RYA Training Cruise

millport

Millport

Largs & the Clyde 22/29th April 2000

30 aspiring students and 6 brave instructors converged on Largs Marina one fine Saturday in April. Each of the six chartered yachts became melting pots of human talents and characters as the crews rapidly got to know each other in the cockpits and confined spaces below. Some had no experience, some had lots, many snored loudly!

What did we do? Lots of things! There were syllabuses to be covered and tests to be taken. The weather threw everything from hail to gale. Night sailing tentatively along the main shipping lane to Glasgow was truly memorable; in this context the phrase ‘maritime motorway’ springs to mind, and we crossed it in the dark! Another boat had an encounter with the SAS after trying to take a bearing on their submarine and its conning tower.

Wet deck

Wet deck

What did the week do for us? Maybe there was a piece of paper, or an autograph in a logbook gained at the end, but the real benefit of the training was learning to be prepared for the unexpected.

In the case of our crew, the boat ‘Kiwi’ helped greatly in this. Blocked loo, leaking inflatable, missing whisker pole, dying radio and dead light bulbs all taxed the ingenuity of captain and crew members. In a charter boat, you can resort to written instructions for help when things go wrong; ‘Just flick the reefing lines if they become jammed’ they said. The author certainly did not write that note after 30 minutes trying to control the mainsail during a force 7 blow!

Our gratitude goes to the instructors who gave up a week of their holidays in busy lives full of business and family commitments to widen our eyes and our experience. We won’t forget them or their exhortations. We’ll go out on the water that little bit safer because of you gentlemen.

Calm

Calm

Lookout

Lookout

Over the side

Over the side

Cooking

Cooking

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