s m i t h s   a t   s e a   :   c h a p t e r   o n e

One fine summer day in 1947 my brother Colin and I decided we would like to go to Canada, where wood is plentiful, there to build a "perfect" little sailing boat to sail back across the North Atlantic to England.

Nearly two years later we boarded the Cunard ship Aquitania, bound for Halifax in Canada. We had a nice little cabin, which seemed about 100 feet above sea-level. There were two snug little sleeping-bunks and just enough room to lay out paper and things for designing our boat on the voyage across. A few hours after leaving Southampton we went to our cabin and settled down quietly to our work. By the time we reached the other side the Nova Espero was ready to build.

We settled down quietly to our work
It was spring when we arrived, although there were no visible signs of this.

We had very little money and knew no one at all, so felt anxious as we trudged the snow-covered streets from end to end of the city looking for somewhere to live for the next few months.

We soon found friends however, for Canadians are generous people. Our next job was to find a place in which to build the boat. This was not easy. Halifax is a very crowded city and every building seemed to be occupied, but eventually we discovered a basement under an old chapel. Although the place was big enough. there was some uncertainty about our being able to get the boat out when built.

The room we rented was a long way from the only door; she would have to be levered and shunted back and forth from one intervening chamber to another. Even the door allowed us but two inches to spare.

All these chambers were underground so there were no windows, our room being furthest from the door, and cut off from this only source of light by butting walls; we had to rely entirely on electric leads.

It was damp in the cellar.