So I took two days out to learn about handling powerboats!!
We stayed at Beggars Reach Hotel, which was very quiet and restful for Pat...
... whilst I had two rewarding days at Neyland Yacht Haven...
...where 'Len', ably assisted by 'Sue,' taught three of us how to operate a 'Rib'!!!!
I had imagined chugging about in something a bit smaller and a lot slower. Although I realised this was an official course of the Royal Yacht Association, I hadn't realised how intensive it was and that there would be an examination at the end of it.
I think they were all surprised that a little old '78 year old' should turn up for such a course ... but not as surprised as I was when we skimmed along the water at 50 miles per hour doing high speed manoeuvres. I soon warmed too it though and had great fun.
We spent some time in the class room learning about weather, charts, navigation and lots of other nautical things which included knot tying.
Then we began the slow stuff, which included how to leave and come up to the jetty. How to anchor and how to tie up to a buoy. We learnt how to use the depth-finders and GPS system.
One big test was the 'Man-Overboard' routine. We had a small buoy which was thrown overboard and which we had to rescue in one minute .... or fail! To make it more complicated the buoy was thrown overboard, from behind our back, at a moment's notice to the cry of 'Man Overboard'. To make it more complicated, we were travelling at 45 mph at the time. Without slowing I had to turn the boat in the tightest circle I dared and come up alongside the 'victim' very, very slowly. I was relieved to do it in 40 seconds.
We had lots of other tests and luckily we all got through them!
I'm now qualified to handle a powerboat ... although mine will travel at a more sedate max of 20 mph.
I'm so glad I did the course as I now feel in control of where this project goes next!
The RYA is the authority for British Coastal waters and Inland Waterways and the certificate I earned will give me access to so many things, from insurance to berths, which I would not have available to me before.