Thursday, September 01, 2005

Summer's End

Tonight was my very last sailing class for the summer and my last in White Sail III with the Surrey Sailing club. I have Cheryl to thank for a fantastic summer - she made it possible for me to go out two nights a week, meet a lot of neat people, and grow in a new and exciting direction.

Sailing through the Summer
Photos by Allan & Cheryl

I am home now with my 'report card' which I am humbled to say, shows a check-mark in the 'Demonstrated Consistently' column in every listed skill required to pass the course. So now I have, in addition to my White Sail I and II certifications, the last of my White Sail stickers.

Sailing with instructor Mike
Photo courtesy of Calvin Lo

Sailing downwind on the port tack with instructor Mike
Photo courtesy of Calvin Lo

Geoff, our instructor, said that most adult students will stop at WS III, get their own boats and learn whatever other skills (like using a spinnaker) on their own. But there are further certifications - Bronze Sail 4 and 5, and then Gold Sail 6 and 7. Bronze teaches advanced sailing skills (like sailing without a rudder) and introduces the student to racing and racing strategy. Gold teaches advanced racing skills and prepares the student for the instructor certifications. Cheryl and I have talked about my possibly taking the bronze certifications, but we'll just wait and see how it goes.

Sailing Instructors - Geoff(l) and Keegan(r), my WS III instructors. Yeah, Geoff looks quite young for a sailing instructor - he's going into his 3rd year of university this fall. Don't let that fool you because this is his 7th year of teaching sailing.

In this, my first season of sailing, I did not miss one class in ten weeks @ two nights / week. That means I got to see twenty sunsets from a sailboat this summer. I got to go out on the water on a couple of nights in rain and light squalls, as well as on a few nights when there was barely a breath of wind. On those nights when it was calm, my sailing partners and I (we were two to a boat in a class of 12 and pairs were shuffled often) would chat about work, family, hobbies, etc. I got to introduce myself a few times like this:

Me - "I'm a writer."
Sailing partner (sounding all impressed) - "Oh really?"
Me - "Yes, I write fiction. I write documentation for a software company."
Sailing partner - "Well, I guess that does count as fiction alright."


Mama Bird said...

Well done! I suspect this is a rather bittersweet time--sweet because of the sense of accomplishment at learning a new skill and because of the great memories you now have, but a bit sad because the adventures are now nothing but memories...and photos, of course. ;-)

LarryandJean said...

Ah, yes! But who knows when there might be a sailboat in his/their future. One never knows. Hey, they might someday live on the East Coast and we could pool resources. As everyone knows, without someone like Allan to provide the "motivation" I would never get enough use out of one to make it worth owning.