Building a boat with your own hands requires a lot of determination, patience, and a great deal of hope, and that is what led our next interviewee to build it alone with his own hands. High Hopes is the name of his sailboat, which could not have been baptized otherwise.
How many years have you been sailing?
I started sailing in 1982
How was your hobby born?
I always loved the sea and water sports and spent many hours walking around Marinas. I met someone who needed crew for his racing yacht and this is where I learnt the basics. I later went on a training course, the plan was to sail to Holland. We never got there due to severe weather conditions. This was a steep learning curve, the conditions were so bad I didn’t think we were going to make it back. Fortunately I do not suffer with sea sickness and I was the only one on the course who passed!
How long have you been at Yacht Port Cartagena?
We have just spent our third winter at YPC.
How did you get here? Did someone told you about the port or the city?
I set off from Grimsby in N.E. Lincolnshire with three other crew. This was in July 16. The plan was to get the boat to Gibralter where my wife would fly in to join me. The journey was not easy. We had many difficulties including a gale force 9 in the Bay of Biscay, this was after receiving a professional weather forecast predicting no more than force 5/6. The auto pilot burnt out and I had to hand steer for 6 hours, arriving worn out but very glad to get tied up and know that we were all safe and sound.
My wife and daughter arrived in August, my daughter stayed a few days and then we had to say goodbye and set off up the coast. We enjoyed discovering new places and Marinas but were disappointed that there were not many places to safely anchor out overnight. We called into Cartagena on our way up the coast and only stayed one night but when we were thinking of where to winter we both agreed that Cartagena was the best choice.
What do you value most about Yacht Port Cartagena?
The office staff and the marineros are fantastic and nothing is too much trouble for them. Obviously the mooring fees are a big consideration but also the need to have easy access to transport links and airports and a year round lively city environment.
How is your day to day in the marina?
Our days involve walking and cycling, stopping for coffee and meeting with friends. We love the cafe culture, the “menu del día” and the choice of tapas bars and shops.
If a friend came to visit you, what is the first thing you would recommend to see or do in the city?
The amphitheatre, the many ruins and museums are an obvious choice. The architecture is stunning and we love the old buildings and San Francisco Square.
How did it occur to you to build your own boat?
I originally bought a fibre glass hull that was ready for fitting out. As I a joiner by trade, this would have been an easier option but it was only 30′ and as I always planned to live on the boat I realised this would be too small. I got together with a couple of friends and we clubbed together to buy plans for a steel ketch. It took ten years to complete. I had a professional welder for the keel and chain plates and the boat was foam sprayed for insulation, the rest of the work was my own.
What does the name of the ship mean to you?
The boat is named High Hopes because of the amount of determination and self-belief it took to complete. Many people came and shook their heads in amazement at the task before me and most said it would never get finished. My wife used to watch me from the kitchen window, struggling to lift the steel plates into place, jumping on and off the tractor whilst trying to secure the plates into position. She said it reminded her of the song “High Hopes” by Frank Sinatra, the little ant trying to shift the rubber tree against all odds, “Whoops there goes another rubber tree plant”!
What are your hobbies?
I don’t really have any hobbies anymore but I need to be active and get bored very easily. There is always something to do when you have a boat or someone else who needs a helping hand with theirs.
A typical Spanish dish that you love…
Paella has been a long term favourite of mine and I have learnt to do this well. I was recently given a recipe for croquettes which I tried and were another success.
A book that you would recommend?
I don’t read for pleasure, it is not my thing. Too much sitting around for that!
A city that you are passionate about
Edinburgh in Scotland was a real surprise to me. Considering I hate cold, wet climates, I was really impressed but I still prefer the Mediterranean and love Palma in Mallorca.
What was your last trip?
Apart from travelling up the coast, Ibiza was the last place we visited. We loved the anchorages there, a good thing as the marinas are ridiculously expensive.
Your next destination…
We would like to go Minorca as neither of us has been there yet.
Are you going to stay a long time in Yacht Port Cartagena?
We would like to stay but with Brexit on the cards there is a lot of uncertainty about this. We hope that things can get sorted soon and the relationship between the two countries can be maintained as the British have such affection for Spain and its people.
Name: Raymond Hutchinson
Boat Name: High Hopes
Profession: Retired Joiner
Country of Residence: England