Friday, February 25, 2005

Taking the helm

Ray, a good friend of mine, e-mailed me an amazing story of someone's first time at the helm. What an experience that must have been, trying to teach someone to steer a 40 foot boat when they keep on panicking, then running away!

There is no doubt that being at the helm for the first time is a daunting prospect. When I bought Lady Jane, a guy called Stuart, who I met the day before, lent me his rib (one almost exactly the same as our new one). I did not know how to steer it properly, or anything else for that matter, still he let me take it. An act of blind faith in the sturdy construction of the rib rather than anything else I think. When he saw me try to dock it he did give me a ‘parking lesson’ for the next time I took it out though.

Baby Jane, with a tiller, had everyone guessing what I was up to for a while, even I was not Baby Janesure about the outcome of a few maneuvers! Although I've seen her do it well, Kate declined docking Baby Jane, saying the tiller was ‘all back to front and confusing’- a sentiment I heartily agree with.

Here you can see me, or rather my bum, in Baby Jane on the momentous occasion of letting the last of Lady Jane’s lines loose for our voyage round to Fareham.

Both Kate and I are working our way through RYA training, giving us qualifications as well as practical experience. This has been a relatively low priority so far, we have completed powerboat 2, as there is plenty else to do.

I know of someone who will apparently run the rest of our courses in Lady Jane, which will be very interesting, especially docking her or taking up a mooring. The results of those training days will make a good read, I've no doubt.

All I can say is that I'm glad that all the boats we have driven so far have had nice squishy edges!

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