gilana: (sailing)
 Last fall, I went out on the Liberty Clipper a few times, remembered how much I love being out on boats, and vowed to learn to sail this spring so that I could spend more time on the water. Community Boating opened on April 1 this year, and I became a member three days later.

Today their season ended. In the intervening time, I have been out sailing 37 times. Two of those were on the Liberty Clipper again, three on the Schooner Fame in Salem, twice with someone at the Boston Harbor Sailing Center, and thirty times with CBI. I’ve been at the helm of boats ranging from the beginner’s Cape Cod Mercury to a 420 racing-class boat to the 50-foot Fame and the 125-foot Liberty Clipper (including getting to tack both of the latter!)

I learned to rig a boat, and how to furl and unrig it. I learned to tell where the wind is coming from, how to trim the sail appropriately, and how to use that wind to navigate to where I want to go. I learned to control the amount the boat heels so that I can skim along on a close haul, body hiked out over the rail, without taking on a drop of water. I learned to look at the water and see changes in the wind approaching. I also learned how to make decisions quickly and commit to them, how to make a passenger feel secure even if I’m panicking a little inside, how to teach others new skills patiently, and that sometimes I can do more than I think I can -- all of which have come in handy in directing, come to think of it.

I still have one groupon left for the Fame, so I’m hoping to get out to Salem some time during Halloween week for one last sail, but I’ve got to say, that was a heck of a good season. I’ll be counting the days until the spring!

(Also, for some reason I can't get LJ to let me upload a new icon of myself at the tiller of the Fame.   Phooey.  This is a photo from on board the Roseway, taken last fall.)
gilana: (sailing)
 Last fall, I went out on the Liberty Clipper a few times, remembered how much I love being out on boats, and vowed to learn to sail this spring so that I could spend more time on the water. Community Boating opened on April 1 this year, and I became a member three days later.

Today their season ended. In the intervening time, I have been out sailing 37 times. Two of those were on the Liberty Clipper again, three on the Schooner Fame in Salem, twice with someone at the Boston Harbor Sailing Center, and thirty times with CBI. I’ve been at the helm of boats ranging from the beginner’s Cape Cod Mercury to a 420 racing-class boat to the 50-foot Fame and the 125-foot Liberty Clipper (including getting to tack both of the latter!)

I learned to rig a boat, and how to furl and unrig it. I learned to tell where the wind is coming from, how to trim the sail appropriately, and how to use that wind to navigate to where I want to go. I learned to control the amount the boat heels so that I can skim along on a close haul, body hiked out over the rail, without taking on a drop of water. I learned to look at the water and see changes in the wind approaching. I also learned how to make decisions quickly and commit to them, how to make a passenger feel secure even if I’m panicking a little inside, how to teach others new skills patiently, and that sometimes I can do more than I think I can -- all of which have come in handy in directing, come to think of it.

I still have one groupon left for the Fame, so I’m hoping to get out to Salem some time during Halloween week for one last sail, but I’ve got to say, that was a heck of a good season. I’ll be counting the days until the spring!

(Also, for some reason I can't get LJ to let me upload a new icon of myself at the tiller of the Fame.   Phooey.  This is a photo from on board the Roseway, taken last fall.)
gilana: (Default)
 I'm way behind on reporting on my sailing adventures.  I haven't mentioned that I've started taking out less experiences sailors for instruction -- there's nothing to show you just how much you've learned like teaching someone else! -- and I haven't talked about the second time [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo and I went out on the Schooner Fame in Salem, on a windy enough day that they had put a reef in the mainsail, where I got to take the tiller for a good long while, including taking us through some tacks, while the captain casually chatted with passengers on the middeck and only one of the greener hands was watching me.  (Although of course I'm sure the captain was complete aware of what the ship was doing, and would have corrected me if necessary -- he did have me alter course slightly a few times to better catch the wind.)

