First Outing

Needless to say i was more than a little nervous when we started putting on the lifejackets

ready to take her out for the first time. So many thing were going through my head I was a

wreck. We got the line off the bow and then Lara got her finger caught in the stern line

with me trying to control the engine and just managing to pull the bow around. A couple ran

over to help Lara and eventually she got on board, with all her fingers still intact and I

managed to get enough control to get the boat moving forwards and out of the marina. For the

first trip out it was windy, later we found out the wind had gone from a force 4-5 to a

force 6 with gusts up to 7, i think the main reason we didn’t feel it was that Chichester

harbour is sheltered anough to take the worst off it. Once we cleared the marker I turned

and headed into Emsworth channel and we motored all the way down to opposite the hayling

Sailing Club and then back again.

I had managed to remember my “rules of the road” and had more or less stuck to the correct

sides of other vessels and buoys and markers. We were comign back into the marina and I was

giving another yacht a wide berth as it was coming out, it cleared us but I didnt clear the

mud bank that was surprisingly in our way, it must have caught on the starboard side as it

pushed us to port quickly, I followed and brought her around for another try, the same again

although this time we hit more squarley and I had to put her in reverse to pull us off and

make the third and final attempt, watching the depth (she draws 1.5m) and I swear we must

have had mm to spare in some places. So much for a marina accessible at all states of the

tide, this was low tide on a neap so I doubt we could make it on a low spring tide.

Over the mud bank we were into the marina. Now came the most nerve wracking part of the day:

trying to moor back up again. Lara was ready with the mooring line. I was stuggling with the

controls, the keel boats I had done training on had outboards and it was very easy to adjust

the speed. MY inboard had two controls, one for the throttle the other for the drive. I

ended up coming in far too fast, Lara managed to get off on to the pontoon but could get a

line on. I whacked it into reverse hard to stop us making a mess of the pontoon and the bow

and only managed to give a friendly rub to the mooring pile before reversing out completely.

The wind was blow the bow around to port and I was struggling to get near the pontoon. The

couple from before had now come over to help and all three watched me as I drifted sideways

towards the other side of the berths, where expensive yatchs and very hard mooring piles

were. It was then I stalled the engine. Lara said I looked calm as I restarted the engine, I

didn’t feel calm at all as I opened the throttle and shot forward, missing everything and

making a rapid turn to point me back into the marina berths, this time I came in slower but

still not slow enough, with three of them stood there however they were able to slow me down

enough and I killed the engine. Finally moored up my body felt like it crumpled. I needed a

drink.

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