Sunday, July 8, 2012

Not All Sailing Instructors Are Created Equal

We should have completed all of our on-the-water lessons for our ASA 103 course by now, but due to a few lessons where the wind failed to show up, we had some items we still needed to accomplish.  We were able to do that, for the most part, on Saturday.

There was another couple with us, and it was their first on-the-water lesson.  We got to talking while waiting for the instructor and found out they were looking at an early retirement of living aboard and cruising the Caribbean too.  Hopefully we'll run into them once we both make it out there.

As for the actual lesson, it mostly focused on what my wife and I needed to get done.  The instructor had us explaining how to raise sails, reef sails, execute the man overboard procedure, heave to, lower sails, and dock.  The winds were variable for most of the class, and the class was cut just a bit short due to weather that was moving in.

The problem I was having during this lesson was understanding what the instructor wanted.  He often asked unclear questions or made unclear statements, and given all the sailing vocabulary one needs to learn, it is important to be as clear as possible on the rest. One of my favorites was asking us what we should do "when a telltale on a sail was busy", tell it to keep up the good work?  I'm sure we would have understood "fluttering" or "streaming back with the wind" or pointing in any given direction...but busy...sorry.  Oh well.  My wife and I know the stuff, so no big deal for us...but I ffelt sorry for the other couple.  I'm sure our explanations wouldn't qualify us as being good teachers...but I don't think the actual instructor was helping the situation either.  So to Mike and Jennifer, if you are out there, I hope things made some sense and sorry if it was overly confusing for your first lesson.  Hopefully the tips on the good teachers we had will pan out well for you guys.

We have one lesson left.  It is on the bigger boat, the J/30 (above), and my understanding is that this is essentially the graduation exercise.  Then we need to decide the next courses, where we are taking them, which boat type (monohull or catamaran) we want to take them on, and what testing we really need to do to reach our goal.

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