Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A word in your Shell-like about yer Boat Race

picture of raccoon driving kids plastic toy car funny After the downpours of yesterday, I thought ... watersports!
portsmouth watersports centre sailing instructionSo I booked myself in to the Portsmouth Watersports Centre to do the inboard boat race, and invited the rest of the Puddlers to do heroic battle upon the high seas.
First I had to do Wednesday Park and there was a Ben and Leighton and Flynn and Eva and lots of other small faces and I played football for an hour, like the layabout I am.
We cycled up to the outdoor pursuits establishment. True to form, Ben and the JBs had answered the call to arms and the instructor saw our raw potential and put us all on the same team.
portsmouth watersports centre inboard yacht racingI mean, you could not have asked for a better outcome. He trained us on the big yacht, doing Jibs and Booms and a load of old rowlocks it was not. We are now qualified jibber-jabberers.
Then he trained us on the little bijou yacht-let, the one we get to pilot ourselves if we get to be good enough.
Then we wheeled our own boat down to the waterline, Team Puddle back together once more on the trip of a lifetime.
portsmouth watersports centre inboard yacht boating lessonsWe tacked. We sailed. We did whatever else we did and our happy voices carried over the water to the landlubber Mummies stranded in the sun at the waterside having a good old sit-down. But they counted us out, and counted us all back in again.
Gradually we all had a go at steering and we all had to duck when the sail-pole comes rushing over our heads and our sheer enthusiasm infected our instructor and soon enough he was having as good a time as we were.
Bob did ask to go back to shore several times but we all ignored him.
yacht training in langstone harbour2 chaps on orange speedboats (RIBs) pootled about helping any mini-yachts that had capsized and at one point we might possibly have deliberately splashed him and called him a useless old teabag so he came up behind us and bucketed us with gallons of seawater.
Later the teacher noticed we were the only team NOT to have capsized so he totally slewed the boat sideways and HMS Piddle went down with all hands.
We had been expecting that (like Mr Bond) and held on grimly with laughter, for that is the kind of juxtaposition we can manage.
All too soon, it was over and we came back to port richer and taller men. As we dragged the stricken craft up the slipway we fell over ourselves to demand, nay, insist to our various parents that we had to return next week, for months.
This was supposed to be a boat race but due to it being our first time, really we just bimbled up and down a bit.
portsmouth watersports inboard boating training capsized boatAt the end you have to hose down the boat. A technical error was made at this point and Bob was awarded the hosepipe, he did the 'I can have a giant wee' thing and soaked an innocent passing cyclist before being told off.
a day on the water with portsmouth watersports centre eastern roadThere are no words to describe how awesomely good that was, so I'll make one up, megasplendiferous. With luck we'll get an Erin next week and the teacher told us that in no time we'll all be doing competitions. I got a brownie point for washing my wetsuit without help, shame I couldn't reach the rail to hang it on.
We raced the others home on our bikes and the JBs passed us in their car almost all the way down the Eastern Road and we beat the Bens to their road. OK, the wind was on our side but I also had an excess of excitement-energy.

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