Lessons

The Big Test

Last Sunday, we had to rescue Charly from the cold waters of the Georgia Strait before hypothermia set in. The rescue involved a series of maneuvers including tacking and trimming the sails for a beam reach and then a broad reach. With a sharp 90-degree turn, we were able to fish Charly out of the water with our boat hook.

Did I mention that Charly is a life jacket? I imagine the folks at Simply Sailing would have to pay someone a lot of money to get in the water this time of year!

Day three on the water of our sailing course drew on all the skills we’d learned (or not) so far. It was the last day and our instructor Larry put us to the test. Then on Tuesday, we had the immeasurable pleasure of writing the knowledge test for PCOC (Pleasure Craft Operator Card – like a driver’s license) and Basic Cruising.

It’s been an eventful time and a busy month. I had to rearrange my schedule to get the days off, which means I don’t have a whole lot of free time. Jason, on the other hand, has kept working until midnight on Saturdays; in other words, quality sleep isn’t really in the cards for him, since we met our instructor at the docks at nine in the morning.

The first day saw some engine troubles (which seems to be growing into a theme with us…). Joel was super calm and professional and we benefited from the incident, in a way. We had to scull back to the dock. In other words, we paddled a 24-foot sailboat through False Creek into the marina.

All in all, the class was worthwhile. Despite a lack of pedagogy in the on-water sessions, we were able to grasp what we need to get started on our sailing adventure. We are both fully licensed and have been making lots of sailing plans (more like sketchy possibilities, but hey, it’s a start, right?).

Our friend Jamie is back in town and he offered to take Jason, me, and my sister (who arrives from across the country for a visit tomorrow!) out on Paramour, his 43-footer that has put 40,000 miles of water behind it. Sounds awesome!

(As a side note, I’d just like to point out that I got my boating license before my driver’s license. For some reason, that amuses me.)

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Actual Sailing!

It has been a while since I put up a post, but it’s not for lack of activity. Actually, lots of real-life activity keeps me away from the internet, so maybe a lack of posting is a good sign. We’ll just go with that.

Yesterday, I left work early to meet Jason for our very first sailing class. We decided a few months ago to sign up with Simply Sailing for their intro course, which consists of three evenings in a classroom and three full days out on the water, as I explained in this post. Yesterday was the first classroom session. Our instructor Christof covered such lovely topics as hypothermia, basic knots, and reading tide and current charts (all vital knowledge, for sure).

His version of the figure eight knot goes like this: “You make a smiley face, then you strangle him, and poke him in the eye.” It actually works quite well and I like his morbid sense of humour. We have a different instructor for on the boat, so we will see how he measures up to Christof’s glowing first impression of the school. (By the way, several weeks ago he dropped off our books at our house instead of mailing them, since he lives close by. More brownie points for the sailing community!)

The people in our evening class will be out on the boat on Saturday, not with us on Sunday.  However, it seems like there will be a third person on our day, which will be nice from a social perspective, but it would’ve been awesome to have basically private lessons.

No, it isn’t…

Unfortunately, Jason works until midnight on Saturday and we have to be at Granville Island docks at nine in the morning on Sunday. Not fun. This weekend will be particularly trying, since the clocks go forward for Daylight Savings, so we will miss an hour of sleep. Oh, well. I’m sure he will survive, plus we can always go back to shore a bit early if we get enough practice in for the day, according to Christof.

We are both super excited to get out on the water, even though the forecast is predicting crappy weather for the weekend. I went out and bought a Wetskins rain jacket and pants set from Canadian Tire for $69.99. A lot of sailors have mentioned it on forums or blogs, and it seems much more reliable than the cheap vinyl outfit I got for refloating our boat. I don’t think this one will shred at the first touch!

Categories: Getting Started, Lessons | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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