But yesterday was perhaps the best adventure yet.  Community Boating does Harbor trips a during the summer; most of them are on Saturdays, and the last Sunday one I tried to go on was cancelled due to thunderstorms, but we had glorious weather yesterday.  About 23 of us met up at CBI around 8:30am (this after I had been out until 2am celebrating a friend's birthday with drinks and ballroom dancing).  We were split up into groups of 5, assigned to boats (Rhodes 19s), loaded up all the necessary equipment, took off the booms, folded down the specially modified hinged masts, took a look at wind and weather conditions, and decided that our destination would be Lovells Island, a nice little island near Georges Island in Boston Harbor, a little off the beaten path.  Each boat had a skipper who has experience and training on Harbor trips, chart-reading, etc, and they were *supposed* to have a crew member who had been trained as well.  We ended up with 3 crew members, not 4, and I was the most experienced of the bunch.  But our skipper was great, assigned us tasks, talked us through what had to be done, and we managed pretty well.

The five boats were all tied together into a line, and the lead boat was attached to a motor launch.  The launch towed us under the Longfellow Bridge, through the locks near the Museum of Science, and out into the Harbor.  The skipper, Don, asked for a volunteer to man the tiller during the tow, and no one stepped forward, so I ended up doing that.  And then when we got into the Harbor and got the mast back up, well, I was already at the tiller, so somehow I ended up just staying there and sailing us all the way through the Harbor, with the skipper navigating and giving me occasional suggestions, until it was time to drop anchor off the island and get a lift in on the launch.  There was definitely some good wind; luckily the Rhodes have a way to secure the mainsheet so that I didn't have to manage it by hand the entire way, but still, I was pretty tired by the time we landed.

One couple had accidentally left their bag of supplies and lunch on the dock, so a bunch of us found a picnic table and laid out a nice shared feast.  After eating, I spread out my picnic blanket, blew up my inflatable pillow, and lay down for a rest.  Didn't manage to actually nap, but it was still very relaxing.  We were on the island for about two hours, then set off to sail back.

The two other crew members took turns on the tiller for a while (although the skipper managed the mainsail for them) so I got a chance to mostly hang out and enjoy the ride.  It was a little choppy and overcast, and somehow I evinced a particular talent for managing to turn forward just in time to take every major wave right in the face.  But once we reached the inner harbor the water got calmer, the sun came out, and I went and sat out on the foredeck, back against the mast, face up to the sun, and just soaked in the sun and the gentle motion of the boat until it was time to take down the mast, re-form our little convoy, and ride back to the docks.

All in all it was a really great day.  I got lots of time on the wato feel useful and competent, and I had a lot of fun talking to the skipper (who is a big geek, in the best way, so we kept discovering shared references that made us think "Aha, you're one of my kind of people!"  He's promised to take me out on a 420 some time soon, woohoo!  That's a much higher performance boat than any I've been on so far.

And then I got to run to auditions for PMRP, which [livejournal.com profile] ayelle  had been ably handling for me, in time to run the second and third group of auditions myself.  I feel good about the way I managed to assign sides -- a more challenging task than I've ever realized! -- and run my part of the readings, and I heard some very exciting auditions.  Looking forward to hearing more tonight! ...after I take some ibuprofen, a hot bath, drink more water, and take a nap.  I hadn't realized sailing was quite the strenuous, but I feel like I've been run over by a truck.  Oof!
gilana: (Default)
 I'm way behind on reporting on my sailing adventures.  I haven't mentioned that I've started taking out less experiences sailors for instruction -- there's nothing to show you just how much you've learned like teaching someone else! -- and I haven't talked about the second time [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo and I went out on the Schooner Fame in Salem, on a windy enough day that they had put a reef in the mainsail, where I got to take the tiller for a good long while, including taking us through some tacks, while the captain casually chatted with passengers on the middeck and only one of the greener hands was watching me.  (Although of course I'm sure the captain was complete aware of what the ship was doing, and would have corrected me if necessary -- he did have me alter course slightly a few times to better catch the wind.)

But yesterday was perhaps the best adventure yet.  Community Boating does Harbor trips a during the summer; most of them are on Saturdays, and the last Sunday one I tried to go on was cancelled due to thunderstorms, but we had glorious weather yesterday.  About 23 of us met up at CBI around 8:30am (this after I had been out until 2am celebrating a friend's birthday with drinks and ballroom dancing).  We were split up into groups of 5, assigned to boats (Rhodes 19s), loaded up all the necessary equipment, took off the booms, folded down the specially modified hinged masts, took a look at wind and weather conditions, and decided that our destination would be Lovells Island, a nice little island near Georges Island in Boston Harbor, a little off the beaten path.  Each boat had a skipper who has experience and training on Harbor trips, chart-reading, etc, and they were *supposed* to have a crew member who had been trained as well.  We ended up with 3 crew members, not 4, and I was the most experienced of the bunch.  But our skipper was great, assigned us tasks, talked us through what had to be done, and we managed pretty well.

