Tall Ship Experience aboard J. R. Tolkein

84 year Old Guest Climbs the Rigging

The Tall ship J R Tolkien had only just dropped her pilot having departed Portsmouth when the bosun called for volunteers from the party of day trippers to help hoist the sails.

One of the first to step forward was Jock Christie a man who certainly did not need to be press ganged into hauling on the halyards for Jock this was the realisation of a dream to be part of the crew sailing a tall ship. Little did he care that at 84 years of age he would have been forgiven for sitting back and watching others. In fact Jock almost elbowed his way to the front of the crowd of willing helpers.

We were guests of Red Sky Sailing a yacht charter company that specialises in chartering Tall Ships. This, at the start of Cowes week, was one of a series of Tall Ship Experience Days that the company sets up and runs.

Sixty people had joined the ship at Gunwharf Quay at 10 am last Sunday morning. Many had paid the £149 themselves others had received the ticket as a gift from loved ones. For many it was once in a lifetime opportunity for others it was a tick in the box for yet another new experience before they went to spend a night in the ice hotel.

For Jock who lives in Winchester, the treat came in the form of a ticket bought for him by his wife Eve. She said, “I just knew that’s what he wanted to do, he’s always wanted to go on one of the tall ships.”

Former publican Jock did however do more than just go on one, at one point as the ship tacked up the Solent towards Cowes he took to the rigging and began to climb the mast. His wife said, “I just wish now I’d booked him on one years ago when he could’ve climbed to the very top. However, I am so pleased he achieved his ambition yesterday.”

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