When I grew up in Penzance, my father used to get his sails made and repaired by the local sailmaker Albert Willoughby, a traditional sailmaker, who’s ‘lost in time’ loft was hidden away down a dark secret alley in the backstreet’s of Penzance.
As a small boy, Albert used to frighten the living daylights out of me when we visited, as he would slam a length of spliced rope down on the counter (pipe in mouth) and shout toward me … ” Whad’ya want Boy!!?”
With me now cowering behind my dad’s legs, he’d then smile a kindly smile and offer me a Murrey Mint from a jar that he always kept on the counter.
One particular day, my father went in to enquire about a new spinnaker for the Round Britain race, the timeless reply that came back from Albert was…
“SPINNAKERS!? ARE THE WORK OF THE DEVIL!!”.
I think of this every now and again and chuckle as I’m CAD designing, or sewing a new kite and I often wonder what Albert would think of the way we design and build sails these days!?