Portland

You’ve got to hand it to the National Sailing Academy here: they do a lot of stuff for kids.

Throughout the day you can here here the chants from the kids on the dragon boats out on the water having a great time. These are children who may otherwise not have the chance to experience anything like this.

I think it’s great. I think it is a confidence booster for them. And who knows… the next GB sailing hero might be amongst them.

We extended our stay in Portland because the spinnaker pole we came to collect was a bit too long to fit in its stowage position. Our star rigger, Andy Gordon, had to take it back to his workshop to cut it down to the right size and re-fix the end fittings.

It’s all done now and we are off across the channel on Wednesday morning.

The delay has been no bad thing. A bit more wind has arrived, we have had the chance to spend some time with friends, and have been able to see a little of Portland and Weymouth, and we are getting into a more relaxed frame of mind.

Man Overboard!

The RNLI campaign “useless unless worn” is definitely something Maria and I subscribe to. All too often we see boats leaving or coming in to a marina wearing nothing other than an over-bloated confidence with potential to lead to a tragic fate. Sometimes they even wear clothes.

We have moved on a bit since the days of cork blocks strapped together to make a waistcoat the size of which would fit Mr Creosote. Modern day lifejackets are comfortable, and are mostly auto-inflating.

Ours are that, and are also equipped with man overboard transmitters and Lifesavers from our good friend Duncan Wells. These jackets can – and should – be worn all the time when sailing and you really do not notice.

The point this story is that I witnessed someone falling off their boat when coming in for fuel at Portland marina.

This person lost their footing on the side deck of their powerboat and fell in.

The propellers were still turning, and I was expecting the worst.

Fortunately three things were in that person’s favour: the day was calm, the boat turned away from them, and they were wearing a life jacket. This, when inflated, popped them up from down below satisfyingly sharpish.

I don’t know what would have happened if they weren’t wearing a lifejacket.

Something like a scene from Jaws I suspect.

We take safety very seriously here on Lady Jane and we never sail without lifejackets being worn. When things like this happen – it’s a reminder why.

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