Saturday 17th April 2021 marked the occasion of the AMYC Boat Handling & Manoeuvring Day. The location was mainly around the marina and lake at Penton Hook and involved experienced club members teaching inexperienced club members, basic techniques. The aim being to ensure that if the key crew member of the boat fell overboard or became incapacitated, the remaining crew member could retrieve the casualty and/or get the boat to shore.
Participating boats were Purple Orchid, Breakers II and Sea Quest and assisting crew were from Lockdown Dream, Mojito and Venture. These arrangements enabled us to conduct the exercise in a socially distanced covid-secure manner.
As one of the novices, I really appreciated being taught how to manage my boat knowing that others were looking after the ropes and keeping watch on our surroundings.
Key skills included turning the boat in four directions – forwards/backwards, right/left; mooring in different locations around the marina; operating the radio; navigating out on the river; and retrieving a fender from the water, a technique otherwise known as ‘Man Overboard’!
The Man Overboard practice occurred unexpectedly, for me, as the Commodore threw a fender out into the lake and shouted “Man Overboard” and, “Quick Sally, Geoff has fallen off the boat!” My initial reaction was, why has he chucked one of my fenders into the lake? However, once I managed to manoeuvre the boat sufficiently to retrieve it, everyone on board then had the opportunity to practice ‘saving’ their respective partners.
After the lake manoeuvres, we headed out onto the Thames and I was really pleased that, with a bit of guidance, I managed to both moor Sea Quest on the lock mooring at Penton Hook and take her back off again. Luckily the lock was on ‘Self Service’ and there were no other boats about.
I learnt the importance of manoeuvring the boat slowly and the need to practice lots.
Thank you to the club members who gave their time and expertise to support this training.
I really hope that we can make the event a regular addition to our annual calendar as I know of several other club members who would like to join the next one.
Sally, Sea Quest