The five boats were all tied together into a line, and the lead boat was attached to a motor launch.  The launch towed us under the Longfellow Bridge, through the locks near the Museum of Science, and out into the Harbor.  The skipper, Don, asked for a volunteer to man the tiller during the tow, and no one stepped forward, so I ended up doing that.  And then when we got into the Harbor and got the mast back up, well, I was already at the tiller, so somehow I ended up just staying there and sailing us all the way through the Harbor, with the skipper navigating and giving me occasional suggestions, until it was time to drop anchor off the island and get a lift in on the launch.  There was definitely some good wind; luckily the Rhodes have a way to secure the mainsheet so that I didn't have to manage it by hand the entire way, but still, I was pretty tired by the time we landed.

One couple had accidentally left their bag of supplies and lunch on the dock, so a bunch of us found a picnic table and laid out a nice shared feast.  After eating, I spread out my picnic blanket, blew up my inflatable pillow, and lay down for a rest.  Didn't manage to actually nap, but it was still very relaxing.  We were on the island for about two hours, then set off to sail back.

The two other crew members took turns on the tiller for a while (although the skipper managed the mainsail for them) so I got a chance to mostly hang out and enjoy the ride.  It was a little choppy and overcast, and somehow I evinced a particular talent for managing to turn forward just in time to take every major wave right in the face.  But once we reached the inner harbor the water got calmer, the sun came out, and I went and sat out on the foredeck, back against the mast, face up to the sun, and just soaked in the sun and the gentle motion of the boat until it was time to take down the mast, re-form our little convoy, and ride back to the docks.

All in all it was a really great day.  I got lots of time on the wato feel useful and competent, and I had a lot of fun talking to the skipper (who is a big geek, in the best way, so we kept discovering shared references that made us think "Aha, you're one of my kind of people!"  He's promised to take me out on a 420 some time soon, woohoo!  That's a much higher performance boat than any I've been on so far.

And then I got to run to auditions for PMRP, which [livejournal.com profile] ayelle  had been ably handling for me, in time to run the second and third group of auditions myself.  I feel good about the way I managed to assign sides -- a more challenging task than I've ever realized! -- and run my part of the readings, and I heard some very exciting auditions.  Looking forward to hearing more tonight! ...after I take some ibuprofen, a hot bath, drink more water, and take a nap.  I hadn't realized sailing was quite the strenuous, but I feel like I've been run over by a truck.  Oof!

Helmsman

Jun. 28th, 2010 06:55 pm
gilana: (Default)
I've mentioned before the Mainsail class, which prepares you to take the Helmsman test. I took the class for the fourth time last Wednesday and finally managed to get out to the course without running around, figure out which way I was supposed to sail around the course, and successfully navigated to the buoys without losing them. And all this on a fairly windy day -- they actually had us take out Mercurys with keels, which are more stable than the centerboard ones we usually sail. Anyway, I did well enough that I thought I might be ready to try the Helmsman test, and my instructor agreed. And lots of people have to take the test a few times before they pass, so there's no shame in trying and failing.

They only let you take the test on red flag days, with higher winds, so I've been waiting for that since Wednesday. Today I spent hours checking their web site, watching to see the wind levels. When the winds were gusting to 30 knots, I felt that might be a bit much for me. But they finally settled down to about 9 knots, gusting to 20, and I figured I'd go down there and check it out.

When I got there, I asked the person in the dockhouse "How's it looking for the Helmsman test today?" He said "Grab a sail, let me know the number, and sail out to that motorboat on the river." I said, "Am I going to die?" He gave it a 50-50 chance. I said I'd take those odds. So I went to pick out a sail, carefully choosing a number that seemed lucky, rigged up my boat, taking my time to double-check everything and do everything I know how to de-power the sail a little for heavy winds, and sailed out to the course, taking a slightly longer than necessary path to give myself time to check out the conditions and try to settle my nerves. Honestly, the conditions weren't really much worse than I've been out in before, but knowing I was being tested made me extra nervous.

