I am in a somewhat depressed mood writing this week’s column. On Sunday afternoon I boarded my boat on its mooring near the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven and what I saw destroyed memories of a pleasant summer sailing season. SEASCAPES had been attacked by thieves and vandalised inside.
It is depressing to think that a group of thieves sat inside my boat for some time. Not satisfied with stealing electronic and other equipment, a plotter, binoculars, flares, even personal items such as sunglasses, sailing hats, gloves, they smashed bulkhead equipment which they could not remove. A barometer and clock were destroyed, adding to the damage caused when the cabin door was broken open.
I can understand how people feel when their homes have been vandalised. This was my “home on the water” during the summer when we sailed along the West Cork coastline. Now it has been defiled by unknown people by persons who must have some boating experience, some maritime knowledge, because they had to use a boat of their own to get onto mine.
Are they amongst the “family of the sea” about which I have written and spoken so often? How can people who have any affinity with the sea do so much damage to a vessel of the sea, I ask myself.
I feel sorry for the boat, that she was undefended against those who attacked her. I feel responsible for what she has suffered, because I was not there to help her as she helped me through many experiences, through bad weather and testing times. These thoughts that come to mind in what I know is a useless raging inside me, but I feel hurt, upset, angry, emotions that are mixed as I write. It is possible to understand theft, but it is very hard to accept mindless vandalism against my undefended ‘lady of the water’ with whom I have shared so much time and energy in moments of joy and of sadness, who looked after me as I slept aboard when she swung to her anchor in coastal harbours.
It was only last week that the Irish Sailing Association warned that thieves were targeting boats and marine equipment. Take care of yours. I have notified the Gardai and they are investigating.
This shall not dissuade me, depressed as I am this week.
Seascapes - vandalised on her moorings in Cork harbour. Photo: Bob Bateman
• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork , where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie