Starting to sail with ‘Cachalot’ involved getting a Day Skipper ‘ticket’ to satisfy the requirements of the insurers.
We also needed a means of getting ashore, but what would be the best option? The first choice was certainly not suitable, a pretty little clinker dinghy that looked the part, fitted neatly on the cockpit roof but was much too ‘tippy’. The Seagull outboard also looked the part, but was hardly reliable, even with Jim’s expert advice. In the end, a flubber and outboard seemed to be the best solution.
After an excellent week with RYA Day Skipper instructor, Rob, just after Easter, 2006, we needed to get plenty of practice in handling ‘Cachalot’ before going out of the river. We started by carefully manoeuvering her in and out of the Tidemill YH, over the sill, taking care to check the tides so that we could return later! Sailing (or motoring) up and down the Deben to moor at Felixtowe Ferry or Ramsholt gave us plenty of opportunities to begin to learn about pilotage and how to sail – to get it right and, of course, to get it wrong at times! Like everyone else has done at least once, we did spend six hours aground, when Kate came out for a sail with us.
After joining the East Coast OGA Summer Cruise and sailing back to the Tidemill Yacht Harbour, an October evening out on the river turned out to be the last time ‘Cachalot’ sailed anywhere for nearly 15 years . . .