When I got out to the course, the guy giving the test told me to just go around the course, tacking and jibing as many times as I felt like along the way. Now, tacking is pretty easy; you're sailing as close in to the wind as you can, with the sail pretty tightly in, and you turn the bow of the boat 90 degrees so that the wind is coming from the other side and the sail switches sides. Piece of cake. Jibing, on the other hand... you jibe going downwind, so the sail is way out, nearly at right angles to the boat. You jibe by turned the stern of the boat through the eye of the wind, so that the wind catches the sail and SLAMS it over your head all the way to the other side of the boat. There are a lot of ways for this to go wrong. The most obvious is if you forget to duck; there's a reason it's called a "boom". Also, the weight of the boom hanging out over the boat can capsize you, if you don't get your weight over to the right side in time. And if you don't come out of the turn soon enough, the boat wants to keep turning into the wind, which makes you more unstable and can capsize you. So there's a lot to do very quickly, and it can get a lot more violent with strong winds.

Anyway. I made my tacks, kept close enough to the course, rounded the top buoy, and jibed my way back down. My first jibe was so smooth and controlled that I let out an involuntary "Yes!" I was just starting to turn to go around the course again, when the instructor zoomed up to me on the motorboat and said "You pass! Your tacks were good, your jibes were very VERY good. I don't have any feedback for you. As long as you dock ok, you pass."

Now, I've heard more than one story of someone passing the test only to fail for docking badly, so I was pretty cautious. I was a little worried that I was coming in too fast, thought about circling around and trying it again, but I had just enough space that I let the sail go entirely, came in at just the right angle, barely kissed the dock, and slowed enough that I could jump out and moor my boat.

Then all I had to do was furl my sail, let my legs stop shaking enough that I could walk to the dockhouse, get my card punched for "helmsman", take a picture of the card to post to facebook, and call my dad, from whom I get my sailing genes, to share the news.

So yay! From my first sail on April 4, to passing my Helmsman test on June 28. Not too shabby. Can't wait to start learning how to use a jib!

Helmsman

Jun. 28th, 2010 06:55 pm
gilana: (Default)
I've mentioned before the Mainsail class, which prepares you to take the Helmsman test. I took the class for the fourth time last Wednesday and finally managed to get out to the course without running around, figure out which way I was supposed to sail around the course, and successfully navigated to the buoys without losing them. And all this on a fairly windy day -- they actually had us take out Mercurys with keels, which are more stable than the centerboard ones we usually sail. Anyway, I did well enough that I thought I might be ready to try the Helmsman test, and my instructor agreed. And lots of people have to take the test a few times before they pass, so there's no shame in trying and failing.

They only let you take the test on red flag days, with higher winds, so I've been waiting for that since Wednesday. Today I spent hours checking their web site, watching to see the wind levels. When the winds were gusting to 30 knots, I felt that might be a bit much for me. But they finally settled down to about 9 knots, gusting to 20, and I figured I'd go down there and check it out.

When I got there, I asked the person in the dockhouse "How's it looking for the Helmsman test today?" He said "Grab a sail, let me know the number, and sail out to that motorboat on the river." I said, "Am I going to die?" He gave it a 50-50 chance. I said I'd take those odds. So I went to pick out a sail, carefully choosing a number that seemed lucky, rigged up my boat, taking my time to double-check everything and do everything I know how to de-power the sail a little for heavy winds, and sailed out to the course, taking a slightly longer than necessary path to give myself time to check out the conditions and try to settle my nerves. Honestly, the conditions weren't really much worse than I've been out in before, but knowing I was being tested made me extra nervous.

