The first time I went sailing in the school club Herons there was one N12 running circles around us while we slouched through the water.
The sight of it moving through the water, it's acceleration and boat speed. I wanted to get in to one.
Shortly afterwards our school bought a Rowsel built smuggler. Lovely looking boat but needed fresh varnish.Word got around that I had done a good job of restoring her.
I soon noticed a rather nice but abandoned China Doll in the boat park and asked the club president who it's owner was. He gave me his number and I asked if in return for a full repaint and varnish, I could sail her. He happily agreed.
N 2457 The Harrier was a china doll.
Green hull, varnished deck and cockpit.Beautiful mahogany curved gunwales and thwart. She came up a treat. I planed down the oversized rudder and got to work tuning her up. I very quickly fell in love with this boat and did very well racing her at our club.
I suppose the highlight of that time was beating my arch rival in the annual reggata.His boat was a pipedream and it was tooth and nail, every race.The fourth race was the tie breaker.
A few years later I persuaded my girlfriend to crew for me.Perfect lightweight crew and easy on the eye too. The problem with our tiny lake was that we had to share it with fishermen, some of whom hated us disturbing their fishing.
One of them,a distinctly unbalanced individual with a rap sheet as long as your arm, decided to pick a fight.
He would deliberately cast his ledger line in front of my boat as it passed in front of him. After lifting my center board three times to unfoul his line, the fourth time it caught on my rudder.
I was winning the race but it was tight and this guy was shouting all sorts of nasty expletives at me and my gf. I failed to untangle my rudder and dragged his line and rod in to the water.
Well he had the excuse he needed to pick a fight, I was not happy about him threatening my gf and various members of the club.
I surrendered the race and sailed back to the Jetty. I shan't bore you all with the details. Suffice to say he got more than he bargained for when he punched me and had to be carried off by his mates.
I never saw him at the lake again but his friends were always very polite.
A couple of months later someone threw Molotov cocktails in to the boat park. The Harrier was left a burnt out shell beyond repair.
Luckily, the beautiful painting of a Harrier in flight was not burned, so I cut that part of the Transom off and gave it to the owner with my apologies. He took it very gracefully to my relief.
I still miss that boat all these years later. I wanted to buy it and would never have sold it even if I did get another 12.
I live in Australia now. Nothing here equates to the 12. If I could import one I would. If anyone knows a way I could do so, please let me know.