When I was younger, my parents thought myself, my brother and sisters should learn to sail.
They loved it.
I got my RYA level 2, after which I declared to my parents that I would never set foot on a sailboat again – unless it was a yacht, I was sitting on the front in a bikini, in the sunshine with a cocktail in my hand.
I was given the task of organising a ‘team building’ day at work. Someone had a friend that has a few yachts, so it was quickly decided that we would be sailing. Fan-bloomin-tastic.
Luckily, the sun was shining. Although, our captain had missed my memo about having the cocktails ready – we all got strapped into our life jackets at Portsmouth for the crossing to Cowes.
The water was incredibly choppy and the wind was blowing a gale, but we all felt safe in Captain John’s capable hands! For most of the crossing, the mast was practically parallel with the water. I was terrified, clutching onto the side that was furthest out of the water while being laughed at by my colleagues and The Gentleman. He later took pity on me and made sure I was wrapped up in his arms, to keep me safe – that part of sailing I don’t mind!
Slowly, after a few tacks, Cowes started to appear getting closer and closer. We managed to pull into the channel, just before a huge race that we would have definitely been caught in if we were more than a few seconds later. Unfortunately, I had missed a few calls from the ladies that I had arranged lunch through and we managed to arrive at our lunch spot a whole hour later than we were supposed to.
Even though we were so late, The Island Sailing Club had done a brilliant job of keeping the food for us and the marquee looked amazing. I had booked us the marquee on the very top balcony of the building, which provided excellent views of the harbour and town below.
Our lovely waitress then announced that the food was ready, and we all poured over to fill our boots. The staff had been so worried that the food would have spoiled by the time we were ready, but they shouldn’t have as it was utterly delicious.
I gave colleagues a choice of two dishes, served Buffet style, to choose from. Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni or Thai Lemon Chicken and Coconut Sauce – I went for the Spinach and Ricotta which was absolutely gorgeous.
Obviously, The Gentleman checked my food for poison, as always.
The piece de resistance though, was the pudding (gosh, you must all think I’m such a fatty – I am!) heavenly Sticky Toffee Pudding and a Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Roulade.
I’ve eaten A LOT of Sticky Toffee Puddings in my time, but this one was just exceptional. I don’t know if it was the extra plump sultanas or what, but it was light, sticky, and sickly but oh so good. Honestly, there aren’t enough adjectives in my vocabulary to explain how good it was. I could have had another, and on reflection wish I did – or at least taken one for the next day!
When we had all eaten our fill, we grabbed the last of the bottles of wine for the road, said our thank you’s, and headed back to the boats.
We were now racing against the clock, as the bus I had booked had said that the latest time he could leave was 7.00pm.
This meant that the sails were down and engine on for the journey back. The sun was still shining, so we reclined in the boat to chat and drink the last of the wine. I felt much safer!
The Gentleman looking so serious about his roll steering the boat.
Oh, my mistake, he was just looking for the wine. Obviously.
The sea was now much calmer, so it took no time at all for Portsmouth to rush up and meet us.
I was definitely one of the ones to fall fast asleep on the bus home – all that sea air must have got to me!