When I got out to the course, the guy giving the test told me to just go around the course, tacking and jibing as many times as I felt like along the way. Now, tacking is pretty easy; you're sailing as close in to the wind as you can, with the sail pretty tightly in, and you turn the bow of the boat 90 degrees so that the wind is coming from the other side and the sail switches sides. Piece of cake. Jibing, on the other hand... you jibe going downwind, so the sail is way out, nearly at right angles to the boat. You jibe by turned the stern of the boat through the eye of the wind, so that the wind catches the sail and SLAMS it over your head all the way to the other side of the boat. There are a lot of ways for this to go wrong. The most obvious is if you forget to duck; there's a reason it's called a "boom". Also, the weight of the boom hanging out over the boat can capsize you, if you don't get your weight over to the right side in time. And if you don't come out of the turn soon enough, the boat wants to keep turning into the wind, which makes you more unstable and can capsize you. So there's a lot to do very quickly, and it can get a lot more violent with strong winds.

Anyway. I made my tacks, kept close enough to the course, rounded the top buoy, and jibed my way back down. My first jibe was so smooth and controlled that I let out an involuntary "Yes!" I was just starting to turn to go around the course again, when the instructor zoomed up to me on the motorboat and said "You pass! Your tacks were good, your jibes were very VERY good. I don't have any feedback for you. As long as you dock ok, you pass."

Now, I've heard more than one story of someone passing the test only to fail for docking badly, so I was pretty cautious. I was a little worried that I was coming in too fast, thought about circling around and trying it again, but I had just enough space that I let the sail go entirely, came in at just the right angle, barely kissed the dock, and slowed enough that I could jump out and moor my boat.

Then all I had to do was furl my sail, let my legs stop shaking enough that I could walk to the dockhouse, get my card punched for "helmsman", take a picture of the card to post to facebook, and call my dad, from whom I get my sailing genes, to share the news.

So yay! From my first sail on April 4, to passing my Helmsman test on June 28. Not too shabby. Can't wait to start learning how to use a jib!
gilana: (sailing)
Yesterday, I was pleased to see that the bruises on my legs from banging into the centerboard as I switched sides were finally fading (and that I seem to be learning to get over without acquiring any more), especially since I have a friend's wedding coming up this weekend and I'd like to look good for it.

This morning, I notice that after my sailing class last night, the inside of my upper arms (which show much more than my legs do in the dress for the wedding) are covered in dozens of small bruises.

Ah well. Badges of honor.

So, after you get your solo rating at CBI, you're allowed to take out a Mercury alone on light-wind days. The next big step is to pass the Helmsman test, showing that you can handle the boat competently in higher wind, after which you are allowed out under most conditions, and can bring a passenger and even give instruction. To that end, they have an on-the-water Mainsail class, which basically mimics the Helmsman test -- a class of ten people go out on the water and sail a path around 2 or 3 buoys, tacking and jibing on the way. The instructor is out in a motorboat following you, yelling corrections, and rescuing you if you capsize (as a number seem to do in each class.)

The first time I tried the class, I failing to even get out to the course; I tried to tack on my way out there, stalled out, and got blown onto a little island that's between the docks and the main river body. I remembered my lessons and pulled up my centerboard, took off my rudder, took my mainsail halfway down, and waited to be rescued. They towed me back in, upon which I gamely set out again. This time I got out into the river but discovered that one of my main sheet (the rope that controls the lateral motion of the sail) had gotten messed up somehow. I tried to get into a position that would let me stay still enough to mess with it, but ended up getting blown onto the shore. I decided that running aground twice was probably a sign, and went out for a sail with someone else instead.

The second time I signed up for the class was for the last day of my 30-day membership. I thought about going out earlier that afternoon, but decided to wait and save my energy for the class. At the last minute, it got cancelled (and all sailing shut down) on account of thunderstorms.

(Luckily, their mission is "Committed to the advancement of Sailing for All by minimizing economic and physical obstacles to the sport of sailing", so they were really great about making financial arrangements so that I could afford a full year membership. Yay!)

The third time I tried the class, I made it out on the water before they had laid the course out, and spent a chunk of time wandering up and down river trying to find it. Once I eventually did find it, I had trouble trying to figure out which direction I was supposed to go around it, and then more trouble trying to find a course that would let me get to the buoys instead of just sailing to the wind, the way I usually do. So I spent pretty much the entire class confused and frustrated and just trying to get anywhere near the right place or on the right path (although at least sailing competently while I did so.)

