Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Adult Learn to Sail, J22 Match Race

Sailing on the High Seas

Four short weeks ago, I decided to sign up for the Adult Learn to Sail class. I’ve always wanted to learn how to actually crew a sail boat. As much as I enjoy being a passenger on a pleasure craft (cool drink in hand) the idea of ‘learning the ropes’ has always appealed to me. I suspect, that interest was first piqued many moons ago in primary school when I learned of the ‘Pirates of Nassau’. I was particularly intrigued by the stories of the female pirates Anne Bonney and Mary Read. Please don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the element of criminal activity that interested me. Rather, I was envious of their insatiable sense of adventure and fearlessness. What free spirits!

I don’t think I said a peep during the first class. I was just trying to take it all in. Was I really on a small sail boat in the bay bordered by New Providence and Paradise Island? Indeed I was. I couldn’t help but think “This is so cool!” every so often. From the very beginning, both of the instructors put my fellow students and I at ease. We always started with a quick lesson on land and were soon off to the boats. I have to give credit to the instructors for the skilled manner in which they transferred the basic information to us landlubbers. They took genuine pride in teaching us and were always cool, calm and collected.

Each session involved a slightly different objective. We learned the ropes and a whole new vocabulary, hoisted the sails, maneuvered out of the dock, practiced man overboard drills (with buoys of course!), tacked, jibed, reversed, tied knots, learned the basics regarding going to regattas and even raced! What an adrenaline rush!

On the very last day we joined other sailors from previous sessions for match racing. Each boat was skippered by a novice who was accompanied by an expert sailor and a junior sailor. I was so proud of those who had just completed the session with me. They all looked like professionals out there on the water. We all spent the day grinning like Cheshire cats because there was so much fun being had. Everyone had a great time.

I would have to say that the sailing lessons were awesome! I learned a lot and met a group of fantastic people. I’m so glad I took the class.

Although I’m not a natural at the helm, I can’t wait to get back out there to practice what I’ve learnt. In the meantime, I’ll be practicing my knots :)

-Ann-Marie Edwards

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