In order to head off any criticism before it gets to me, I tend to announce up front (in circumstances where it is relevant, and sometimes when it isn't) that I am the world's worst steerer. At least, proportionate to the amount of practice, experience and effort I have put in; there might be small children who have never seen a boat (though they'd probably pick it up and overtake me within minutes) and creatures without opposable thumbs who find it as much of a challenge, but I can't be sure.
This, as you might imagine, is a source of much consternation to me. I love boats so much that it seems there should be a natural affinity between us, but no; it appears that this love is unrequited and its object responding only with a chilly civility. Fantasies of chugging nonchalantly along, coolly tweaking the throttle and adjusting the tiller are replaced in reality with a constant state of near panic and a horrible feeling of inadequacy.
Why this should be, I do not know. It might be partly just the way my brain's set up - learning to drive a car was a similarly dogged war of attrition between me and my inadequacy, marked by one (oh yes, there were many) instructor memorably saying (imagine this in a lazy Yorkshire drawl) 'I'd guess you're not very good at practical things... Academically you're probably quite average, but... not very good at practical things...' Naturally I was most offended at being accused of being academically quite average, but had to accept his verdict on the other front. I won that battle in the end though.
And I intend to get the better of this one as well. The thing is, I am quite good at practical things, provided they don't involve heavy lifting or power tools. What I am not so good at is doing them under pressure, whether that's the pressure of having someone breathing critically down my neck, or the pressure of being about to hit something hard with a big lump of metal. (Boating of course often provides both. Simultaneously.) It's in circumstances like that where I am still (very occasionally) wont to doubt my judgement as to which direction I should be moving the tiller, and, far more frequently, to forget entirely which way the throttle turns, or, in extremis, which way is reverse.
Nonetheless, I am not nearly so bad as I once was, so I am convinced that, even with diminishing returns, if I practise enough I will eventually reach a level of adequacy, even if I never attain the flair of which I once dreamed.