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Dozy Crew to Dozy Helm

After a couple of abortive attempts due to unsuiatble winds I had finally run out of excuses and had to admit that Wednesday evening was a perfect opportunity for me to have a first attempt at helming. The winds were light (F2ish) and it was a warm sunny evening. I am a rather reluctant helm, preferring to crew but have thoroughly enjoyed helming our rear sheeted and very stable Wayfarer on various estuary cruises. The thought of helming a much faster and less stable boat, complete with large spinnaker and riddiculously long tiller extension filled me with panic. Due to the very light conditions and lack of gusts I felt quite at home and relaxed but then came the first tack. Having been used to rear sheeted boats for the past 2 years I got in a complete muddle, changing hands, un-changing hands, facing the back of the boat and then facing the front. All of this led to a complete 360 turn worthy of 'Strictly Come Dancing' and left my poor crew rather confused and dizzy. Thankfully, subsequent tacks and gybes were more fluent but I still have to work out a comfortable way of holding the tiller extension as it all feels rather awkward at the moment. I approached the first spinnaker hoist with some trepidation but due to the conditions, I was able to experiment with letting the spinnaker fill and then collapse in order to get an idea of the procedure. After an hour or so, I began to enjoy helming the Xenon and whilst I would not even attempt it in high winds or (heaven forbid) in a race, I am looking forward to a second attempt. None of this would have been possible without Mr T, my trusty helm (or in this case my trusty crew), his patient and knowledgeable advice was invaluable.