ladders we must be decent people and promptly invited us to dinner that evening. Over dinner we discussed their boat and of course our plans. Rowan asked when we would be launching.

I said in July. She laughed and said July next year, right? No this year I replied. They were not convinced. They thought we would never make it. I was a bit unsure myself but soldiered on.

The inside of the boat was nearly complete. The locker doors were fitted next, then heads door, shower tray, shower, wash basin, cooker, kitchen work surfaces ( I’m not allowed to call it the galley) kitchen sinks (2), taps and drains, and all of that other stuff we needed.

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