(By the way, I know I'm not explaining a whole lot of the sailing terms in these posts. I'm not sure how much the details matter, whether it's confusing to non-sailors without explanation or if you get enough of the gist for it to be ok. So if you have particular questions, or want more explanation overall, let me know and I'll try to accomodate.)

That was Sunday May 16. I've gone out solo twice since then, and gotten some more practice in setting a course and trying to follow it, and I felt really ready for the class last night.

Ha.

I did manage to find the course this time, but the wind was much higher than I've gone out in solo before, and it was a *lot* harder to manage the boat. It was heeling dangerously while close-hauled, so I had to keep heading up and easing the sails to try to get it flatter, but then I'd veer off course, or the sail would get too far out, or I'd try to tack and end up in irons. And sometimes, especially going downwind, the tiller was stiff enough that I just could not get it to turn, no matter how I tried to muscle it around (hence the bruises). I was very glad that I had finally decided to invest in a pair of sailing gloves before I went out this time; I suspect my hands would be pretty torn up without them. I ended up in accidental jibes once or twice, and was pretty sure I was going to go over more than once, but managed to get across the boat and straighten it out quickly enough to stay afloat.

In the end, at least I was more on the course than I've been before, and I definitely understood how to tack back and forth to get to the buoy better than the last time, even if I had a hard time actually doing it sometimes. And given that at least two people capsized and one ran into a duck boat -- and that it was really crowded out there, so I was also dodging other novice sailors at any given point -- I have to say, I did ok over all. (And hey, once the instructor said "Nice tack!" after a particularly smooth move. So I'm getting something right, at least now and then.)

Clearly I'm not as ready for the Helmsman test as I had hoped, but that's ok. I'm planning to go out on some lighter-wind days and ask the dock staff if they'll lay out a practice course for me, so I can get more experience sailing around the course without having to fight as much wind (and other boats); breaking things down like that always helps me a lot. (And is part of why I've had trouble learning to drive, really -- there's only so much you can learn in a parking lot, and it's hard for me to deal with both learning to operate a vehicle at speed, and also dealing with other traffic, and navigation, and all that.)

And if you see my arms some time soon -- no, I haven't suddenly taken up heroin. It's another addiction entirely.
gilana: (sailing)
Yesterday, I was pleased to see that the bruises on my legs from banging into the centerboard as I switched sides were finally fading (and that I seem to be learning to get over without acquiring any more), especially since I have a friend's wedding coming up this weekend and I'd like to look good for it.

This morning, I notice that after my sailing class last night, the inside of my upper arms (which show much more than my legs do in the dress for the wedding) are covered in dozens of small bruises.

Ah well. Badges of honor.

So, after you get your solo rating at CBI, you're allowed to take out a Mercury alone on light-wind days. The next big step is to pass the Helmsman test, showing that you can handle the boat competently in higher wind, after which you are allowed out under most conditions, and can bring a passenger and even give instruction. To that end, they have an on-the-water Mainsail class, which basically mimics the Helmsman test -- a class of ten people go out on the water and sail a path around 2 or 3 buoys, tacking and jibing on the way. The instructor is out in a motorboat following you, yelling corrections, and rescuing you if you capsize (as a number seem to do in each class.)

The first time I tried the class, I failing to even get out to the course; I tried to tack on my way out there, stalled out, and got blown onto a little island that's between the docks and the main river body. I remembered my lessons and pulled up my centerboard, took off my rudder, took my mainsail halfway down, and waited to be rescued. They towed me back in, upon which I gamely set out again. This time I got out into the river but discovered that one of my main sheet (the rope that controls the lateral motion of the sail) had gotten messed up somehow. I tried to get into a position that would let me stay still enough to mess with it, but ended up getting blown onto the shore. I decided that running aground twice was probably a sign, and went out for a sail with someone else instead.

The second time I signed up for the class was for the last day of my 30-day membership. I thought about going out earlier that afternoon, but decided to wait and save my energy for the class. At the last minute, it got cancelled (and all sailing shut down) on account of thunderstorms.

(Luckily, their mission is "Committed to the advancement of Sailing for All by minimizing economic and physical obstacles to the sport of sailing", so they were really great about making financial arrangements so that I could afford a full year membership. Yay!)

