Going Backward

There is lots to learn before we put in for our Yachtmasters, so we started with some basic marina manoeuvrers, like going backwards.

It was a very calm day at the marina, absolutely no wind at all, so we thought that this would be a great day to start the basics of boat handling, namely marina manoeuvrers. I got Salty Lass going and the first thing I noticed was that there was no fuel, so the first manoeuvrer we would need to do is call in at the fuel dock. So initially I had to back Salty Lass out of the slip and into the ally, even though you are going into a larger area of water, it is quite difficult, but I managed it. Then it was a straight run round to the fuel dock, at the fuel dock there was a barge quite close by, so it meant that I couldn't get as close to the fuel dock as I wanted. The guy from the marina was there to take lines so Beverley, threw the lines while I steered the boat.

We sorted out the fuel, so at least now we were not running on vapour. After fuelling I went up the ramp, to pay for the fuel, but on the way down, I slipped on the ramp and my arm went through the rails. As soon as I did it I knew that I was going to get a killer bruise. So I got onto the boat and had a rest, Beverley who was hot from doing her first aid course was wanting to do CPR, I shouted at her

"Look, I'm responding", I just needed some Voltarol to help reduce the pain that I had.

After I had recovered from my tiny mishap, it was time to head out to Belfast Lough to try driving backwards. This meant that we would need to leave the dock getting past the barge as we did so. So, to get past the barge we could:-

  • Pull the nose in and loosen the lines at the back so that we could reverse past the barge
  • Another option would be to spring off the front, this is useful it the barge was further out
  • While the third was to go forward and then turn in the space

I went for pulling in the lines at the front and letting the stern of the boat swing out so that it was past the barge, there was quite a lot of space behind me, so I could use this to turn the boat around. Beverley gave me loads of advice as I steered Salty Lass, some of which I listened to.

Once we were out in the lough, I used various way points to steer backwards to. It was a lot harder going backwards, but it was useful practice to see just how much I needed to steer the boat to get her where I wanted her to go. There is a knack to it, which is to make large movements and to slacken off just before you get to where you want to go. You also to be aware that you always have to have the rudder at a slight angle to go in a straight line.

Once I felt confident to go backwards, it was back into the marina, to do a three point turn and then a backwards move to get into the slip.

A few days later, it was time to let someone else drive as we took the car ferry over to Liverpool for Christmas. While we were on the ferry, we looked at the Irish Sea and Chicken rock and I can tell you it was pretty cold out there. I love Salty Lass, but I was quite glad to be in a much bigger boat as we crossed the sea to Liverpool.

Raising money for the RNLI

The RNLI turned 200 years old on 4th March 2024. So as sailors and people who promote the joy of sailing, we thought that we would like to raise just £200. What we hope is that other people take up the shout and raise their own £200. In the last 200 years the RNLI have saved over 144,000 lives and yet they are funded entirely by people like you. They are not government funded.

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