Woke up this morning and the world wasn’t swinging by outside the window… Bummer!
The Adventure Sailing
course was great; no other way to describe it. I took a mixed Basic/Intermediate course with two Basic level students and two Intermediate level students.
Liveaboard is the only
way to go! Not only is it intensive, but there is an extra day of Heaven (five days as opposed to the four days of a two weekend course).
Sailing in Georgian Bay is sailing in real world
conditions. I know of no other locations in Ontario (except for the Thousand Islands around Kingston) where there are CANS (ATONS to you Yanks
), passages with channel markers about 50 ft red-to-green needing crisp 90° course changes to stay on range, and consequences of poor helming or piloting from rocks awash or just below the surface, shoals sticking out from points, and very, very hard places to hit or ground. You just don't get this sailing on Lake Ontario.
Everyone did the same sailing; the intermediate students practised navigation doing the necessary chart work and tracking course made good with fixes and the basic students practised piloting. Whoever was on helm had someone to assist with piloting/navigation, spotting markers and giving headings to steer from the plotted chart course.
Frank, the instructor, was/is very personable, able to explain, advise, correct and guide our efforts without loosing his cool, often humorously, and in such a way that one gained positively from every experience, even after goofing. Working as a team on Compass Rose X
I believe a 45 ft Sun Odyssey Jeanneau with roller furling on main and genny for those who need to know, was good; we supported and advised each other, learned from each other’s mistakes, and shared each other’s triumphs. Working as a team comes quickly when you are sharing by roster the cooking and clean-up duties as well as the sailing activities. We rotated through each of the sailing activities (navigator, helm, crew, and lookout) on 30 or 60 minute spells, so everyone got a taste of all the conditions and courses we sailed, and the passages we ran.
We had sunshine, overcast, rain, light airs, and winds over 20 knots; sufficient variety to reflect the real world. And a different anchorage every night.
There was time spent on study on one or two mornings, and after Frank felt that we all could and should do so, and also when the Intermediate students did their nav under supervision, whoever was scheduled for helm or other duties, just sailed the boat. Frank was great in that he didn’t hover over us, but let us make our mistakes, then guided us right if need be because we didn't recover. Last day it was: 'You guys are taking her out this morning; I'm just sitting here...'
Friday morning was exam day (two hour written test), papers marked immediately afterwards and results given then.
Did I pass? YES!
Am I a sailor? In my heart YES!
Now I’m just an inexperienced
sailor. Practice, practice and more practice will follow.
I’ve now progressed from ‘unconscious incompetence’ to a blend of ‘conscious incompetence’ and ‘conscious competence’ in sailing. These are the pre-requisite steps to ‘unconscious competence’ where it looks so easy and there is no effort. Kinda like Frank.
For those who cruise, there is no need for me to rave about the wonderful evenings at anchor, spent over supper in the cockpit, whether sunny or not. Fresh air, beautiful scenery, utter peace, good food, good wine, convivial company, excellent conversation… do I sound like a travel advertisement? You just don’t get this on a two weekend course going home afterwards each night.
Were there drawbacks? Mosquitoes after dusk, sometimes they seemed about as big as birds; no hot morning shower (that’s what swimming is for, but with water temps down in the 13° C range, it wasn’t feasible but once); and one night which was uncomfortably warm and muggy with no breeze; I truly can’t think of anything else. Were they serious? No worries!
Even pumping out wasn't bad! Living aboard for the course gives one a taste of and for cruising life.
Thank you Frank and thank you shipmates for a wonderful learning experience.
Disclaimer: I am not associated with Adventure Sailing or any of its subsidiaries; I received no benefits or advantage, nor do I expect to receive any, for my opinions expressed above, and I paid full list price for the course. The opinions are mine alone, based upon limited and specific experience. YMMV.
This week, my cup was overflowing....
"You start with an empty cup of experience and a full barrel of luck. The trick is to fill your cup before the barrel runs dry." - bljones