Parrot not included

I had to share – I have just got my sign up instructions for the seamanship course I am doing at Easter.  I felt this might be a wise thing to do for when I sail in the sea (I don’t intend to – but you never know), wear Arran jumpers (I will never do this – do you know how much knitting there is in one of those things??) or smoke a pipe (obviously a health no-no).

So it was with great excitement I opened the email inviting me to the course.

Apparently –

“We will be using Wayfarers for the course which will include a full inversion capsize, lee shore leaving and landing, man overboard, sailing backwards, rudderless sailing, coming alongside, picking up moorings, anchoring, being towed and reefing afloat.”


  1.  “full inversion capsize” – e.g. swimming beside an upside down boat – that’s fine – lots of practice a this one.
  2. “lee shore leaving and landing” – not too concerned – given where I sail I think I have done this lots without the fancy name.  So now I shall be able to discuss it with aplomb.
  3. “man overboard” – falling in – giant tick.
  4. “sailing backwards” – I have quite literally no idea of what this is.  I can’t even guess.  I have been sat here 5 minutes….
  5. “rudderless sailing” – surely this is actually known as ‘drifting’?  I wasn’t aware there was a professional way of doing this, so I am afraid I may well have picked up a number of bad habits already…
  6. “coming alongside” – another one I can do!  Fortunately they didn’t say ‘coming alongside and then stopping in a controlled fashion’.  When I do this I like to call it ‘crashing’.  Usually the boat I come alongside calls it this too.  And the insurance company.
  7. “picking up moorings” – Hmmm…. think this may be ‘coming alongside and then stopping in a controlled fashion’…. I’m checking my new insurance docs right now just to ensure I’ve still got this one covered.  Yes… explains the rise in premium however.
  8. “anchoring” – I sail an RS Vareo on the deepest reservoir in Northern Europe – trust me – I’m not going to be managing an anchor on that long a chain on such a little boat.  Unless a tattoo is compulsory to pass the course?
  9. “being towed” – definitely been towed before so I should pass this bit – although more usually its ‘boat being towed with me sat in the patrol boat’, but sure it won’t be that much different.
  10. “reefing afloat” – just one thing… I’ll say it slowly…. FULLY BATTERNED SAIL.  If I could reef afloat I wouldn’t need to know about points 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 or 9.

I don’t see parrot-balancing on the list!!  It’s the only REAL reason for me doing this and I would have thought would have been fundamental to this type of course.

Fortunately my beard-cultivation is coming on well.


Captain Birdseye - the Consummate Seaman and Parrot Balancer extraordinare



  1. I must stop reading these at work – they already suspect me of being a little unstable and laughing uncontrollably for no apparent reason followed by the most unladylike of all snorts is just not helping my case I feel!

  2. Great to see I’m not alone in my sailing experiences! There is a reason I now get to teach capsizing as an instructor… having had lots of personal experiences with that one!

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