Ye cannae dae that!


by Hazel Lewry

Ye cannae dae that!

How many times in our lives have we heard that?  If I had a pound for every time I’d read or heard it myself, well, I think I’d be minted. But this article isn’t about me or my own wanderings. It isn’t about being “too wee” or “too stupid” either, though the Dundee wifey I’m thinking of is certainly “wee”.

The negative propaganda certainly didn’t stick with Trycha Darling, and she certainly kept it at bay when it came to reaching and teaching her daughters. They’re just not part of that “too wee, too stupid” brigade.

I met her recently with her two daughters Alice (21) and Jilli (19) on a “wee boat” which they’ve called “Triple D” (as in three Darlings). Compared to many of the boats docked around them “Triple D” was, well, small, just 42’ by 12’.  There isn’t a lot of space for a mum and two daughters, especially when both ends pretty much come to a point.  There’s really no upstairs and downstairs  just a wee bit damp. That’s about 330 square feet with a bunch of that given over to engine, batteries, generators and tanks. Not much hope of “popping out for a cuppa” either.  It’s an issue if you get water in the basement – and its not good.

Anyhoos’ back to the tale. They confessed they’ll be missing the election/referendum, not getting back to these isles until well after the big day. It’s all in a good cause though, they’re sailing for the charity Centrepoint, rasing money for the homeless through ‘Justgiving’.

About a year ago this small Dundonian woman, around 5’ and 8 stones, decided it might be a good idea if she quit working, sold much, mortgaged more, and gave something back to society. It would help teach the girls a life lesson they could proudly carry with them.

Down Portsmouth way they jumped aboard their newly purchased and cramped, if well equipped quarters, and took the wee ship for a birl around the bay. Then another. And another. Soon they were venturing well outside the bay, finding themselves in the English Channel then heading around northern France by way of Spain and Portugal for the Canary Islands.

They had mishaps, a wee fire in the engine room, calm days and rough days, bad weather and good, but they got there and pulled in for repairs. A week or so later and they were clearing the harbour again – but this time they were not going back to the British Isles. Their thinking was a little out of the ordinary; if Columbus did it why not a small Scotswoman and her girls. It never entered their heads to be the first all-women all-family crew to challenge the Atlantic in a small boat. They seem to live by the slogan “Just do it”.

It took them a month and more, but eventually the West Indies appeared on the horizon. They’ve now been through the Virgin Isles, Puerto Rico (where they had to hire a “captain” to take their boat in while they flew the five miles because of the United States immigration policy. It seems the special relationship we have with them is mostly “one way”). After the VI and Puerto Rico it was the Dominican Republic.  By now they’ll be in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Bahamas are next, then Bermuda, Azores and home. They hope and plan to arrive back home before July and the hurricane season in the Atlantic.

Their blog follows their philosophy on life: put the foul weather, the seasickness, and the staple rations behind you, and remember only the good times as you focus on charting a new course. Help whoever you can along the way.

So spare a thought for these ladies fighting their lines and working their sails on the open ocean as they make their passage back.  And realise the passage we all make each day is often put into perspective by “ordinary” wee folk like these.

I can only say that here at least “ye cannae dae that” hasn’t stuck, doesn’t apply. Girls, my hat’s off to you, and if I see your white speck on the ocean from the big silver bird, well, I’ll know I’ve got it easy.

Perhaps by the time they arrive back home the United Kingdom itself will have charted a new course, with Scotland blowing the winds of change.  For once, it seems, we just might control the weather.