It was Kenneth Grahame who once said that “there is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”. And he was right. Especially when the weather turns out to be unexpectedly perfect – which was what happened when I did my RYA Powerboat 2 course on the first weekend of October.
Sensibly, our sailing club provides plenty of safety boat cover for all the regular sailing events that it organises, and rightly requires that anyone who drives the club RIBs be qualified to at least RYA PB2 level. To make sure that there are enough people capable of providing that safety boat cover, they run PB2 courses over the winter season.
I decided to book myself on one back in the middle of summer, and was pleased to have managed to get on the first offering in October when I assumed it wouldn’t be too cold. However, I was still planning to wear a dry suit, gloves, woolly hat, etc, and take a thermos of hot soup with me.
How wrong could I be? In the end I did the whole two day course in shorts and a T shirt, with lots of sun block. It was the hottest October day since records began.
The course itself was fun; I’d actually done it about 15 years ago as part of my BSAC Advanced Diver qualification, but I’d lost the certificate, and wanted to refresh my skills properly anyway. The one stand-out recollection was that going fast in a RIB is easy; it’s the slow-speed precision manoeuvring that takes all the skill. And so it was.
In the end we spent about 75% of the time on the water, and probably 80% of that was spent learning to handle the RIB with precision. By the time we were finished we could pirouette around buoys, balancing the tide, wind and engine to keep the RIB within a few feet of the buoy at all times.
So now I just need to get out and start helping to provide some safety cover, and then I’ll plan to add VHF and First Aid courses at some point too.