I just started sailing this June. Let me tell you, there is no school that will tell you the experiences I'm about to share...
Things I learned;
-->Top of the 22' sailboat's mast is not a happy place! They will tell you that keep the both ends of the halyard secure. But somehow you'll manage to miss one end, eventually. Before you climb, remember to bring something to pull the halyard down. Or you may have to climg down, get it and climb back up again... And picture doing that 2-3 feet seas with 5-10 knot winds. Here is an actual quote from that day: " Holy s..., holy s...! Don't fall onto the deck! Don't fall onto the deck!"
--> If you are sailing with powerboat people, make sure they are wearing pfds and warn them the boat may heel... I'm not used to heeling excessively either, but my buddy (who owns a power cruiser) jumped off the boat when the boat heeled with a sudden gust... Now, you don't expect a living ballast
to leave the boat like that so, it suprises you that the boat will heel more with the lost weight and push by the jump! I almost got thrown overboard myself that day... I picked him up, eventually. Promising that we would use the outboard to go back!
-->Cooking with alcohol stoves... Well, first of all, there are two types of alcohol fuels for the alcohol stoves. One for pressurized, one for regular. Beware of which one you need. After a refill of the alcohol stove, I did what I usually do; let some alcohol out to warm up the outlet then pump it to pressurize. The minute I turn the knob it became a flame ball... Honestly, the fire extinguisher powder is not really good for your nose... And clean up is a pain!
--> Never, give the helm to someone who has no idea about boating (sailing aside) but eager to be the captain! One of my buddies, good guy, average intelligence
and eager wanted to take the rudder. I let him by thinking that I'll take control if something goes wrong. So the guy takes the helm, lifts it and pulls it out to feel more comfortable. Of course, the rudder came right off of the pins, unexpecting guy lets the helm go with the sudden weight! Good thing to do, always keep it tied up to the railing or a cleat... Mine was and saved the day!
--> Fishing from a sailboat can be funny... So, it's a sailboat, but you are on the water, why not fish? Well, tell people not try to cast! First thing they will catch will be either your folded sails or sheets and lines... Don't get everyone excited if you catch something, having everyone on the one side will really test your balance
Make sure that what you catch can be taken aboard... On my 22 footer, a friend caught a 36" bluefish, (I don't eat bluefish so I told him to lose it, he wanted to keep) so we are sitting on the guard rails the blue fish is still kicking and trying to bite, we have nothing to put that thing into. Not a cool situation but extremely funny to watch guys trying to off the fish yet cannot really get close to it without stepping into the cockpit floor...
more to come later...