Just me and my little boat – stuck at sea

I’ve hit my head more times in the past weekend than I have in probably the past ten years combined.

The first and last time I went sailing, 15 hours of terror-waves-hell-wind happened from Portsmouth to Guernsey. I laid below deck seasick until what seemed like the end of time. Therefore, there is no logical reason why I would sign up to a sailing course.

But as always, logic plays little role in my choice of activities.

After the first day of sailing, I was going to write about me and my little boat. About how initially scary and then how exciting and liberating it is to be out at sea with nothing but you and a little dinghy. It was just me and my little boat. No power. No petrol. No nothing. I go where the wind goes. I experienced literally what it means to have the wind in your sails, and it’s awesome.

On the second day of sailing, my very poor sense of direction and my little understanding of how wind and sails really work gave me 6 hours of stuck-in-the-same-spot-head-banging hell. Because the wind came from a different direction on the second day, I couldn’t sail like I did before. Obviously, I only memorised the route of my first day’s sail without applying actual knowledge!

To non-sailers, here’s what sailing a dinghy is like: Imagine trying to do one thing with your left hand, while doing something entirely different with your right, at the same time trying to keep your boat on course, while moving from one side of the boat to the other and then back again, just to balance it and to prevent a capsize, all the while bent over ducking like someone is very keen on taking your head off with a big solid metal pole.

Do that for 6 hours a day, two days in a row, together with the fact that eventhough you made all that effort but your boat hardly went where you wanted it to go, you finish totally knackered, spent, and glad that it’s over.

In the end, I got so used to the action of leaning out hard to balance whenever the boat turned, on the bus ride home, in my half-conscious state, I found myself leaning ridiculously whenever the bus rounded a bend. My body was convinced the bus was going to topple over.

If you’re going to learn sailing for the first time, here’s a heads up: It’s 80% frustration, 20% satisfaction. One of the guys kept capsizing. I kept on getting stuck in the no-go zone. It’s hard work, but once grasped, ultimately very worth it. Now I just need to book myself on the next course.

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2 thoughts on “Just me and my little boat – stuck at sea

  1. Because, like I said, it’s hard work, but once grasped, ultimately very worth it. I wrote that after the second day of the course, so I think it came across kinda shit – which it admittedly was for that day. But I had a great day on the first day and when everything works, when everything comes together and you’re in control, you’re just speeding across the sea with nothing to power you but nature. It’s a very humbling and awesome experience.

    To answer your question, I want to go back to get better at it – so that my shit sailing days will become less and less and I can go into the open sea with just a sail boat. :)

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