As part of our preparation for going cruising, I have developed a list of new skills I need to learn. One of the easiest should be driving the tinny. For some reason, and I am not sure why (but could come up with some very good excuses), the Skipper has always driven our tenders (a tinny for Medina and an inflatable for our trailer sailer).
The tinny is our main access to land while cruising (unless we are in a floating marina) and how we visit people on other boats. I don’t want to be reliant on the Skipper if I would like to go somewhere, I like to have my independence.
As you may have read in my previous post about the tinny, we have a pretty set process of how we get in and out of the tinny with Orbit. So one of the first points of discussion was if I was driving would our tried and tested process still work? It does, accept the Skipper sits where I normally would, with Orbit sitting next to him. Orbit is not longer content sitting on either of our laps, he wants to sit on his own (but we still hold on to life jacket).
One the weekend I had my first lessons. I think you could summarise the whole experience as being ‘interesting’. Luckily there were no accidents. If we did, it would have been in slow motion because I was going so slow at times! But as I write this, we each have ten fingers and ten toes and there were no tears shed in fear or frustration.
When we were on one of our morning exploring expeditions, Orbit wanted to ride in the tinny as we walked over the sand flats back to the deeper water. After the Skipper lifted him into the tinny, Orbit settled himself in the ‘driving’ position next to the outboard and proceeded to go through the process of starting the outboard, just like the Skipper had taught me! It was a timely reminder of how he is always watching, always learning.
I have the starting sequence down pat. My steering is ok, its a bit rough at the start of the journey as I get used to it, but am ok by the time we get to our destination. Am still a bit rusty on coming back to Medina, trying not to hit her as we come along side the transom (back of the boat). I am wary because our tinny is aluminium and we don’t have the flexibility that inflatable provides when bumping into the boat.
Am still trying to come up with an easy way to remember which way to turn the throttle to speed up or slow down. But that is something that will come with practice. The Skipper informed me that rowing the tinny will be part of my next set of lessons – another opportunity for an ‘interesting experience’!