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Take a combination of the most painful sitting position imaginable, a long, wide, ungainly boat and two total beginners and you have an unlikely recipe for success at C2 slalom. Add the spice of potential matrimonial breakdown and divorce rather than victory seems the most likely result.

Undaunted Shamim and I bowed to pressure and entered the C2 event on the first day of the recent slalom. Safety was doubled, stop watches were set to minutes rather than seconds and away we went. The strategy for the first run was to get from one end of the course to the other without capsizing, and if possible take in a couple of gates on the way down, flushed with achieving this our second run actually took in all but one gate – though in the slowest time of the day.

Imagine my dismay on day two when I was unceremoniously dumped by my paddling partner and told to find some other mug to take her place – fortunately one was just around the corner…. Tom Airlie bravely stepped into the breach and away we went.

The boat was floating low in the water as we set off, my borrowed spray deck didn’t fit and Tom had already shown his prowess by capsizing before the second gate in his solo run. All I can say is that it was a brave try – disaster struck before the third gate when we sunk! Our second run was more successful and we reached the bottom unscathed, much to the disappointment of the safety teams. Last again, but progress. Perhaps next time, if I can find a partner……….

On reflection, I can take being beaten by Les and Sarah (they beat our record for the most rows on a single run too), I can take being beaten by a 7 year old (twice), I can take my wife refusing to paddle with me on the second day, I can even take the embarrassment of sinking before the third gate – but being beaten by Georgina Davis – and having to hand her and James the trophy - now that was hard to take.

Mark Limmer