Retire from sailing? I must be barking


Bart Selby, the dog of columnist Dave Selby, shares his thoughts on sailing for the June 2015 issue of Practical Boat Owner magazine.

I is just turned 13 in ‘uman years, but my birthday wasn’t much to celebrate. As usual, Dave gave me a value chicken fillet with a candle in it and I burned me whiskers. Why does he never learn?

And that’s the main problem, ’cos Dave is a plonker and there’s no sign he’s going to grow up, earn a decent living and get a proper boat, such as one of them larger Sunseeker fings wot have those lovely big fenders wiv soft covers wot I fancy sumfink chronic.

Hallberg-Rassys is OK too ’cos they’ve also got furry fenders and some of the bigger ones ‘ave got two trees on top for relievin’ yourself against. It adds a bit of variety.

I could just about live with that, but I ’as standards, and quite a lot of ishues too. And the main one is that Dave’s got a bloomin’ tiny little Sailfish wot is no bigger than a Chihuahua (I ’ates them) and looks like one of those crates you take tortoises to the vets in.

Although his Sailfish tastes ’orrible it’s quite easy to chew on account of it’s stricken wiv tuberculosis, or myxomatosis – or is it osmatosis, or one of those uvver fings sailors go on about all the time in the Queen’s Head?

It also tips a lot, which ain’t right, and ’as fenders no bigger than worming tablets. They’re flat, taste rank and don’t even have covers. What satisfaction is a dog to get from those?

All in all I is pretty disadvantaged, and that’s why I’ve come to a big decision. As of today I is officially retired from sailing. Of course, when you get to 13, which is about 81-and a-half in human years judging by the way Dave behaves,
it’s a time of reflection.

And on reflection I ’ave to say sailing has changed my life… for the worse.
For a start, it certainly messes up your dress sense. What I could never figure out is why Sunseeker owners are always dressed as if they’re on a golf course, in all their Mr and Mrs Pringle outfits and tartan slacks.

As for dogs, we have to wear those flippin’ bright orange padded straitjackets wot make you look deficient in the brain department. Dave’s bought me lots over the years and I’ve killed them all as I’ve learned how to chew them while I’m still wearing them.

The worst of it is that they’ve got handles, which puts you in an entirely hundignified position when your owner hoiks you aboard. Those straps don’t ’alf chafe me nethers.

But it’s even worse when we arrive somewhere.

A): Dave never knows where it is until he’s asked someone (he can’t even tell that Bradwell and Benfleet smell entirely different), and

B): he makes me put on a poncey, stripey sailor top to go ashore. It’s ’umiliating. I is an Essex Jack Russell and I wear a waxed- cotton Barbour; that’s it, full-stop, period, end of!

That’s just one of my big ishues, but I’ve also got ishues wiv all of you PBO Seadogs of the Munf. Your owners write things like: ‘Muffy and Bouncer, our giant Great Danes the size of donkeys, just love our Sunspot 15’.

If that’s the case, how come most of you ‘seadogs’ are wearing sunglasses or hats? It’s so readers can’t see the fear in your eyes.

Of course, I do understand that Labrador crosses called Nelson and with a bit of RYA Yachtmaster in them actually like boats, but as for the rest of you, why don’t you just dog up?

Here’s a tip. Dog owners are always going on about how they have to take us ashore for our comfort break. All I can say, is why wait? I don’t.

Of course, it’s not all been bad. There was a time when Dave had a girlfriend who had a RIB, wot is not a tasty bit of a pig or sheep but a blow-up boat like a gigantic fender. I quite enjoyed it, but I got a bit over-excited and the tubes mysteriously got punctured. I fink it was her poodles wot done it.

I hope Dave gets the message, ’cos I ain’t ever going out with him unless he gets a really rich girlfriend with a top-of-the- range Sunseeker, a really fit Border terrier bitch and a rack of furry fenders. And we all know that’s not going to happen. Still, I is pinin’ a bit for me lovely fenders.

* Reproduced by kind permission of Practical Bone Owner, where Bart Selby is roving editor.