Since joining Shearwater in 2010 I've sailed in about a dozen different classes of dinghy. Starting with the Mirrors, there are five or more in regular use, everything from my ancient tub to Simon's newly refurbished beast with all the racing adjustments to be found on a new Laser. Interesting. The only time that Bill has ever capsized in his Mirror is when I crewed for him, so think first before you invite me to crew for you!

Then there are the club's Comets, a GP14 (this sexy name stands for General Purpose, 14-foot), an Enterprise (- yes, poor Colin was capsized by me too, twice), my Laser which I can get flat and up again in about 20 seconds, two Merlin Rockets which do just that, 5 Mirrors, an Optimist (sailing forwards and backwards), an Otter, Martin's RS2000, a topper or two and a beautiful Wanderer (the smaller cousin of the Wayfarer).
So, what am I telling you all this for? Because, where else could you find such generous, trusting and helpful people who can teach you so much about sailing? And it gets better; We are welcoming Ruth Hudson back next year and she has an 'Embassy'. This is a rare and delightful cousin of the Mirror, but with a pointed prow. Made in Bristol in the 1960's, there are only a handful in existence. Let's hope Ruth doesn't read about all my capsize practice, because I'd love to crew in an Embassy. I just hope we don't get the Regals wet!
Posted by Peter 'thanks for doing your duties this year' Barnes. 12.10.11