& the World of Murray Whelan

Merricks Yacht Club

Tue 12 Nov 2013

One of the villians in my novel ‘Stiff’ is named Lionel Merricks. By way of an unrelated fact, Merricks also the name of a little village on Westernport Bay, about 90 minutes from Melbourne.

For reasons I still do not fully comprehend, I was recently invited to make a speech at the coronation of the new commodore of the Merricks Yacht Club, Anthony Brand, a prominent Melbourne shyster and owner of a frankly disappointingly small sailboat. In return I got two hours on the water on a mild and sunny day. Unfortunately, the Commodore forgot to pack the gin-and-tonics, so we were consequently forced to drink our own urine and get scurvy, and thus came last in the regatta. Fortunately, the ham and pickle sandwiches at the clubhouse were excellent.

Not knowing my jib from my boom, I fell back on the classics and regaled the bemused membership with that famous ode to the joys of the sea ‘ ‘The Rime of the Ancient Marriner’.

‘With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, We could not laugh or wail; Through utter drought all dumb we stood! I bit my arm, I sucked the blood. And cried, A sail! a sail!