I'm happy to report that I'm beginning to catch up with the wife in terms of sailing certifications. We both passed our Dayskipper theory tests this week to conclude a 13 week, 40 hour course from Capital Sailing/OnDeck
, and I managed to do my third and final weekend with British Offshore Sailing School-- BOSS
-- to actually get the competent crew RYA 2 cert this weekend. The instructor, however, wrote incontinent and incompetent in my RYA logbook for some reason...
It was a great weekend for sailing on the Solent--
On Saturday morning, we had a great sail from the Hamble to Portsmouth, and took a mooring buoy in the harbor for lunch. I got a serious sunburn during the 2 hour tack there. We sailed a Westerly Fulmar II 32 footer, which is surprisingly comfortable and spacious below and handles well.
Note-- I much prefer sailing courses on smaller boats around 32 feet than 40-45 foot boats. They are reasonable to handle and much more like a first boat someone would own. The BOSS boats also have hank-on headsails and basic electronics-- which are also good learning experiences.
Then we sailed back across the Solent to Osborne Bay and dropped anchor for dinner aboard. After dark, around eight, we took off for a night cruise and studied cardinal lights, ferry lights, a fishing boat, other yachts, and an anchored cable barge as we crossed in the dark back to the mainland to the Beaulieu River, where we used its sector light to enter the narrow channel, and then found our way in the dark a mile upstream to a buoy for the night.
The next morning we had breakfast with a thunderstorm raging outside. We motored back to the Isle of Wight to visit Newtown River and it's cool transit marker for entering. There was a Rival 32 there at anchor, similar to our Rival 34.
After that, we cruised back to the mainland and up to Southampton to do a close pass on the QE 2, being prepped for its new owner. Then we turned and had a spirited sail back to the Hamble River. We had 53 miles for the weekend, and my remaining competent crew requirement, night sailing, was complete.
Our instructor was great, with 20 years sailing experience in the area. I gained lots of local knowledge from him, and was shown several great anchoring areas to consider for 'high season' on the Solent in the summer. Now I need to get our dinghy ready for the season with a new pump.
My wife, of course, has had her RYA 1 and 2 certifications for months now, as well as her VHF license, so she's still ahead. Next month she'll finish half of her Dayskipper practical during a seven day cruise across to the Channel Islands with BOSS. I'll have a similar cruise to Brittany in July. We'll both finish our Dayskipper practical certifications later in the summer with another course weekend.
This weekend, we're back to our Rival 34 in Gosport for a weekend of sailing with my brother and sister-in-law, visiting from the states. Next winter we plan to do the Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster theory courses in London. Summer 2009, we hope to sail to France with the kids.
Rather fun, this sailing thing...