Friday, 15 May 2009

8 Things To Think About Whilst Learning to Sail

Tillerman suggested I write a "list" post about sailing, so here goes mine... even tho I haven't done much of it this season.

1] Learn to duck! Sailing a 16-ft Skiff at a Drummoyne Regatta (Sydney) when I was about 13... flying gybe... no ducking... SMACK! One massive haematoma on my forehead thanks to the aluminum boom! Talk about learning the hard way...

2] Nosediving. The sight of the whole front of the boat disappearing under a wall of green churning water, flying downwind in a huge sou-easter under kite out-of-control... grinding to an absolute sudden halt as a result of a massive nosedive! How the boat didn't just explode as a result I have no idea!

3] Swearing. Yes, I learnt to swear thanks to sailing as a young teenager. The sound of 15+ boats all trying to round the same lee-mark at the same time, pulling kites down - and the LANGUAGE that'd be flying from 50+ voices all at once - was a true enlightening experience!

4] A White-Out. Experiencing a huge sudden squall that whited-out the horizon and everything within sight for about 20 meters in every direction, whilst afloat upon Sydney Harbour. Thankfully we capsized to safely sit it out, and it only lasted about two minutes. But twas my first experience of standing on a centreboard with hail smacking onto my head, and water coming in at you horizontally, blown sideways by the wind...

5] Sailing in the rain. A truely sensationally soul-refreshing experience. Once being becalmed in the middle of Port Stephens at 2am in the pouring rain with a good mate - and whilst totally enclosed in wet-weather gear, we smiled absolutely delightedly at one-another, water pouring off our noses.

6] Mast breaks. Sitting safely capsized and watching a yacht screaming out-of-control down Sydney Harbour one Saturday arvo as a massive southerly buster swept all before it... CRACK! The sound not unlike a rifle-shot... and the backstay snapped on the yacht, and watching the mast collapse across the bow as if in slow-motion. The yacht stopped absolutely dead in the water, as if they'd applied the hand-brake!

7] Sea-sickness. Upside down, broken centre-board case, so we couldn't right the boat by ourselves... big sou-east swell pumping thru Sydney Heads... the encompassing stench of deisel fumes from the tender rescuing us ensured twas my first at-sea puke!

8] Rounding-up. Looking behind me, seeing the big gust and wind shift coming as I'm running square, about five boat-lengths from the bottom mark. Literally thinking, "I'd better head up a bit before this hits me..." as the tiller slips thru my fingers... one big quick sudden round-up... the sight of the mainsheet slipping thru my fingers as I slide off the tuck into a wall of churning water... then the silence, as I pop-up to see my little boat casually flop-over onto its side!

The good, positive times hugely outweight the negative, cold, scary moments whilst out sailing. I love being out there, I really do. All these eight points [off the top of my head] are actually fond memories and experiences, believe it or not!
Peas be with ewe
Mal :)

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  1. Absolutely! The good times far outweigh the bad..and boy, we have seen some bad...and yet more good times :)

  2. A friend of mine learned about ducking the hard way, she and her hubby were on the way back to Bundy from Fraser Island... she didn't duck and got knocked off the yacht. Thankfully Tony realised straight away and reverse path to pick her up. Sue was thankful for the lifejacket that day.

  3. Great stuff. You should write about sailing more often.

  4. Sounds like fun NOT! LOL! Sounds dangerous actually. Brought back memories for me though of when we were teenagers. Believe it or not my Surferboy gets seasick in boats (go figure), his dad and his mates insisted on taking him out on a dingy fishing and ended up throwing him overboard somewhere off Manly beach. He had to swim to shore half dead and then find his way back to the suburbs all wet and miserable! LOL! Ahhh memories.

    Actually I quite like going out on boats or ships, I love being out of the water, rather than in there with the sharks.

  5. I hope "life jacket" is on the list too!

  6. Great List! If I ever sail, I will remember these.

  7. I needed/loved this list. I live on a lake, where I see people sailing and it looks like so much fun. I'm going to try it this summer, as we bought a used sail boat, small, but I think it is a good way to start.

    Have a great weekend.

  8. "I love the smell of stinking diesel in the morning" lol

  9. Wonderful stuff. I'd love to have me some of that!

  10. I felt like I could see you out there on the waves when I read this...sounds wonderful...sadly I get seasick on a small ocean roll...the bain maree of my the water...its my element, but I get sick upon the ocean...

  11. Wow! Fancy having all those awesome experiences! I've never once been on a small sail boat- never had the opportunity really! I remember being very envious of friends who had rich enough families to afford a dinghy on the river as a kid. They would come back to school after the weekend full of tales- just like yours. Then I went to Sydney for uni and lived with rellies at Sans Souci- all the boys I went in to uni with sailed on Kogarah Bay and beyond. They didn't fancy inviting me as I was unattractive and a med student- a bit scary for them. But gee whizz!! You don't know how fortunate you are to know how to sail and still get the chance!