The Duncan family take to the seas…

Boat1We have dined in Marbella, gazing through the rims of our Bollinger glasses at the beautiful yachts just waiting for us in the harbour. We have watched the sunset over the Bay of Naples as the world’s finest examples of the boat builders craft sail peacefully by. We have been on board the Queen Mary as it made its way to Hamburg. And I always think “What a long way I have travelled since we sailed our own modest little boat in the Isle of Wight all those years ago.”

How times change. Not only do we now own an enviable pad in Spain, but we also have our very own craft.

Getting it down to the coast was simple. Not for us the perilous Bay of Biscay route – we simply loaded it in its box into the car and there it was. Orange, shiny, self-assembly oars, all ready to take the risky tides of the Mar Minor head on.

Cathy, who is rather good at these things, thought she should check the instruction manual, since the briny can be a dangerous enemy. Just ask Christopher Columbus and all those poor people on the Titanic.

Here, word for word, are the notes and warnings supplied, that need to be observed…

Never navigate alone. Beware of offshore winds and currents. Don’t use for white water rafting.

Boat2Be responsible, do not neglect these safety rules. This could jeopardise your life and the lives of others. Do not drink alcohol or take drugs while operating the boat. Maintain passenger sobriety.

At planing speeds, in rough water or during sharp turns, all passengers should position themselves on the floor. No bow riding – this is illegal in most areas and is extremely dangerous. In case of falling, the man overboard is in the way of the propeller. (Propeller?)

Be especially careful when docking. Arms and legs may be injured if they are outside the boat. Keep a sharp lookout especially when operating near beaches and launch sites. Avoid sharp turns at high speeds, you could get ejected from the boat. Do not make changes in direction without advising passengers.

Avoid contact between the buoyancy tubes and sharp objects or aggressive liquids such as acid.

Do not smoke on board.

As you can see from the pictures, Sam and Jamie observed these rules to the letter, and had a safe and pleasant cruise. Poor old Robert Maxwell could have done with these handy tips. I wonder if his yacht cost more than eighteen quid…