More Lessons In How Not To Sail

This trip was a very odd one. For starters I’m not sure I was invited. It was skippered by an old boy who, despite lots of experience, should not really have been sailing. But more importantly with hindsight I realise that some of the mistakes that happened could just have easily been blamed on myself. Let me explain some more.

I met this skipper through the Cruising Association who invited me to join him with his wife and friends for a sail over to Holland. Two weeks before the trip I phoned to confirm that I was coming and he had either forgotten about the arrangement or had changed his mind about me coming! When I turned up I was reluctantly put in the saloon bunk with no bedding. As the trip progressed I realised that all the people on board had known each other for years, and I was just an extra pair of arms to aid them across the channel.

The culmination of the week’s sail witnessed a spectacular series of events that started with the boat letting in gallons of water and ended with some serious accidents on a slippery pontoon. By the time we got back to the marina in Burnham-on-Crouch the skipper didn’t even say good bye to me – he drove off in a huff! Still, with a boat leaking water and a repair bill to boot no wonder he was p!ssed off!

I never regret anything but this trip wasn’t particularly fun. It was, however, invaluable in teaching me some lessons in how not to sail and skipper a vessel and was therefore one of the most useful trips I have done to date.

I kind of felt sorry for this guy. He was a commodore of a yacht club and had many years sailing experience under his belt but I think age was catching up with him. In many situations his judgement was impaired and he was slow to react. For this reason I have not named any of the people I sailed with but I include the trip in my log as a lesson for anyone reading it.

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