From the deep darkness of mid-winter, Fantasy Bob's sailing adventures seem a long way away. But he would like to pay tribute to another sporting great whose command over line and length is incomparable.
It is due to his childhood passion for the work of Arthur Ransome that FB first gained an interest in sailing. But that early interest had to wait for some time to be fulfilled. It was not until many years later that FB had the opportunity to take a dinghy sailing course at the Gravesend Sailing Club during an Easter break from his .......er studies at a well known university in the Thames Valley. Just in case you are wondering, 'Why go to Gravesend, a location that makes Ardrossan seem like a beauty spot?' - there was woman involved. But that is another story.
|Ransome at the crease|
Although he could neither bat nor bowl, Ransome skillfully disguised this failing in his work. He was a complex and interesting character and must have enlivened the dressing room banter. His journalistic career found him in Russia at the time of the Revolution and he became close to Lenin and Trotsky. He was used by MI6 as a double agent and played a significant role in the ending of the violent Test series between Estonia and Soviet Russia in 1919. On his return to England MI5 kept tabs on him until the 1930s.
While sailing and sailing terms feature heavily in his work, references to cricket are negligible. This is a great disappointment but should not detract from his sporting greatness.