The past few weeks have been fun for Michelle and Simon from Solent Events. Forever striving for excellence, the quieter time that the pre-Christmas period presents was an ideal time to get some higher level maritime training done & dusted. Of course in the UK this doesn’t come without it’s challenges in December. The RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Yachtmaster Offshore course followed by three exams was a relative walk in the park given that it’s classroom based, but the RYA Advanced Powerboat course proved slightly more challenging. The meteorology training from the previous weeks had taught them to expect some pretty awful conditions for this practical course from the synoptic weather charts and this was precisely what they got! (please excuse the quality of the image with this blog as Iphones and this kind of weather don’t mix!)
Day one consisted of some close quarters boat handling skills in one of our 8.8m high speed RIBs in a very windy Lymington Yacht Haven (What we affectionately call ‘pontoon bashing’). The conditions made it ideal to practice some more tricky man0euvres and test their nerves. Some time in the classroom thawing out from the cold followed allowing them to plan for a night time navigation exercise as the winds increased. Donning extra clothing layers, a dry suit and Ocean Oilskins they called Solent Coastguard to let them know if their plans before heading out into the rain with winds gusting force 8!
The object of the exercise was to find several ‘unlit marks’ in the dark on the Solent without using GPS or radar, sometimes a tough exercise in daylight and calm conditions. Visibility was so bad that several visual aids that can normally be seen (TV masts and lit bouys) could not be relied on so depth soundings and other methods had to be used but they managed to find their way despite the atrocious conditions.
The final day of the course included man-overboard drills but thankfully, the victim was a fender and a length of rope that kept launching itself from the RIB with no notice awaiting recovery. This course would then normally include a section on the theoretical practices for rough water handling in big seas… but they were ‘lucky enough’ to get the real thing with two meter + waves that provided many refreshing salt water cold showers!
The moral of this story is that when you go out on the water on a lovely sunny day with Solent Events, you can rest assured that our skippers (and even our event managers like Michelle and Simon!) are fully trained and qualified to deal with the most extreme conditions. Thank you to our friends at Powerboat Training UK for providing these top quality training courses to our staff.