Have a Go Learning MicroAdventures Sailing Scotland

You Seriously Expect me to Take the Helm? At Portovadie

Portovadie Marina, Scotland
Written by Kirstie Pelling

You Seriously Expect me to Take the Helm?

It’s day 3 of our Scottish learn to sail experience and we’re off to Portovadie Marina. And just as I am starting to relax, safe in the knowledge that it’s Stuart that’s training to be a skipper and not me, I find that I am asked to take the helm after all. Surely that can’t be right… it’s not what I was told on day 2.

What you want me to take charge?

Today I am asked to take the helm and direct the rest of the crew to competently manage sails, reefs, compass and wind direction. Seriously? We are to have a race around four buoys. I can’t see the buoys in the wide expanse of water and I have no idea how to get around them. Hannah and I are a team. Simon shouts orders and we respond too late or not at all. Then the others form teams and do it properly.

Simon tries to teach me the points of sailing. He does it by sailing. I would rather he did it with a diagram and a cup of tea in the cabin. He makes me a cup of tea, but I stll don’t understand points of sailing.

Little girl winching in the sails

Hannah seems to be pretty useful

Welcome to Portovadie Marina

We pull into Portovadie, a new marina. Very impressive toilets, which make the Victorian efforts from Rothesay look like loos from another century. Which they are. These toilets are like posh hotel loos. They even have hair straighteners in the men’s. I don’t find this out by going into the men’s. I am not a men’s toilet inspector. It’s Phil who tells me about the straighteners. Phil is almost bald so I’m not sure why he noticed them. Eyebrows?

Portovadie Marina, Scotland

Hanging out in Portovadie is more my sort of thing

Pontoon bashing?

As the sun washes over the bay in the early evening we do some pontoon bashing. I feel like a learner driver in charge of someone else’s Rolls Royce as I haul the yacht around the harbour, reversing and pushing it into first gear, narrowly missing other yachts. I have to do a handbrake turn, something I am not even good at doing in a car! No one bashes the pontoons completely and we retire to the bar for a pint to celebrate.

The harbour at Portovadie

Portovadie Marina, Scotland

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.

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