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Old 21 November 2012, 04:45   #1
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IanH says Hello

Im returning back to boating after too long.

When I was much younger, I was really into sailing, mucking about then instructing in boats all my spare time allowed. I was an RYA Sailing Instructor at 18 and held my Sports And Rescue Boat Cox and owned a Laser 2 Sailing Dinghy. This was in the days of the old RYA Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced qualifications. However, apart from a couple of weeks a year sailing from St Aubins Fort in Jersey (enjoying the 20 foot rollers off of Courbier lighthouse was my most memorable event), most of my boating was non tidal. I still have a heathy respect for the sea.

Almost overnight, I stopped sailing. I think it was a mix of degree, fast cars and women, then work work work.

My son is now 8 and during the summer, he went on a one day boating taster course where I use to sail. Thankfully he really enjoyed it, even though he got very wet and cold. He also went on a Rib excursion off of Littlehampton and came back with a big grin on his face (unlike someones 3 year old who was sitting behind).

We are also fortunate to have access to a flat in Littlehampton on the River Arun, overlooking the RNLI station. So as a family we have built up an affinity with the sea, but not on it.

Not that I could really afford it nor have the room for one, during the summer I started discussing getting a small boat with the wife. Whilst I was concerned with the logistics such as storage, she wanted to still dream of a gin palace. Until we went out on the ferry and the ferryman (come Ex Royal Marine, come RNLI, come local Rib operator etc) who said that he had more fun in his small boat than he ever did in his bigger one. I couldn't have paid him to have said it better than that! Then he said the magic words... you can roll up some ribs and put them in a bag in the boot of your car. I was sold and the seeds had been planted with the wife.

To cut a long story short, I bought a new Zodiac 3.6m Fastroller and have the deposit on a 6hp Mariner outboard for delivery in time for next season. I know its not going to be super fast, especially with 2+1 up, but the storage logistics and money as they are, it wouldn't have happened with anything bigger. The optional extras and safety kit has already started to mount up.

Initial trips will be up the Arun I feel, then if the wife gets the bug and as my son gets the idea, venturing further afield (via car), like Chichester Harbour.

Im also looking to update my boating qualifications soon too - i've lost my log books amongst various house moves and a 20+ year break doesn't help. RYA Level 2 and VHF, and probably RYA Level 1 for my wife and son.
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Old 21 November 2012, 06:15   #2
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It is good that you have come back to boats, once it is in your blood, it is always calling.
When you have got some miles under your belt with your new toy and feel like venturing further afield, Chichester Harbour is a fantastic place to explore, lots of nooks and crannies to poke around in and loads of wildlife.
You will need to plan carefully to get the best out of the tides, huge areas dry out and quickly. It is easy to get caught out.
Get it right and you will have a blast!
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Old 21 November 2012, 12:11   #3
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Littlehampton to the Black Rabbit is doable without too much difficulty but the lower Arun isn't very interesting as it's embanked and at most states of the tide you can't see very much. The tide's pretty fierce too so make sure you time things right!

Our preferred outing is to head to Chichester harbour, launching at Itchenor and taking a picnic to East Head which is great for sandcastles and swimming. It's in a completely different league to a trip up the Arun
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Old 22 November 2012, 17:27   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett View Post
Our preferred outing is to head to Chichester harbour, launching at Itchenor and taking a picnic to East Head which is great for sandcastles and swimming. It's in a completely different league to a trip up the Arun
I guess that's one way of jumping the traffic queue to West Wittering
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