Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Summer Sailing Adventure - Home from the Sea

Tonight, I got to do a little living thanks to my wonderful wife. I am just now returned home from the first class in a beginner's sailing course that Cheryl signed me up for this summer as my Father's Day present for this year. It's actually two courses offered by the Surrey Sailing Club, but they cover the Canadian Yachting Association's White Sail 1, 2, and 3 levels across the two courses.

White Sail covers the beginner levels: teaching basic safety, boat-handling, and seamanship in winds up to 9 knots. Bronze Sail levels 4 & 5 teach advanced sailing techniques in winds up to 25 knots. Gold Sail levels 6 & 7 introduce racing and advanced racing techniques.

Cheryl was surprised to find that it has been years since I took a class for fun. It's been over 10 at least. The last time I was in a class environment for practically anything (where I wasn't teaching) was when I was taking basic sea kayaking lessons.

Tonight we were introduced to our instructors, Geoff and Mike, and to each other. From the comments around the room, I take it that the Sailing Club had divided the registrants into two classes - a class of the young whelps and another class of 'mature' students. Well, you can guess which class I got dropped into. Still, I think I was the youngest participant present. Geoff is a 3rd year university student and Mike only just finished Grade 11!

The next 1/2 hour we spent going over basic safey principles in recreational boating. Most of the rules were very familiar to me from my sea kayaking experiences. The lone exception was of course the reminder to always look up for power lines when moving your boat to the water and back. Sea kayaks don't have 20 foot masts, so this was a new one on me.

After that we were introduced to some basic knots used to fasten the various lines (ropes) on the day sailing dinghies we were going to be trained on. This part of the evening was again more entertainment than actual learning, but not to worry, because it took both instructors and myself assisting some of my classmates before everyone figured out how to tie a bowline knot.

Having unsnarled everyone's cat's cradles, Geoff and Mike next took us outside and introduced us to the boats that we would be learning to sail in. The sailing dinghies we are using are called 'Pirates', so the pirate fleet we will be, at leat for the duration of this course.

Geoff went over the boat and taught us the names of its parts - while reminding us that we'll need to know this stuff so when we're finally all on the water and they are instructing us from the power boat, they can use the proper names of things instead of having to tell us to "untie that rope .. yeah that one over there in the thing-a-ma-gummy cleat .."

After that we got to pair up and rig and unrig some boats on our own. Hoo boy. At least I picked a competent partner. We only forgot to set one thing - and that was to hitch the tack of the mainsail to the cunningham. Oops! Otherwise we were shipshape.

Our next class is Thursday and that's when we get our first shot at getting onto the water. I can't wait!

1 comment:

LarryandJean said...

Whooooo, what fun!

I hope Sailor Dave gets to see this to learn that there's to be another sailor in the family. :-)