We got up early. The tide was running fast and against us and we had to get away from the pontoon before 7am or we would spend the next four or more hours on the mud.

I did the breakfast and tidied the galley. Harry got the ropes ready and did a briefing. Steven, Annabel, Rosie and Tom all busied themselves doing nothing very much.  A few shouts, some ropes released and we motored out of the marina.

The wind was strong and we had two reefs in the main. By lunchtime, we were ready to tie up outside Yarmouth. It was a complicated manoeuvre and we lost the boat hook. Anabel and Harry couldn’t agree on how quickly to move the boat and Harry couldn’t reach the buoy. Lots of shouting, a near miss with the ferry and eventually we tied up.

Lunch was tuna, mayo and sweet corn sandwiches; the sailing staple. We spent an hour eating, chatting and watching the boats. The wind, which had been gusting, calmed down to a steady consistent strong breeze. Lunch finished, we put up the foresail and sailed off the buoy, it was a first for most of us. The boat glided through the water, reaching seven knots. The sea glistened under the cold sunshine.

When I had the helm, I willed the boat to go faster. Faster than when the others helmed. I wanted to hit the eight knot mark but it never got there. We had the main and foresails fully out. Sometimes the mainsail flapped when I got distracted but Harry gently guided me in the right direction.

Before today, I hadn’t really noticed him. He wasn’t as tall as Steven but was taller than me. His voice was at least three octaves lower than any man I’d ever met. He laughed a lot and he listened to me and everyone else on board.

We sailed all afternoon until it was getting dark when we finally settled on a berth in Lymington Harbour. That night, as we all huddled up for warmth, I wondered if Harry was feeling the same emotions as me. I wondered if he would make a move.

As I untangled myself from the group and headed for the showers, I wondered if tonight would be our night.

This is a fictional account of a day sailing with some friends.

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