Volunteering - one account of doing a Powerboat 2 level course
Published 11:16 on 28 Oct 2020
Third time lucky - diary commitments, tides and weather finally aligned to allow me and three others to take our Powerboat Level 2 last month under the very able and calm tutorship of Keir and Max.
We were in great hands and the combination of two days of theory, practical along with Ollie's provisions provided a well-paced and varied course.
The sun shone and the wind blew strong but the RIBs, Instructors, Helm and Crew were up to the challenge.
The climax of the course was the out-of-harbour high speed manoeuvres and I'll never forget the feeling of panic when I landed in the trough between breaking waves in the middle of a 360 turn and thought Instructor Keir was about to bounce overboard.
Half of the participants were very experienced so were attending the course to obtain the formal qualification and the other half of us were complete novices. We used two RIBS for the course with the students divided according to experience. As a novice to powerboating, obtaining the PB2 certificate at the end of the course felt slightly fraudulent when experience on the water remained minimal.
However, with 'Time On The Tide' (an informal, fun and unstructured session providing members the opportunity to increase their sailing hours on the water with a safety boat present) on the sailing calendar, I was able to volunteer as Crew on one of the two Safety Boats for this session a couple of weeks ago.
Huge thanks to Cox, Andy Devonport, for allowing me to take the helm from the 'get-go' under his constructive eye which provided opportunity to put into practice what had been taught during the PB2 course.
This time on a Jaffa which proved much more nimble and responsive than the RIBs (just as well when trying to come alongside Oppies on a constantly changing course), that was until the steering failed and the rescue boat had to be rescued! But panic not - a text book rescue took place with the help from the other Safety Boat, crewed by another recent ESC PB2 graduate. It was great to get out on the water, especially to be at the same (water) level as the sailors rather than watching from afar on the pontoon. To enjoy the tranquillity of the water (a huge contrast to the wild conditions on the PB2 course) away from the maddening crowds whilst helping out at the same time was a pleasure.
But more experience is required, so I'll be keeping an eye out for more volunteering opportunities to crew on a safety boat and hopefully get more practice on the helm.
Victoria Lovell - Membership Secretary