This week I helped shepherd a crew of ladies round the Isle of Wight with Langstone Adventure Rowing.
We boarded the rib at dawn and towed the plastic gig Deborah out of Chichester Harbour towards the meeting point.
Off St Helens, the crew boarded Deborah from the support boat, having been picked up at Portsmouth.
They rowed past Osborne House, home of Queen Victoria (but she wasn't in).
They 'threaded the Needles' at exactly high tide, so they got a boost from the current both ways round the island.
They rowed past Tennyson Down, where the great poet walked in his flowing cape and big hat. He wasn't in either.
And they rowed down Undercliff towards the bottom end of the island, St Catherine's Point, against a stiff southerly wind that slowed them to a standstill for a good hour.
After rounding the point with its lighthouses, they picked up speed with the wind now behind them and the water slack and lumpy off Shanklin.
Culver Cliffs loomed large but never seemed to get closer however hard they rowed. They were a lot further away than they looked.
Sadly, time caught up with them and they had to give up a few miles short of a full circumnavigation, defeated by the headwind down the island's west coast. There were tears. And champagne.
We towed the gig back to Chichester Harbour as this happened: