After some last-minute frantic building and adjustments to the Flotus raft on Brighton beach this Sunday, Pam and I set sail on our maiden voyage when we took part in Paddle Round The Pier 2011.
UPDATE 25 AUG 2011: Watch the video here! 🙂
The weather was glorious and there were plenty of rafters who took part with some wild and wacky creations. People paddled all sorts of rafts including a birthday cake, a fire engine, a plane, a gravestone and even a Wimbledon tennis court! (Well done to Seth and his team for that one!)
And I thought I was eccentric building a floating Lotus! Clearly I wasn’t the only mad person taking part 🙂
We took lots of silly James Bond-style photos posing for the cameras all around.
Thanks to Richie for playing the part of Jaws, and bravely wearing some tin foil on his teeth so it looked like he had metal teeth like Jaws had in the film The Spy Who Loved Me.
While having photos taken with the Mayor of Brighton, I asked if she would be able to create a permanent parking space for the Flotus on the beach – so I didn’t have to take it home. I haven’t heard back from her about that yet 🙂
After the “photo shoot”, it was time to lift the raft down to the water’s edge. Thankfully the raft was a lot lighter than last year’s HMS Undrinkable so it only took 4 of us to carry it safely down to the shoreline.
We were the last raft to launch and, to a round of cheers and applause, Pam and I scrambled aboard and started paddling out to the marker buoy.
The Flotus performed admirably, floating just above the waves, so that it actually looked like it was driving on the water.
Ok, it listed a bit to one side but I think that was a lack of air in one of the inflatable rubber rings. Something to adjust for the next race in Mudeford on 24th July!
Steering the Flotus was pretty simple, thanks to its low weight, and the small waves gently splashed over the bonnet.
Once in the raft we didn’t get wet at all. I actually surprised myself with the pretty solid construction of the raft. While paddling along it felt like we were in a proper boat. Well, almost.
Paddling out to the marker buoy was against the swell and current so wasn’t that easy. Sadly I can’t claim that the Flotus “glided” over the waves! It didn’t help when some of the nearby boats motored past and caused waves that were twice the height of the regular waves.
Still, the Flotus managed to get out to the buoy and, after a mini celebration and a quick drink of water, we turned around and headed back to shore.
Thankfully it was a lot quicker paddling back in. So, even though we were the last raft back in, there were still crowds on the shore cheering on our arrival. Not to mention the film crew from German’s RTE channel who were filming the whole event.I even got a phone call, while we were paddling in, from the director asking if we could paddle to a particular part of the shoreline where they had their camera set up on a crane! 🙂
Happy to oblige we steered the Flotus on a course for the camera crane. Well, there may have been a bit of deviation en route to collect a stray fin from the front of the raft.
Approaching the shingle beach we paddled towards the camera. Sadly, I didn’t have a fresh fish on board to re-enact the classic moment from the film when Roger Moore raises his eyebrows, smiles at bewildered onlookers, and drops a fish out of the car that’s just driven out of the sea.
Arriving back on the shore in one piece and to a round of applause we, not so elegantly, climbed out of the raft and then jumped into the sea in celebration.