Parking Masterclass

It had been some time since I had taken Aphrodite out, mainly due to not having the confidence to single hand her out and back into the marina. A few times with my old pal Craig and others, but I did need to master this skill and over come my now lacking in confidence. The other thing that was holding me back was the deliver of the Genoa, but that was now on the boat and there was no excuse.

Through work about a year ago I bumped into a Yachtmaster Instructor who was happy to give me some tuition for some sailing, not having his own boat, and we arranged to meet up at the marina and sort my skills out.

About 0900 UTC I had a wave from the quayside as Stuart arrived and I popped up to meet him and sort parking out. Having shown him the facilities we headed back to the boat for breakfast and plan the day.

Over breakfast it was decided to spend a few hours on basic engine control, something that is not really needed on a swing mooring, and some maneuvers in the outer part of Millbay then come into the marina and do the same thing with lots of boats about.

Breakfast consumed got all the lines onto the boat and headed out for a couple of hours of tuition on maneuvering Aphrodite slowly and controlling the speed and turns on the engine. It felt just like driving a care for the first time. Which was quite odd considering the amount of time and distance that I had sailed on all the boats that I have but this was very different and quite difficult, I found the levels of concentration extremely high.

While reversing into an imaginary berth we were approached by a high speed RIB with a couple of chaps dressed in black advising us that one of the submarines was heading out to sea. We came away from the wall and watched the long dark submarine surrounded by guard ships pass us by and continued with our exercises.

Having got to grips in the outer harbour we moved back into King Point and Stuart would demonstrate a movement then I would repeat the move until I was comfortable with it. I don't think I've ever motored so close between boats, stopped that close to transoms and moved that slowly in a circle. The good news was it was beginning to make sense.

Starboard 10 degrees

Not only was it beginning to make sense it was beginning to attract an audience of other boat owners keen to see me master the skills, and make sure I was not going to take a chunk of their gelcoat. In she goes Our stomachs were telling it was lunchtime and I needed some thinking time to process the new skills in my head. We tied up alongside and I put the kettle on. Off out into Plymouth Sound where things got interesting. The main halyard got wrapped round the radar reflector and we could not free it. So found a buoy and Stuart went up the mast to sort things out, we hoisted the main and let go the buoy unfurled the genoa and sailed away. A fun few hours trying out the sails and feeling how differently she handled with both new sails on was interesting. The ultimate test was to bring Aphrodite onto her berth without mishap and I passed with flying colours.