Thanks to all the rather more experienced people for taking me on rather more of an adventure than I was expecting on the first proper trip out in the Perception Essence 17, and for looking after me. I'd paddled one of these boats back on my 2* course about 5 yrs ago, but only on the tame waters around Itchenor, I bought this one late last year, paddled it once on the Hamble Bark Store session, and once on Tuesday night on the lake, with a bad back.
So to suddenly find myself crossing the shipping lane of Southampton Water, with a gentle wind over tide beam sea gave me something to concentrate on, and I'm not ashamed to admit I found it a little stressful at times! Thinking to myself as the wake from the Red Funnel and Red Jet passed by "don't capsize here of all places!" which of course makes you even more tense, and the problem even worse! lol
To look around and suddenly see Peter Stewart coming up behind and alongside me again was quite a reassurance, and I had full confidence in every one of the others that if I had managed to foul up big time, they'd have been there helping (and probably laughing!).
I think when Peter rolled my kayak on the Tuesday night at the lake, and nearly fell out of the seat, he'd perhaps somehow knocked one of my foot pegs, and as we left the slipway at Warsash, I realised I had one leg shorter than the other, felt very disconnected from the boat, and so when they said we were going across to the other side, we had to raft up, and Peter managed to reach in and adjust the foot peg back up a notch or two, which made all the difference.
Had someone said to me before the trip that the plan was to head off to the other side, I'd probably have said "no thanks, not for me, it's too much at this stage", which may be why they didn't tell me! It was actually a really good experience to start building up from, to feel the effects of the tide on the different, longer boat, see how she behaved in the larger waves, learn from John Doyle about how the use of the skeg can counter the tide/wind, and to deal with the beam sea in a rather more narrow and tippy boat to what I'm used to.
By the end, apart from the wind and tide easing, and working with the tide to head back, I was more relaxed, and beginning to really enjoy it on a glorious sunny evening.
Thank you to all those there, including Peter, John, Paul Richards and Lyn Jack. Plenty more to learn, but small steps made, and at least I stayed the right way up!