The Famous Five Go Boating
The Five had been plotting for weeks, as soon as school was out on Fri. 25th Feb. 2000, they would high tail it to the estuary; hijack a boat; storm Drake's Island and fire the cannon. "Stewpot" Price came up with the first great idea, "lets get our own boat and talk it with us". The other 4 "Handy Andy" Jacks, "Slim" Jennings, "Pockets" Barnard and "Blackeyed Bob" Mulholland (known as BB), after much debate agreed though only because it was Stewpot's crisps and he wouldn't let any one have any unless they agreed. The new boat was nicknamed "Pearl Diver", because BB saw this great film about scantly clad girls diving for pearls.
The Friday arrived and the Famous Five planned to rendezvous at Monty's Guesthouse. Pockets and Slim arrived first so waited in the tea-rooms for the rest of the crew. Horror of Horrors they discovered another 5 man crew planning the same raid for the same time. This ugly looking bunch came from a far off land called Studley and spoke with foreign tongue, but worst of all 3 of em were Girlies. This crew, Adam, Mike and the Girlies Mags, Trout and Debs came equipped with their own boat "Ring-In-Wet".
As the rest of the Famous Five arrived and the Ginger Ale flowed a new plan was hatched: The Famous Five and Studley Five should join forces and with both boats zip around the estuary terrorising the locals. One problem still remained; no one from either crew could drive the boats; still we could capture some drunken Captains in the morning.
Saturday morning and over a hearty breakfast the 2 crew espied a Triumvirate of rum looking characters. As luck would have it they were Captains "Bellied", "Tricky" and Pugwash" alias Bullard, Fairless and Westward and could get hold of another boat the "Seahorse". Having nothing better to do the Triumvirate offered to Captain the 3 boats. With a quick press ganging of a father and son, Barry and Alex Walker both fully equipped in new yachting attire the 3 four man person crews were ready for action.
The Triumvirate insisted on lecturing the crews on all sorts of dead interesting stuff, types of boats, equipment, legal stuff, chart reading, buoyage, tides, weather, position fixing and safety; so a morning had gone without anyone getting wet. It was generally suspected that the Triumvirate needed this time to sober up from the night before.
After a hasty lunch the fun began with the 3 boats launched. Capt. Tricky wanted to play with the engine on the "Ring-In-Wet" so his crew was split twixt Capts Bellied and Pugwash. In the calm of the harbour the basics were learned, i.e. forward, backward, left, right, fast, slow, steering, mooring, towing and rules of the sea, all of which had nautical sounding words attached to them like ahead, astern, port, etc. During this time Capt. Tricky had finished playing so great fun was had coming along side with grappling irons and swinging from the yardarms to board the Pirate's ship. Back in reality the fun was upped by setting forth beyond the harbour and venturing outside the breakwater to skip the crests of force 4/5 waves.
It must be admitted that some poetic license was used with the expression skip the crest of the force 4/5 waves. Other expressions could include, ploughed, plunged, dove, slammed, buffeted, crashed, tossed, white knuckle ride, Alton Tower's eat my shorts. Other expressions for gentle sea spray licking one's cheeks could be, buckets of water, torrents, deluge, stinging, lashing, blinding spray whipping into the eyes, it is surprising how much salt water stings when blasted into the eyes. As the light began to fade the crews returned to the comfort of shore, food and drink with terra firma being fore most in the mind.
The Famous Five arranged to meet along the shore at the New Inn to gauge the level of trauma imposed upon the natives.
Again Pockets and Slim arrived first and were on their second lemonade before Stewpot, Handy Andy and BB arrived. The Hostel slowly filled with natives; the Band began to strike and cross table talk of adventures abounded. Pockets was becoming concerned that the salt spray had affected his fellow gang member's eyes for they were forever moving to port.
The Famous Five entertained the locals with some new pub games "Who's got the most mobile phones" and "Who's phone is going to ring next"; one could tell the locals were impressed. Handy Andy offered Stewpot the loan of one of his mobiles because Stewpot thought that his must be broken, well it hadn't rung for 10 minutes.
As time past the Studley 5 and the Triumvirate swelled the throng and the 3 Capts. regaled their crews with tales of great adventures, of sea monsters, the Seven Seas, the treasures, the ports, the women. Pockets was more concerned than ever not only were eyes to port but tongues were hanging; the salt water was having strange effects. Capts. bellied and Tricky spent the evening Trout fishing; success or failure ? discretion dictates. Seating arrangements for the two 5's and one 3 were fluid as calls to nature came into play during which time Pockets moved to view the same vista as the other gang members. Salt water my ass, Cleavage! large; prominent; lead to eyes port tongues hanging, we are talking 1st class cleavage.
