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This is a thread I’d like to start for those who have experienced situations, however trivial or strange, which have some connection with Tolkien’s works. Despite all the films and role-playing, the true stories are the best. After all, the Professor based many of his fictional stories from his own real life experiences, both in war and academia. I have a strange tale which happened a few years ago, it also reads a bit like an adventure, and with the Hobbit movie coming out, it might seem appropriate; not all strange tales and adventures need be fictional.


(Valedhelgwath might like this one)


Back in the 90’s I was a member of a sailing club in London, mostly dinghies but also with some offshore sailing. I was asked to crew due to my sailing on the river and navigation skills, though no actual offshore experience. I joined a 29’ sloop, (that’s a boat with one mast), with the intent of racing from Yarmouth to Dartmouth and then sailing to France for a holiday. After setting off for the race from Yarmouth, which lasted five minutes due to forestay snapping, mast in danger of crashing into cockpit etc. we eventually got it fixed and set off for a holiday in France. After another series of adventures and mishaps we eventually arrived off the west coast of Brittany, just outside the Brest channel. Anyone from that part of the world will know what I’m talking about. However, are attempt to get into the channel to catch the tide was thwarted as we couldn’t round the headland with the current against us and no wind. The engine, which is used in such circumstances, failed to start, due to the fuel tank being empty, and finding a gas station in those parts was difficult. So we moored in the bay and spent the night. Next day we decided to approach the only other boat in the bay, another sailing boat, moored a few hundred metres away, for so fuel and assistance. So, being the “action man”, I got the dingy out and rowed over with another crew. As we approached the other boat, bigger than ours as usual, I gaped in astonishment at the name of the boat, and had no worries on meeting any of its crew. It was a clever play on words which not even many ‘Tolkien People’ would, although PT folk shouldn’t have any problem. They were a very nice couple who despite giving us fuel and working on the engine still couldn’t get it started. Still. They were incredibly nice folk who it turned out had bought the boat some years previously from Tolkien fans and liking the name of the boat, kept it and read up on the history. They were amazed at my knowledge of this as I was the only one they’d ever come across who understood the reference, including Tolkien readers of their acquaintance. We had a few more close encounters’ etc on the way back, but the memory of this is something I’ll always take with me.

 And the name of the boat?  Elwing’s Rival

There are a few quotes from Tolkien which might apply, but I’ll just leave you with one.

As Gandalf once put it: “A chance meeting, as we say in Middle-earth”

Now that gave me a great big smile. Big Smile Smilie 

I'm not sure if considering to name my daugher Amarie counts. I figured I might have a bit of trouble convincing my Finrod, and untill the girl had learn to say "r", everybody would think her name was Amalie (which a common Norwegian name).

We agreed upon Emily, so instead everybody thinks her name is Emely. I did not predic that at all.

Great story Gwindor. It's amazing that the name of the boat was related to Tolkien and you were the one who went to the boat and saw it. Anyway I have a marine story too actually. About 3 years ago I went to a summer camp in the outskirts of Dallas and there was this big, amazing lake there so one day it's announced that there's gonna be a sailing race to Hell's Gate and back (Hell's gate is like a really tall, narrow island but the middle part of it is gone so it looks like a gate). So this is like 2 miles to Hell's Gate and 2 back. So I decided to join. These sailing boats have a 3 person capacity so they're fairly small. I'm in the boat with 2 friends of mine and the race starts so we dash off. We're half way to Hell's Gate and suddenly clouds start to close in. Before the race we saw clouds but not this bad. The sky was now completely grey. It starts getting windy and it starts raining. But we keep going because turning back is not an option.Our boat is in the lead but the waves start getting rough. The wind is screwing us up. Out of the 3 boats in the race one turns back to land. We finally make it to the Gate and turn around. The boat behind us stays on the left half of the island to wait the storm out. But we decide "hey let's finish this" so we're heading back. Half a mile out we realize that we're no match for this monstrosity of a storm. We keep going though. Half a mile out of the gate the boom (the horizontal pole on the sail) catches me unaware and hits me on the back of the head and I plunge into the water. The shifting winds make it hard for my companions to turn around but finally after about 2 minutes they get me back on board. We don't even make it halfway to shore when the boat flips. I reach the surface and I notice that only 1 of my companions has surfaced. We start panicking and looking for the other. Then I think " she might be under the boat" I take off my vest and we dive under. Luckily for her there was an air pocket because of the hull. Her life vest had gotten caught with a hook in the hull. We got her out of the boat and we climbed onto the top (what used to be the bottom) and she immediately started falling apart mentally. She started trembling and weeping, but we held her, hugged her, and told her she would be ok. I don't blame her for crying like that because somehow the boat started sinking and she probably immagined herself in that wreck. Fortunately the rescue boat came before the sail boat completely sunk. So we didn't win the race but it was definitely an interesting experience. I guess for a moment I felt how the fellowship felt when they thought Gandalf died in Moria, like I felt when my friend didn't come out of the water. Well that's my experience. I hope you found it interesting Smile Smilie