Sunday, April 22, 2012

First On Water Sailing Lesson

FINALLY!!!  After a cold that turned into a sinus infection and then threats of snow during a prior weekend, we had our first on-the-water sailing lesson at the local reservoir.

My wife and I and two other students went out with an instructor in one of the J/22's (on the right side of the dock in the above picture) that the sailing school uses for primary training.  It was a beautiful day with light to moderate winds, just perfect for our first lesson.

We learned quite a bit.  Making the boat ready to sail (we actually found an issue with the engine and switched boats), rigging the jib and main sails, departing and returning to dock, sailing various points of sail, tacking, gybing, when to use some of those knots we covered in the classroom, how far the boat can heel (and how exciting a wind gust can be when the water is almost to the deck), and the list goes on.  Each student had a chance to take the helm (steer) as well as handling and trimming the sails.

In an earlier post I mentioned all the terminology in sailing, and I'm pretty well convinced that vocabulary is the hardest part of this class.  When I "had the helm" I found that I had to ask the instructor  what the proper commands were on several occasions.  "Ready about?", "helms-a-lee", "ready to gybe", "gybe-ho"...why can't we just say "Ready to Tack", "tacking", "ready to gybe" (this one makes sense) and "gybing".  In the legal system there are some initiatives to write laws in plain English...wonder if someone has thought sailing could benefit from this. Of course, without all the terminology, sailing wouldn't seem all that romantic and mysterious, right? ;-)

All in all, a great day.  Can't beat educational AND fun.

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