Sunday, with minor differences, was much like Saturday only more so as the 4/5 waves seemed to materialised within the break water. This time it was Capt. Pugwash playing with his outboard. "Engine flooded! Rum fumes from the night before more likely. This allowed a re-run of yesterdays boarding game. Sunday was again a mixture of skill development and soakings, including compass work, transits, laying off, anchors away, SMB shadowing and best of all Hat Over Board. During one of the man over board trials BB was introduced to the pleasures of plunge baths nearly acquiring a new nickname of "Dunking Bob". After man over board drills a real life rescue had to be executed. Skimming the force 4 waves, Debs yells "Hat over board", after the 3rd call and Capt. Pugwash ordering "go back and get the B****y thing" Pockets swung into action, throttle back, hard to starboard, back along the wake, everyone playing Eye Spy, "Hat Ahoy", deft manoeuvring, retrieve, "Hooray", throttle up and away. Over the course of the two days the Novice Helmsmenpersons through experience and courage became more adept at crew safety and comfort.
So the Famous Five's trip to the estuary came to an end, so back to shore, wash down the boats and return Pearl Diver to it's gift wrapping. Back on their bikes they head North to slumber peacefully on feathered mattress and dream of Pirate adventures and dusky maidens. The final verdict upon the adventure was "Wet, Wet, Wet but Fun, Fun, Fun"
Boat Handling Course - 26 & 27.2.2000
I have shared room and lodgings with several male individuals in my four and a half years at Lutterworth Sub-Aqua Club and I can honestly say that every one of them either snores or breaks wind or both. Steve Brown and Nigel Spickettt (Islay 97), Paul Gardiner, (the worst of all (Islay 98), Richard Green (Scappa 99), Carl Gamble and Jon Brewis to name a few. The excuse they all gave was the beer. It's a pity that they can't all be as restrained and well behaved as myself This weekend was no different I got lumbered with Andrew (it was the Cider) Jacks. I'm just grateful that the days were so exhausting, I managed to get a couple of hours sleep.
The course started in earnest on Saturday morning with the introductions and lectures, expertly given I must say, by Steve, Alex and Richard. (creep).In the afternoon we moved to the water and the reason we had all come, the boat bit.
There were three boats, all ribs, the new and yet unnamed Lutterworth rib, the aptly named 'Ringing Wet' from Studley and Steve Westwoods smaller but equally nippy craft. I was lucky enough to have been put in the group that was to try our hand at the new Lutterworth Rib first. It was launched with the assistance of Stewart Price (how's the clutch Neil?) who was in the 'Ringing Wet' group. Stewart had a bit of a sulk when he realised he wasn't to be first on the Lutterworth boat. I had to dry his eyes and reassure him that he would get his turn eventually.
After we all had a turn at slow manoeuvres, there were four of us, we noticed that 'Ringing Wet' was still on the slipway. Showing sympathy we went back to lend a hand. We each took two people into our boats making two groups of six- Stewart was still not on our boat and was, by this time, almost inconsolable.
Now for some real fun, it was time to open her up a bit (not above 4000 revs please) and do some fast turns and generally get a good feel of how the boat and us students could perform. The weather was pretty poor by this time but it did not deter our enjoyment Halfway through the session 'Ringing Wet' had got started and we handed back the two passengers and continued on our way.
Day two entirely consisted of boat work, with our group assigned to the 'Ringing Wet' for the first session. It was now that it became evident why this boat was so named. The bow is very flat and the slightest wave it came into contact with washed over the front of the boat and the crew.
Again we noticed that one of boats was still on the slipway unable to start. This time it was Steve's and guess who was stood on the side looking totally dejected? Yes, it was Stewart Price. I am sure this bloke is a jinx. I am glad I wasn't put in his group. We took pity on them again and allowed them to come aboard and play with us until Steve got his boat going. Thankfully this didn't take too long because that Price fellow really got on my nerves with all his whining. We all had a session in each boat and every boat had a different feel about it.
Joking apart, it was a terrific weekend and I thoroughly recommend it to everyone. Steve mentioned in his debrief that 'it is not rocket science.' Well I agree, but you need to be shown how to do it properly and, thanks to the three instructors, we were. I just hope we get the chance to develop our skills.
Again thanks to the instructors, also the other members present who helped to make it an enjoyable weekend:- Andrew Jacks, Pete Barnard, Ian Jennings and Stewart Price.