Gromit the sailing dog has retired, her companion Steve Bourne said. Fourteen years on the water is enough and at 15 1/2, she is putting her feet up.
“Gromit is 110 years old in human terms,” Steve said. “She will only go out now if conditions are perfect.”
A Hong Kong pedigree, ie a mutt, Gromit was adopted on Lamma by Steve when she was one year old as a gift for his daughter. They are a sailing family and Gromit took to the sea with them from the beginning.
She has sailed many times in the Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s 24-hour dinghy race, the Point One Tonne Cup and is mascot of Team Gromit for the Hong Kong Sport Boat Association.
“But Gromit hates swimming,” Steve said. She has fallen overboard only once and it wasn’t her fault. “She was sitting on the side deck. A bloke was hauling very fast on a halyard and his elbow caught her, flipping her into the water.”
Gromit hates water no matter how it comes at her, except in bowls. “She can’t bear rain or spray, but always finds some dry secure spot on the boat.” Steve, an architect who lives at Nam Shan, is currently sailing a Magic25 called Merlin from Sai Kung’s Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club base.
Steve said Gromit is an accurate “dogometer”. If she starts sliding on the deck and scratching with her claws, he knows the boat is heeled over too much.
He’ll have to find a new dogometer. Gromit is taking a well-earned rest.