Saturday 27 February 2010

A sharp lesson in coxing

I learned a lot today. Langstone Cutters took Bembridge out with the aim of circumnavigating Hayling Island. The first stop was Hayling Island Sailing Club at Chichester harbour mouth. I was coxing on our approach.
Now I'm not a tremendously experienced cox, largely because I feel guilty about forcing everyone to haul an exceptionally large amount of useless fat at the back end of the boat. And I am not particularly familiar with HISC, although I have been there a couple of times in Snarleyow.
We were heading for the pontoon. After a quick consultation I headed for the upwind (right hand) side of the pontoon, which is the track heading down on the right hand side of the Google Earth image above. But then everyone said we should tie up to the end of the pontoon, but of course I was now in the wrong position. I tried going upwind a bit and drifting down, but failed to make my intentions clear. That knot of tracks is the result. Of course, everyone began to give conflicting advice.
At that stage I knew that I should stand off, turn round, get in the right position and try again, but I had lost it. We drifted backwards onto the pontoon, which lurched upward at exactly the wrong moment and broke the yoke off the rudder. We managed to hold on to the pontoon and get off, luckily.
We continued without the rudder, steering by shouted command, which Mike and Ian did extremely well. And we didn't get round Hayling either - it was too rough.
Actually, steering by shouted command worked rather well. Everyone concentrated more, I think.
Lesson learned: When coxing, if you have cocked it up, get out of the danger area before trying again. And stick to your guns.

1 comment:

Alastair said...

Interesting! I was most impressed by the bit where you sailed right over the pontoon and back again