The sun sets over the Shotley peninsula as I drive in to the marina at Levington in Suffolk. I'm nervous, not least because I am several hours late. I am the last to arrive aboard Strata 6, a 36' Jenneau Sun Odyssey. I have taken advantage of a cancelled trip to China to take the practical Day Skipper RYA course. No meetings now, so an unusual window of opportunity. East Anglian Sea School have a place available and now I am aboard the boat with fellow students Peter, Keith, Dan and our instructor Keith.
Keith and I are working for our Day Skipper qualification, Peter is a budding Coastal Skipper and Dan is just starting out and looking to earn his Competent Crew badge. It's a good mix, although as the boat has only three cabins and the saloon, I will need to share the forecabin with Dan - and there really is not much space.
The first few hours are spent discussing safety on the boat, especially gas and fire, the two biggest enemies on any boat. We have extinguishers, blankets and alarms on board.
We are all a little awkward with each other: polite but somewhat forced conversation.
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