In this month’s Confession, one Fairline owner learns the true meaning of the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ during carnival week in Weymouth
I had a happy introduction into boating with my first boat, a 16ft Picton. Being well and truly hooked, I attended RYA’s Day Skipper’s course, and it wasn’t long before I decided to move up and trade it in for a Fairline Sprint.
This larger vessel, together with my boating knowledge and experience, gave me the confidence of making my first extended sea passage to Weymouth, some 40 nautical miles from my mooring in Christchurch, Dorset.
My sister-in-law’s husband, Roy, was keen to join me, so a passage plan was calculated. We had a wonderful voyage. The passage around St. Alban’s Head was unusually calm because of the wind and tidal stream direction. Excited and refreshed, we arrived at Weymouth Town Quay.
The only concern I had was my new sportscruiser was only 23ft overall, considerably smaller than the other boats we were rafted to. A fantastic carnival atmosphere surrounded Weymouth that weekend.
Bands were playing and oysters, mussels and other delicacies were on offer to the large crowds. Walking around the town that evening I noticed a board stating that there was going to be a trawler race on our departure day of Sunday morning commencing at 10.30am.
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After checking the tides and the weather, we headed up to Weymouth Marina to get fuel at 8am to enable us to leave before the trawler race started. Fuelled up and ready to go, we started to head for home at 9am.
To my horror, when turning the corner into the main harbour, it was jam-packed with fishing boats. They were having great fun pressure hosing each other and throwing flour with gay abandon!
I thought about delaying my departure but I knew the best time to leave was now.
Surely these fishing boats would show respect to my glistening white pride and joy and let me through unharmed?
Sadly, I was badly mistaken. We seemed to become the main focus of attention and received strong
jets of water and copious amounts of flour.
Roy, a professional rugby league player, decided he could take on these unruly fishing chaps throwing water out of a bucket. I must say he seemed to do a remarkable job of keeping the trawlers at bay.
I think the enormous crowd watching thought this was a put up situation, and joined in with great laughter and applause. A small gap appeared in the line of fishing boats, so I went full ahead, pushing my 275hp-powered boat to the limit.
Shouting to Roy when the gap appeared and hearing the thunderous noise and clapping from the banks, a smile crept across my face. At last, I thought to myself, people are aware of my boating expertise and manoeuvring ability!
Having left the fishing fleet in my wake, I shouted back to Roy: “That was pretty impressive wasn’t it?” Only silence followed. I looked over my shoulder for a closer look to find the cockpit empty.
Roy must have been jettisoned off my boat and I could just about make out a shape in the water holding a bucket above his head!
Of course, I went back for him although I must be honest, it felt like I was putting my head into the lion’s mouth for the second time!
The author of every confession we print wins the original Stephen Shaw cartoon artwork (above) and an Icom IC-M23 Buoyant VHF Marine Transceiver handheld VHF radio worth £165.
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