Course Reports

A welcome e-mail

We have been busy running RYA Mile builder courses and mile building sailing trips so haven’t done many Competent Crew or Day Skipper ones this summer.

One of my gripes is about Sea Schools not running courses properly and this summer I had 2 people on board who had Day Skipper but who’s Log Books clearly indicated the guidance issued to instructors had not been followed. We really do try to completely cover the syllabus and the following e-mail from 2 students shows why….

Just a quick note from Susan and me to thank you for the excellent training on both my day skipper and subsequently Susan’s competent crew training- it certainly has been beneficial .
Last week we brought our new boat Sambuca of Ichenor ( new to us that is !) a Southerley 28 home from an extremely tidal mud berth in the upper reaches of Portsmouth to our location in Poole .
We cannot overstate how much the training on Wild Spirit helped us to deal with what was actually an incredibly fraught and stressful collection without a single cross word or disagreement during the entire journey. Testament indeed to the benefits of good preparation and training.
In all, we dealt with getting her out of the inaccessible mud marina at the highest point of the tide at 2100 on a Friday night with less than 6 inches of water under the keel and no higher tide for two weeks- on a boat that has been on the hard for two years. and which currently has no working depth sounder. It was a little stressful .
This was followed by our arrival into Gosport Marina where upon returning from paying for the marina fee we stepped down into the cabin to discovered an electrical fire where the stop solenoid on the engine had shorted out and set fire to the cabling, destroying the solenoid and wiring back to the control panel ( Susan knew where the fire extinguishers were – we had briefed before departure )
Whilst jury rigging a solution to get us home and figuring out how I was going to stop the motor once it was running ,we then discovered a significant diesel leak ( of course emanating from the only piece of copper pipe in the entire system that I had not replaced before launching the boat). Our romantic dinner in Portsmouth was hastily substituted for a Pizza delivery and a warm beer whilst I hung upside down in the bilges stemming the flow to an acceptable drip with tape , spanners and mole grips .
Next morning as per our training we were up significantly before our planned departure awaiting the favorable tide to take us over to Yarmouth, as trained VHF on , At this point Portsmouth harbormaster informed that HMS Queen Elizabeth was on her way in and that due to the 250 m exclusion zone the harbor would be closed at 8 AM for two hours. Susan had the boat prepared and we slipped from the marina in less than 10 minutes (coffee mugs still in hand ) and made our transit at the Cenotaph in plenty of time..
Due to lack of wind we motored most of the way finding ourselves off Yarmouth by 11 AM, After a quick consultation and a check of the tides we decided to push on for Poole where I could make proper repairs. Leaving the Needles Channel the wind came up on the beam we shut down the engine ( decompressors and a rubber glove required !) and had a perfect sail all the way into Poole.

In total we did our first trip together 48 NM in 8 hours on un unknown boat with many issues in safety and had a great sail and a laugh along the way.
I cannot overstress how has been for both of us to have undertaken the same training with same instructor- for the skipper to know that your crew has everything prepared before you need to ask and for the crew to know the skipper has done his homework and has a route plan and alternatives in mind leads to harmony on the boat .
Susan is already looking to undertake her day skipper and as soon as I have clocked up enough miles we will be back with you for more training on Wild Spirit
My only complaint regarding the competent crew training would be the fact that when I instructed that Susan should ” Splice the mainbrace ” when we arrived in Poole she looked at me in confusion . Some improvement required for your next group of competent crew Paul .

Best regards
Pierre and Susan

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