Last week my friend Kate and Living Social invited me to join one of their new adventures- a Day at Sea: Yachting, Speedboating and Posh BBQ. I grabbed at the opportunity as, those of you who follow this blog more regularly will know, I LOVE water and boats. In the summer we even took our 2.5 year old and 4 year old on a 2 day sailing adventure, so I can start sowing the seeds of this love for watersports in them.
As a mum I rarely get a chance for a treat just for myself. So I promptly organised babysitters ( as Oh-so-busy-daddy was out of the country this weekend). The day sounded perfect- an adult adventure, where I am not looking after Littlins, but enjoying the day just for the pleasure it gives me. Imagine, I woke at 4 am from the excitement and anticipation of the adventure. Just like a child waiting for Santa on Christmas morning!
The day involved getting to London to meet up with the Living Social crew, Kate and other paying guests. We headed down to Brighton together in a well equipped coach. On the way down we had the Muppet Treasure Island playing on the DVD to get us into the mood. It was a loooong trip to Brighton, as we hit diversion after diversion heading out of London due to a warehouse fire. We got to Brighton almost an hour later than we expected, but were reassured that the activities would not be shortened, instead we’d have less down-time between and leave back slightly later. Which was fine with everyone.
As soon as I caught sight of the sea I had my heart pumping double speed. Hurray! Good to see you again old friend, I thought.
We made our way to the marina, where the briefing was prompt. They split us into two groups- one group headed off sailing in two 35 foot Beneteau First sailing yachts and I was in the group going Power boating first.
The power boating has two levels of exhilaration: You get to go out on one of the largish RIBs fitting 6 or 8 passengers or if you are brave enough and prepared to don a wetsuit you go out on a Zap Cat. I wasn’t brave enough for the Zap Cat and headed out on the RIB.
The waters were calm, so we almost had to create our own wake. As we got out from between the high walls of the marina, the skipper powered the RIB up and we were off! He used the wake of other boats going in and out of the marina to launch us into the air. You cannot help but scream, as you feel the boat disappear from under your feet as it leaps off the crest of waves. You hang on for dear life! … or so you think. You scream, but a smile is plastered on your face permanently as the boat buzzes around, the salty spray occasionally getting you, fresh sea air sweeping your hair back.
Every once in a while the little Zap Cat pulls up and swaps its passengers with another pair from the RIB. The people on there are soaked, tell you stories of how extreme the experience is of being exposed to the G-forces, really hanging on for dear life… yet they all come off with HUGE smiles on their faces and go back for a second round when given a chance.
I did think to myself…I wish I had put on a wetsuit and not been so sensible. (I was afraid of hurting my dodgy knee further)… I wish I had had a go on the Zap Cat! …Oh well, next time!
By the end of the hour, my legs were ready for a rest and I was happy to be heading into theMarina. For you cannot just sit in the RIB, but have to stand in a sort of position you might if you were a jockey on a racehorse- that’s to ensure you don’t hurt your back as you come crashing down between waves. (On the Zap Cat you even get a crash helmet to wear, it’s that extreme.)
With legs shaking from the exercise and the exhilaration I was glad to be back on land and given the opportunity to rest for a little bit. The groups mixed well and not-so-small talk was flowing well. Several people came on their own, not knowing anyone, but I got the feeling no one’s got left out.
Next, for our group, it was our turn on the sailing yachts. As we swapped, we quickly exchanged tips and experiences with the other group. They enjoyed a relaxing sail, but hadn’t gone far for the lack of wind, barely enough to fill the sails.
By the time we got out of the Marina with the yachts a gentle breeze had picked up. It was a leisurely sail along the Brighton coastline. The skipper and first mate were provided by the company through which Living Social provided this adventure. We could choose to get as little or as much involved with the lines and at the helm as we wanted. We pitched in, helmed, hoisted and adjusted sails, pulled lines. It was very relaxing swaying on the boat in the late afternoon sun that kept on peering through the clouds. We managed about 2 knots of boat speed… not much, but perfect for the occasion… all that was missing was the gin and tonic or the bottle of bubbly. (Not that I in any way condone drinking on a boat!) 😉
As I suffer from motion sickness big time, my seabands came in handy at certain points of sail. (They had already proved their worth during the drive down to Brighton).
By the time we moored back into the berth at the Marina we were definitely ready for the BBQ at the yacht club. We had the pleasure of enjoying a rare warm sun set at the end of September on the deck, looking out over the sea walls and beyond. Good company, good food and a shot of rum to tie the theme of the day together.
Fed and thirst quenched we got onto the coach exhausted. I was planning to sleep, instead I laughed till my tears flowed at The Anchorman. The trip back into London was a lot quicker and smoother. In London we said our goodbyes and all headed home.
My last bit of adventure for the evening was figuring out where the stop of my home-bound coach had moved to, as I arrived to find the original stop in the midst of roadworks. In the process of finding it, I, with my devious, self-preservative intentions, managed to direct a group of drunken lads away from the temporary stop, ensuring they missed the coach and hopefully got a bit of chance to sober up before they got on the next one. Poor driver and passengers of that one!
That was a lovely and memorable day- One fine series of adventures for a day! You definitely have to have a basic level of fitness to keep up with it all, (I can feel some muscles I didn’t know I had) but so worth it!
Thanks Kate for inviting me along on this adventure! It was the perfect treat for a mummy needing a bit of treat just for herself!
(Disclosure: Although I did not pay for this experience, I have not received any further compensation for writing this post or for that matter even been asked to write about it. These views are my honest views on the experience. I do hope you get a chance to try it yourself!)