So at this point I still hadn’t had Sooner out except for moving her from Pender to Victoria, and then once to Sidney to haul out.

Neither would count as a pleasure trip, and with the summer rapidly ending I decided it was time to stop moping around and actually go have some fun. There was a friend with their boat up north so I decided to go and join her and spend the weekend rafted up.

First however I had to get out of the marina, and that’s where it got tricky. Oak Bay marina is notoriously a bit of a pain to get out of – the fairway between the slips is only a few feet longer than my boat, and with a north wind blows you further down the fairway and if can’t make the turn then you are blown helplessly down sideways.

Which uh, is exactly what happened.

I reversed out, while turning, and then went forward while turning and almost made the turn but instead the wind caught my bow and blew it backwards, meaning I ended up being blown sideways all the way to the end of the dock as the black squiggly line shows. Which is how a couple of months after making a ‘getting wedged between slips like the Ever Given’ joke in Good Old Boat magazine, it actually happened.

I guess that’s Karma for you.

I avoided hitting anything by making frantic back and forth movements with the throttle as I drifted sideways, artists impression below

and ended up gently resting at the side of the dock at the end of the fairway, whereupon I was immediately surrounded by a bunch of helpful retirees, all giving wildly contradictory pointers.

As I hadn’t hit anything, the only damage was to my pride (it was pretty embarrassing) and I was able to eventually get off by reversing down on a spring line while someone else shoved my bow off with a boat hook and I got off.

However I was (as the kids say) SHOOK and as my confidence was pretty low already (having not been on a boat solo since Gudge with the exception of Frawg once) and combined with missing my ex I only had the boat out for around an hour before deciding to turn around and head back in. Where I completely nailed the docking, so that’s something.

The main lesson here is that Sooner is NOT Gudge – the difference between a fin keel and a balanced spade rudder and a full keel/ transom hung barn door combo is very different. I would have made that turn in my sleep in Gudge, but with Sooner I am having to have to get used to using spring lines and springing off docks, as I have no steerage in reverse. Forward is better, but she still has the turning radius of an oil tanker.

Overall, nothing got damaged (except my pride) and it was a good learning experience (abet a humble one).


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