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When I retired to Pembrokeshire some 14 years ago I bought an aged Drascombe Lugger which was very handy for exploring the Haven at Milford and Skomer Island, and was kept on a swinging mooring at Dale. However over the last couple of years it has become more difficult to manage on my own and crew never seem to be available when needed, so the time for a change in vessel seemed necessary. But what could it be? It needed to have character, be seaworthy, have some home comforts and be easy to maintain and handle. It didn’t have to have a sail but a shallow draft would be useful.

An extensive search and discussions of all the options and pros and cons with friends came up with perhaps three probables. We visited several local marinas to get a closer look and make an appraisal of the aesthetics of the short listed vessels and almost immediately narrowed the choice down to a Hardy, and more specifically a Family Pilot 20SE. So all we had to do was find one within budget!

As I suspected is usually the case, there was one less than 10 miles away but the price was crazy and it was a bit scruffy. Luckily within a relatively short time we found one in Poole which seemed to tick all the boxes if a little far away. Brett Sawyer at Parkstone Bay Yachts was contacted and following many emails to establish exact details and receive extensive photo coverage, a visit was arranged. When we arrived we found ‘Pipe Dream’ to be exactly what we wanted and what an appropriate name! An excellent deal was struck and all that we needed to do was arrange transport and a berth at Milford Marina.

I was very lucky to be introduced to William Bird ( who offers a Europe wide personal transport service. On the appointed day I set off by train from Milford to Bath where William collected me from the station and put me in a local B&B overnight. The next day we set off early for Poole and without a hitch loaded her up and set forth for Pembrokeshire. On arrival at Milford Marina the Marina team were standing by and off loaded us and by 6.00pm we were tied up on our berth.

Pipe Dream had two previous owners and I suspect she had not done much for several seasons but with a little TLC and an engine service and overhaul from Pirate Boats, our local Honda agents, she was ready for the coming season. The custom cover was a little tired so Cleddau Marine Upholstery came and measured up and made us a very smart replacement which should last for many years.

On sunny days we have been getting in some practice in the marina to acclimatise ourselves with the handling in readiness for what we hope will be an adventurous seasons sailing.

Brian Lewis has his Family Pilot ‘Sandpiper’ berthed quite close to us in the marina and we are looking forward to meeting him in the near future.

Richard Neale

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