The third time I tried the class, I made it out on the water before they had laid the course out, and spent a chunk of time wandering up and down river trying to find it. Once I eventually did find it, I had trouble trying to figure out which direction I was supposed to go around it, and then more trouble trying to find a course that would let me get to the buoys instead of just sailing to the wind, the way I usually do. So I spent pretty much the entire class confused and frustrated and just trying to get anywhere near the right place or on the right path (although at least sailing competently while I did so.)

(By the way, I know I'm not explaining a whole lot of the sailing terms in these posts. I'm not sure how much the details matter, whether it's confusing to non-sailors without explanation or if you get enough of the gist for it to be ok. So if you have particular questions, or want more explanation overall, let me know and I'll try to accomodate.)

That was Sunday May 16. I've gone out solo twice since then, and gotten some more practice in setting a course and trying to follow it, and I felt really ready for the class last night.

Ha.

I did manage to find the course this time, but the wind was much higher than I've gone out in solo before, and it was a *lot* harder to manage the boat. It was heeling dangerously while close-hauled, so I had to keep heading up and easing the sails to try to get it flatter, but then I'd veer off course, or the sail would get too far out, or I'd try to tack and end up in irons. And sometimes, especially going downwind, the tiller was stiff enough that I just could not get it to turn, no matter how I tried to muscle it around (hence the bruises). I was very glad that I had finally decided to invest in a pair of sailing gloves before I went out this time; I suspect my hands would be pretty torn up without them. I ended up in accidental jibes once or twice, and was pretty sure I was going to go over more than once, but managed to get across the boat and straighten it out quickly enough to stay afloat.

In the end, at least I was more on the course than I've been before, and I definitely understood how to tack back and forth to get to the buoy better than the last time, even if I had a hard time actually doing it sometimes. And given that at least two people capsized and one ran into a duck boat -- and that it was really crowded out there, so I was also dodging other novice sailors at any given point -- I have to say, I did ok over all. (And hey, once the instructor said "Nice tack!" after a particularly smooth move. So I'm getting something right, at least now and then.)

Clearly I'm not as ready for the Helmsman test as I had hoped, but that's ok. I'm planning to go out on some lighter-wind days and ask the dock staff if they'll lay out a practice course for me, so I can get more experience sailing around the course without having to fight as much wind (and other boats); breaking things down like that always helps me a lot. (And is part of why I've had trouble learning to drive, really -- there's only so much you can learn in a parking lot, and it's hard for me to deal with both learning to operate a vehicle at speed, and also dealing with other traffic, and navigation, and all that.)

And if you see my arms some time soon -- no, I haven't suddenly taken up heroin. It's another addiction entirely.
gilana: (Default)
Since my first solo sail last Monday, I went out a few more times with more experienced people (mostly on a slightly larger boat, but once on a Mercury), and got to take the tiller for a while on all of them.  I learned that a lot of the things I had been feeling badly about doing wrong my first time out were probably not wrong at all.  Like when I thought I couldn't find the wind... there probably just wasn't really any at that moment.  So I'm learning how to look at the water and see what the wind is doing, and see what's coming my way, and just wait and be prepared for it.  It's amazing how much information is there that I've never seen before -- slightly darker shadows to ripples, the patterns to the scatter of light on the surface, subtle lines of lighter and darker water, all with something to tell me.

(Also, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] miss_chance last Thursday and was chatting with her about my sailing experiences, and how hard I was being on myself about that first sail, when I realized that it had been only a week and a day from my first time there, learning to rig a boat and going out for the first time on a Mercury, to my first solo sail.  And I had only gone out twice more with other people first.  Geez, and I couldn't do it all myself perfectly?  What a slacker!)

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I checked the web site and saw that the green flag was up, meaning the wind was light enough for beginners, so I thought I'd give it another shot.  And it was *way* better than my first time!  I found a way of sitting and handling the tiller extension and sheet that was a lot more natural and comfortable, and I made some nice clean tacks and caught some nice wind and had some great moments of skimming along on a close haul.  Fun!  After about 20 minutes the wind started picking up and getting gustier, and I looked over at the dock house and saw the red flag had come up, so I went back in.  Had one scary jibe coming back where I forgot to change sides first and almost capsized, but I managed to get it back under control.

