Generally, it is ill advised to go out of one’s comfort zone regarding transportation. Most of us are au fait with cars, planes, trains, buses and bicycles. Occasionally a new fad is the next must-do, and we find ourselves thronging with the flock to become early adopters. For the princely sum of £20, via Groupon, we can enjoy the privilege of getting down and dirty in a forest on, say, a Segway, before twisting our ankle and realising that the fad is just that.

The saying is true: if it seems a bad idea, then it is a bad idea. I for one was an early adopter with the Sinclair C5 for example, spending many miserable hours trundling up and down Hastings seafront in my youth before spotting the design flaws of a battery that lasts 12 minutes, the lack of roof and the inability to gracefully disembark without serious injury.

Curiously, having grown up by the seaside, I was always a landlubber, rarely setting foot on anything that sailed, besides the old school, one-day, Dover-Calais booze cruises, before someone cleverer than I worked out that it is cheaper to just buy it from the local Sainsburys and that an Englishman in Calais was as welcome as a cannibal at a vegan convention.

It was with this in mind, I agreed to an invitation from a friend of mine, Rob, to go out and do some cruising. After confirming that he meant on a boat and that this was not some illicit liaison behind both our wives' backs, we set sail on a glorious summer’s day out of Falmouth harbour. I have always seen boating as being in the same ballpark as golf: An ultimately pointless exercise for the middle classes, with each participant looking more miserable than the next as they wear inexcusable fashion. The revelation for me was that I was now a sailor: I found it utterly exhilarating, as I admired the scenery, others' vessels, and felt the wind through my bald patch prior to wimping out due to the ‘north easterly front’ and placing on my North Face cap.

As we made our way in the wakes of Ellen MacArthur and Ben Ainslie, Rob decided to test my mettle and, despite my protestations, he was left sorely disappointed.

A two-second warning of an impending ‘doughnut’ was met with derision until I went flying from port to starboard (I think). I then, having composed myself and wiped the Marmite off my face, decided to pop my head up for a gander. At that point the North Face cap disappeared for an impromptu dip. Rob, relishing a challenge, put his emergency plan into action and, having scouted the area, managed to locate said cap and retrieve it via the means of a long pole contraption with a spike on the end.

This is when reality hit as this was not my comfort zone. Yes, I have seen Titanic and Cape Fear, but there was all manner of appendage in every nook and cranny and I had to ask for confirmation at every turn.

A laid-back-and-then-some soul, he entrusted the jumping off with the rope job to me although, I could see sadness in his eyes when my knot, the name of which has not been invented yet, failed to hold and £50 grands worth of boat started to bid him farewell.

Being Cornish, it was not a problem. Like Hasselhoff he merely dived in and swam to the boat to rescue it, as you do, before bringing it back home, via dolphin country where the post-cruise deep cleaning operation took place.

To be honest there was a lot more to it than meets the eye. Mechanical checks before embarking, filling up with fuel from a floating petrol station (minus overpriced snack shop), and the cleaning of every surface leaving it ‘ship shape and Bristol fashion’.

But, surprisingly, I was bitten by the bug and am now somewhat smitten. I even dusted off the two-man dinghy when I arrived home from Cornwall and plan to take an impromptu hack down the river Colne this weekend. The camaraderie was similar to biking without the snobbery, the old gentlemen piloting little ‘Dignity’ is treated with the same reverence as the superyacht owner and I for one believe this new passion will sail, although I am still to be convinced as to the merits of golf.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher