First Time

Today, although it’s Easter Sunday, I went sailing. It was the first time to sail having completed my RYA Level 1 course. I arrived at WSC nice and early. The idea was that I would either find someone to cruise with, or someone who needed a crew to race, or sail on my own. I had a coffee and tried to find someone to sail with. Since there weren’t any other newbies there and I wasn’t asked to crew for anyone, it was decided that I would sail on my own. I was told I should get a Firefly. The club Fireflies are quite old. I am not really complaining, but they are nowhere near the RS Visions that I trained in. Anyway, I struggled a bit to rig it, but with a bit of help from David, the Firefly Class Captain, I managed to do it.

In the first part of the morning I thought I should try to sail without a gib. Let’s start with one sail first and then move to two. The wind was not as strong as I would have liked so it was a bit frustrating at times. I had to stay in the middle of the boat because if I would sit on the side the boat would heel over. After the coffee break I rigged the gib and the wind got slightly stronger. The trick to use the gib while sailing on your own, is to tie the two gibsheets together so they don’t fly completely away when the gib flaps. I still had to kneel in the middle of the boat anyway. This makes your knees sore and from time to time you have to stand on the boat to stretch your legs. Occasionaly there was a gust of wind which would help me sit on the side of the boat. My greatest achievement was that I didn’t get on the way of the boats who were racing but I still enjoyed it a lot. I also managed to stay dry, although I was sailing a dinghy with an aft mainsheet, something I hadn’t done before.

Overall it was OK and I felt quite confident all the time. My only worry was to stay away from the “racers”. I was in a boat that I hadn’t been before and it was quite cramped for a person my size, but it was a good experience. It would have been better if I had a crew to balance the boat. That way we could tack and gybe properly rather than sit in the middle and just swap the tiller extension and the mainsheet between my hands. At some point they told me if I wanted to take a young boy with me so I had a crew, but obviously he would helm half of the time. Unfortunately for me, he wanted to sail with someone experienced and not a newbie like me. A bit surprising considering he is a newbie. Actually that was his dad’s choice. On the other hand, he might had been concerned about his son’s safety. I don’t know, I don’t care and it’s none of my business really.

During lunch I talked to Brian and told him about last Thursday’s incident were the BTYC club people tried to convince me that I should join them and that WSC was not good for inexperienced members. As I wrote, here before, these comments could put someone off sailing, therefore I decided I should tell them. Now it’s up to the club to do whatever they think they should.

Wednesday I am going sailing again. I’ll let you know how it goes.