I put in my card for an instructional sail and got to go out again with two other people in a keel Mercury (as opposed to the centerboard ones I'm sailing on my own), and we were out for almost two hours, so I got a bunch more time at the tiller.  The woman who took us out said I did really well, and she didn't have to correct me very much, and I got to practice jibing more with her, so that was good.

I'm signed up for a mainsail class Sunday morning, where they'll take a small group of us out on the water and run us through drills, so I'll get more practice time with feedback.  When I signed up for it going in yesterday I was unsure if I was ready, but by the end of my time on the water, I was feeling a lot more confident about it.  After all, it's a class -- if I were doing everything perfectly already, I wouldn't need it, right?  So as long as I have the basics more or less, it should be a great opportunity to learn. 

Sadly, my cheap-o 30-day membership expires May 4, and I can't really afford the full membership.  I'm planning to go talk to them and see if there's any way I can barter design services (although I thought I'd wait a little so they can see how often I go and how serious I am about this), but we'll see.  Meanwhile, if you're looking for me anywhere between 1pm and sunset, I'm probably out on the water.
gilana: (Default)
Since my first solo sail last Monday, I went out a few more times with more experienced people (mostly on a slightly larger boat, but once on a Mercury), and got to take the tiller for a while on all of them.  I learned that a lot of the things I had been feeling badly about doing wrong my first time out were probably not wrong at all.  Like when I thought I couldn't find the wind... there probably just wasn't really any at that moment.  So I'm learning how to look at the water and see what the wind is doing, and see what's coming my way, and just wait and be prepared for it.  It's amazing how much information is there that I've never seen before -- slightly darker shadows to ripples, the patterns to the scatter of light on the surface, subtle lines of lighter and darker water, all with something to tell me.

(Also, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] miss_chance last Thursday and was chatting with her about my sailing experiences, and how hard I was being on myself about that first sail, when I realized that it had been only a week and a day from my first time there, learning to rig a boat and going out for the first time on a Mercury, to my first solo sail.  And I had only gone out twice more with other people first.  Geez, and I couldn't do it all myself perfectly?  What a slacker!)

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I checked the web site and saw that the green flag was up, meaning the wind was light enough for beginners, so I thought I'd give it another shot.  And it was *way* better than my first time!  I found a way of sitting and handling the tiller extension and sheet that was a lot more natural and comfortable, and I made some nice clean tacks and caught some nice wind and had some great moments of skimming along on a close haul.  Fun!  After about 20 minutes the wind started picking up and getting gustier, and I looked over at the dock house and saw the red flag had come up, so I went back in.  Had one scary jibe coming back where I forgot to change sides first and almost capsized, but I managed to get it back under control.

I put in my card for an instructional sail and got to go out again with two other people in a keel Mercury (as opposed to the centerboard ones I'm sailing on my own), and we were out for almost two hours, so I got a bunch more time at the tiller.  The woman who took us out said I did really well, and she didn't have to correct me very much, and I got to practice jibing more with her, so that was good.

I'm signed up for a mainsail class Sunday morning, where they'll take a small group of us out on the water and run us through drills, so I'll get more practice time with feedback.  When I signed up for it going in yesterday I was unsure if I was ready, but by the end of my time on the water, I was feeling a lot more confident about it.  After all, it's a class -- if I were doing everything perfectly already, I wouldn't need it, right?  So as long as I have the basics more or less, it should be a great opportunity to learn. 

Sadly, my cheap-o 30-day membership expires May 4, and I can't really afford the full membership.  I'm planning to go talk to them and see if there's any way I can barter design services (although I thought I'd wait a little so they can see how often I go and how serious I am about this), but we'll see.  Meanwhile, if you're looking for me anywhere between 1pm and sunset, I'm probably out on the water.

Sailing

Apr. 11th, 2010 02:57 pm
gilana: (Default)
Got my solo rating! Too windy to go out alone today, though, which is frankly just as well, I wouldn't mind a little more supervised practice first. Still, it's a step.

Posted via Journaler.

Sailing

Apr. 11th, 2010 02:57 pm
gilana: (Default)
Got my solo rating! Too windy to go out alone today, though, which is frankly just as well, I wouldn't mind a little more supervised practice first. Still, it's a step.

Posted via Journaler.

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