Yesterday I visited the National Maritime Museum, London, with my dad. It was a surprise visit for his birthday present. Happy birthday dad! He had never been to the museum before and really wanted to go. We had said a couple of years ago that we would visit, but unfortuantely it never happened. To be honest, I’m really happy that we waited to visit; I’ve learnt so much about maritime history, relating to Plymouth in particular, over the past twelve months that I feel I was able to appreciate the exhibitions so much more. I was interested to learn more about subjects of which I had heard about or already knew a little bit of through speaking with my dad and also through my degree. One particulary memorable moment in the museum was when we spotted some figureheads and went to take a closer look. I explained to my dad about the Royal Navy collection I had seen earlier this year in Devonport as part of our place-based education module, only to discover that these figureheads in London were on loan from that very collection!
Our final day on the intensive skills development programme, and it’s back to powerboating! Today would see whether I managed to complete the final stages for achievement of my RYA Powerboat Handling Level 2 certificate (spoilers – I did! Hooray!).
It was another windy day today, but just right for sailing! The sun was out, but we could tell it was going to be cold on the water. Yet again, I was glad to have my drysuit to wear! Jake provided Lewis and I with some suggestions of activities that we could undertake today, and we decided to start with sailing the Bahia using a spinnaker. Although I’ve seen spinnakers used before, I hadn’t sailed with one before today. This intensive skills development programme is proving to be full of new experiences!
Day two of the practical Advanced Outdoor Practice module brought with it a lot of wind! After looking at the weather forecast and speaking with Jake and our lecturers, Lewis and I decided that it would be best to use this windy day for our first RYA Powerboating Level 2 session. Despite last week saying that I would like to practice the skills I had learnt in some more challenging conditions, I felt today that gusts of 35mph may perhaps be a little too challenging!
Although I have been in a powerboat many times, before today I had never attempted to drive one. I had a basic idea of how they are driven from watching other people and reading up about powerboating in preparation for this course. Furthermore, I felt that having a car driving licence and a reasonable background in video game driving would also perhaps help me to understand the logic behind manoeuvring and the effects that the tide and wind may have on the boat’s movements. It turns out that these experiences have set me up rather well for powerboating, except for when it comes to reverse figure of eight manoeuvres which, I have discovered, are a complete nightmare for me!
For a university module in Advanced Outdoor Practice, my peers and I were allowed to select a certificate that we wished to work towards. Some members of our group chose to complete their Mountain Training Single Pitch Award (SPA) training, while others chose to gain Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Powerboat Level 2. I knew that powerboating would be the best choice for me out of these two options as, although I enjoy climbing, I am not yet ready to work towards my SPA. Furthermore, I have always enjoyed being on (or in!) water and know that a powerboating certificate may well be useful for me in the future. Despite this, my friend Lewis and I also knew that we wanted to improve our sailing skills; we are currently working towards RYA Level 2 and would like to gain further experience sailing in Plymouth. Furthermore, Jake (also in my year) is working towards becoming an RYA Senior Instructor and therefore would like more coaching experience. Consequently, we were given the option to split our four days of training into two day of powerboating and two days of sailing. The best of both worlds!