I have been lurking for the last few months and learned a lot from the experienced sailors here and, having posted enough to enable me to embed video and photos, I would like to introduce myself.
In April I purchased an older (1979) Nash 26. Not only is it my first boat (if you don’t include canoes) but I had never sailed before. It was just something that I had always wanted to do.
As an avid scuba diver I have been on boats for years – but they had all been power and I hadn’t done any of the work.
Once my family and I moved to central Ontario, where we are surrounded by excellent sailing waters, my wife lost her last excuse for us not getting a boat and Northern Lights became mine (ours!).
The boat was launched in late May and the previous owner gave us a very brief lesson on sailing – about 1 hour – most of it under power as there was no wind that day.
Here is a short video of the launch and my very first attempt at landing.
The next day my wife and I took the boat out for a sail on our own. It was quite comical. We almost left the dock with the shore power still hooked up. We got out of the marina and I went to raise the main. I heaved and heaved on the halyard but the sail didn’t budge. I was convinced that the halyard had jammed in the sheaves and I would have to take down the mast and re-route it. I was none too happy. It was then that I noticed that the halyard end was still secured to the toe-rail.
Our first forays out onto the water went pretty well. After the second I decided that looking at the charts prior to setting out was not a bad idea. By sheer luck I had avoided some pretty significant shoals and rocks close to surface. My buddy (who boats out of the same marina) shook his head with amazement when I told him where I had taken the boat. He could not understand how we had not hit anything.
We sailed for the rest of the season including a lot of over-nighters. Our skills improved with each trip. My navigation and ability to read the water and avoid those 40°+ heels got more accurate. By the end of the season my wife and I had a lot of confidence in our seamanship.
Once the Northern Lights was settled on the hard, we began our basic boating course through Canadian Power & Sail Squadron. In the course I learned a lot that I would not have known by going on my own, particularly about plotting cruises and what all of those funny coloured floaty things with lights on them (buoys) mean.
I always knew that I would like sailing, I just can’t believe how much I love it! My wife – who was not into the whole thing at all – now crews like a pro and enjoys it more than I would have ever thought possible. She’s still a bit leery of the whole listing thing.
We sail in Southern Georgian Bay which is spectacularly beautiful, and next summer I hope to get out on Huron and over to Tobermory and through the North Channel.
I look forward to participating on the board here and hope to be eventually be experienced enough to contribute and help other new sailors as I have been helped.
Very odd way to start learning and practicing sailing indeed! Unless all this story was written for plain fun, consider yourself very lucky not just for not suffering some kind of failure (I do not dare pronounce accident) but causing damage to a third party and, hence, I would not advise your method to anybody else.
Welcome from a flying dutchman! (g)
Great story, well told. Don't let anybody kid you, probably most of us took our first, if not more, sail exactly the way you did-the only thing that we weren't in the dark about was the time of day. If you enjoyed the relaxation scuba diving imparts it's easy to see why you'd enjoy sailing. My wife, also unexpectedly, just absolutely love's it-chills her right out. Of course she's nuts, she loves it heeled over! Look forward to hearing more from you.