14:09 Paul Robinson 0 Comments

I must have been tired because I slept like a log (where does that phrase come from? I can't even imagine). The final day's sailing would be a short trip from Portsmouth, back to the marina on Hayling Island. Ben took charge of the yacht and navigated us out of Portsmouth Marina and into the English Channel. I'm impressed with anyone who can manoeuvre these boats in an out of marinas – if you think parking a car is difficult you should try it in a boat where you don't even have brakes.
The weather had really picked up and the wind was blowing just below gale force. The sea was swollen and the boat was constantly climbing and falling through waves. I was glad I hadn't eaten a big breakfast because I was feeling a little bit queasy.
The benefit of the weather mean that you can sail hard. The boat heeled into the water and occasionally a big wave would hit and spray you. I had managed to get my eye in by now and I enjoyed taking over the rudder. Occasionally you would hear a 'boom' as the boat ripped through the waves.

Going for a pee in this situation was a challenge. Once you climb beneath the deck and lose sight of the horizon, you become very aware of how much the boat is rocking. Especially with books flying off the shelves. I staggered across the rocking floor towards the toilet. Thankfully, I've had lots of experience of staggering across wobbly floors. I opened the toilet door and had to virtually climb into the toilet cabin. I pressed my feet against the walls for a bit of stability and prayed that a big wave wouldn't hit the boat. I managed to climb back up on deck as dry as I'd started, proud of the challenge that I'd overcome.

We arrived back into the harbour of Hayling Island and it was buzzing with life. Sailors out in individual boats, organised races and larger boats like our own all jostled for position on the water. It was nice to see everyone out on the water – although apparently today was quite quiet. There is normally a queue to get into the harbour.
Back on dry land, we packed up the boat and tidied everything away. My land legs were a bit slow to return and I was now wobbling on land. I was hoping this wasn't permanent. In the car on the way home I had time to reflect on the weekend, and I'd really like to go sailing again. It's very easy to picture yourself in middle age, sailing around the Mediterranean and enjoying the sun. We can all dream.

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