I recently received an email from Scruffie Marine telling us that they had completed our new Secret 20 project boat kit, loaded it on to what the Aussies call a ‘trayback ute’ with a trailer and driven all 940kg of it to the shipping warehouse.

To say that we’re excited would be understating things – we can’t wait, although there are a few logistical hurdles to be negotiated once she arrives, such as import paperwork and how we handle four large packages weighing between 210kg and 280kg.

Secret PBO kit. Credit www.scruffie.com

According to designer Derek Ellard, we should be able to shift them with ‘a few blokes (or big strong girls)’, but we might still look for a truck with a tail-lift! The shipping is likely to take around six weeks, so we hope to be able to make a start in mid-June.

With the EU referendum looming ever closer, our main news story this month focuses on the effect ‘Brexit’ might have on our freedom as sailors. It’s interesting to note that much of maritime law is unaffected by EU legislation, so it’s unlikely that a break would result in UK skippers having to gain additional qualifications over and above those already required, but there is a question mark over how border controls might change were we to exit.

I, for one, would hate to see our freedom to hop across to France, Holland or Belgium curtailed by lengthy Customs processes, but given that tighter border controls are among the reasons put forward by the ‘out’ campaign, it has to be viewed as a possibility.

Nonetheless, it’s reassuring to hear the RYA’s legal and Government affairs spokesman, Gus Lewis, say that the RYA will be fighting to retain our cruising freedom in the event of a split. He also points out that none of this will happen overnight: the wheels of government grind exceeding slow.

Moving off politics and sidestepping sex and religion, our gear tests this month see us investigating some of the latest tech and how it might affect sailing in the future. In fact,we’re guilty of being slightly misleading with our main coverline this month: most ‘laser flares’ no longer use lasers at all, but ultra-bright LEDs.

We tried them at dusk and at night versus a conventional pyrotechnic with some interesting results. Meanwhile, Ben Meakins got to grips with some of the first sailing-specific ‘wearable tech’ – including a head-up display for your favourite pair of sunglasses.

Given that the sun is finally shining I wish you a pleasant sailing season. I’m off to rig my boat; Red Dragon is finally back on the water after her two-year sabbatical!

Fair winds,
David Pugh

David Pugh, PBO editor

David Pugh, PBO editor

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