Talking of Paul Lemmer, those new to Ribbing may not be aware but he is a legend in his own lunchtime. Best known for writing articles for rib magazines and running Blue Water Maritime (BWM) 1980 - 1998.
He is a really nice chap and I have had the pleasure of many long chats with him over the years. Just one thing though don't let him drive your rib, at all, under any circumstances. He has left a trail of devastation of ribs and equipment that would equal the Germans retreat from Moscow during WW2
I first met him about 11am on 2 June 1992 some 30 miles short of Cape Wrath and about a mile offshore. He was stopped and busy tying 2 new 50hp mariner outboards to the rib console with some rope. As we approached we could see why, the whole transom had snapped were it joined the hull. The only thing stopping the two new engines from taking a dive to the bottom of the North Atlantic were the tubes
Pauls co-pilot looked worried, he was the sales manager for Barrus, so guess the engines were on loan. Whilst two 50hp engines doesn't sound much today, in 1992 the 5.5m rib it was a huge weight for a rib transom. The manufacturers were still learning their craft and then testing boats through racing.
We asked if there was anything we could do but he thanked us for stopping but said no. Still we followed him into a nearby cove and watched him beach the boat on a sand bank. I looked at the towering cliffs behind the beach, there wasn't even a foot path let alone a road and probably no one else in 30 miles. He was literally stuck in one of the remotest place in Europe. He asked if we could inform race control when we finished and then insisted we carry on.
Six hours later we arrived exhausted in Scrabster to be met by Michael Alexander who despite probably being over 70 was very spritely. We told him about Paul on board No 38 and showed him were we had left him, only for Michael to tell us boat no 38 had come in an hour ago. Astonished I said it couldn't have there was no way that rib could have done another 80 miles and we certainly hadn't seen it pass us, but Michael insisted and wandered off. He came back hour later, turns out there were two ribs with No 38
Paul turned up later with the rib on a trailer, though how I still don't know. Despite the manufacturers competing against each other there was a real spirit of cooperation. The Sea Scouts team arranged for the local Scrabster troop to open their drill hall and the broken BWM wheeled in. Mike and Ralph
who build the Osprey ribs set to work with the GRP. Someone found a welder and mysteriously two pieces of box section steel and two large plates appeared. I did wonder if someone had just lost part of a fence post
Late into the night they worked and at dawn with the new GRP set around the steels the engines were bolted back on and the boat launched ready for the 10am start and the trip through the Pentland Firth.