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Powerboat Plans for the 2020 Season UPDATE

Progress: 2020 Powerboat Plan What's Progress Looking Like? This will be a far shorter read than the plan I published in the Autumn (see below). This is just a 'story so far'. Want a long read? Read that one again! Support 1 has been 're-tubed'. Her inflatable tubes were starting to go soft on every possible occasion. We tried leak repair, but that failed, so we've invested in a new set of inflatable tubes. We commissioned a Dartmouth company, Demon Ribs / Ribtube, to do the job, and they came up trumps. Can one say 'trumps' nowadays? It's not orange, it's the original bright citrus yellow. There's a joke in there somewhere.

Thanks to Demon Ribs Instagram feed for the photo

Most important, we invested in her some 10 years ago. She has a great hull, so we've probably given her at least 10 more years in our service. She and Support 3 are excellent workhorses. They're our lifeboats, along, of course, with 'Safety'. Support 3 is newer. She's not yet ready for refurbishment, but we plan to do the same for her when she's ready for it. Support 2 now has her controls on the better side of the console for tuition, the inboard side. We took her back to her supplier Wolf Rock near Kingsbridge for that. The supportive seat plus a fore and aft legroom adjuster have both arrived. So have the optional airline style seat belts, the dedicated gel cushions to sit upon, and the van door mirrors to help those with neck problems keep lookout astern. The frame to mount the seat is on order. I don't know about you but I can't wait to see what fun we'll all have in her. From this season on her primary purpose is as a teaching boat for Powerability and RYA Powerboat Levels 1 and 2 for Sailing Members who want to develop their Powerboat skills. My job is to help you go as far as your determination and ability will take you, and then to work with you to see if you can go that little bit further. We can stay inside your comfort zone, or we can push the boundaries. Man Overboard recovery training is planned. Working hard with Anna, I've scheduled these into the programme [not published at the date of writing this update], broadly two sessions a month, one on a Tuesday, one on a Saturday. Small groups of four folk plus an instructor, 'Safety', one of Support 1 or 3, and Dead Fred. We're keeping a log of all who perform this training. The objective is that volunteers, especially Support Skippers, do this at least once a year, and that all our Powerboat Instructors teach more than one session each. Powerability is a continuous programme. Roger Holroyd is co-ordinating how we're delivering this both to individual Sailing Members and to members of Groups. He'll let us all know when he's got hos planning finished. Vessels suitable for delivering this are the NAB, The Farries Flyer (ARC) and Support 2. We're anticipating a lot of Powerability Certificates this year. Powerboat Level 2 is an area where I want us to run courses to meet demand. Some will be one to one tuition on Support 2, some will be six person courses with two instructors and two boats, some will be Support 2 making perhaps a seventh person with a third boat and instructor. We'll run some courses mid-week and some on Sundays over more than one weekend. I don't have a handle, yet, on the perfect duration on the water for a Support 2 course for someone with limited mobility. The angle of the ramp to the pontoons, and avoiding getting chilled are key factors here, too. So we'll learn together. Actually, you will teach Dart Sailability what you need. Continuous Powerboat Handling Improvement is something I see running alongside the Man Overboard training, but using a different part of the river. We have ideas on what to teach, you have ideas on what you want to learn, so we'll work this out together. More bulletins? When there's something to say. Need something I've missed? I'm not a mind reader. If you don't tell me then how will I know? Tim Trent Chief Power Instructor


Autumn update

As many of you know I took over as Chief Power Instructor from Andrew Cushen in September 2019, and I'm building on his excellent work both when he was in my role and previously as Principal, and the work Richard Fellender put in before him in the same role. They've given us a very firm foundation and worked hard to commission truly excellent vessels and help us get our skill levels up to where they are today.

I'm going to warn you. This is a long read!

Powerboating for those with disabilities

As well as excellent vessels they've laid another foundation stone, the RYA Powerability scheme, a scheme Dart Sailability shared with the RYA. They adopted it, made some changes and rolled it out nationally.

What's Powerability?

It's a scheme that recognises that not everyone chooses to go afloat under sail, and also that some who like sailing also want the chance to learn to drive a powerboat. That's the short description. Here's the long one.

How do you get on board?

One of my targets is to take as many folk through the Powerability scheme as wish to go through it. Doesn't matter whether you're part of a group or an individual member, we're being even more proactive in offering it to you. Part of the responsibility is yours, too. Make sure the team on the day know that you want to go further with your personal Powerability scheme. Make sure you have access to your own log book.

Can it be made more straightforward?

We're doing a few things to make it even easier to learn.

We've modified the NAB dory at zero cost to bring the throttle inboard so an instructor can help you with it if you need help.

We've looked hard at the Farries Flyer (the ARC) and at its second steering position. Self propelled wheelchair users can manoeuvre under it with good clearance for legs, but some of the larger powered chair users find it doesn't quite clear their legs. We have a simple and almost zero cost engineering solution planned by The Two Rogers, Astley and Marsden, with Juliet Prentice modelling for it with her powered chair.

We're working on Support 2, Jano, as well. She's an excellent powerboat, lively and responsive, and we've learnt a lot about your needs for her over the past year since the Essex Trust very kindly donated her to us.

The key thing is supportive and comfortable seating. I've chatted to and taken input on the phone from many wheelchair users. David Pendlebury has been instrumental in taking this input along with recommendations from Andrew, Roger Marsden, Richard and others on how to handle modifications. It's been a team effort. He and I have identified how we can modify t