Okay, sliiiiiight exaggeration.
I definitely did not spend 30 days on a dinghy on Lake Ontario. However, the sailing course that I took was every Monday & Wednesday for the entire month of August, so 30 days is somewhat relevant. Also the title “2 Days a Week for a Month on a Dingy” didn’t have the same eye catching ring to it.
Ahhhh, dingy’s, dinghy’s dingy’s.
I mentioned that I was doing my CAN SAIL 1&2 lessons in my birthday post, and was planning to recap it all for you guys. Adam has recently fallen in love with sailing, so I said i’d do my lessons to see if I could love it as much as him.
(Also since I work in marine insurance, I convinced my manager to pay for the lessons, so it was a real win for Cheng).
In this class, we learnt how to rig, sail, de-rig and upright a capsized 420 sailboat. It is exactly 4.2 metres in length (hence the name, 420) and is most often sailed by two people – one person steering while adjusting the main sail, and the second person acting as the ‘crew.’
There were a couple challenges that I had expected to happen for the most part.
The first challenge I had was learning something so completely new to me, that had absolutely no bearing on how physically fit I was. Sailing is a sport, but not in the general sense of the word that I am so used to (i.e. RUGBY is a very different sport than sailing).
Being able to do 10 chin ups in a row was not about to help me out here. With sailing you had to understand which direction the wind was coming from, how it affected your sails and your speed, how to tack and jibe (turn around) while not turning in circles, and how to shift your weight on this tiny boat so that you didn’t capsize.
The second challenge was taking all the things that I learnt, and being able to apply them in 10-15 knot winds.
The first few lessons we had, the wind was super light, and that made it perfect to learn all the basics; How to switch hands when the boom was switching sides, how to tighten your sail so you could go quicker, and even how to upright the boat when it had capsized.
When the wind picked up, it was an entirely different situation. Everything happened at terrifying speeds, including when the boom would slam over, and almost take off our heads. After a turn, i’d forget to straighten out the tiller (the thing that steers the boat), and we’d find ourselves going in CIRCLES.
For the first 40 minutes of a particularly windy class, our boat was tilted on a 45 degree angle, and I screamed bloody murder as water poured into our boat. The teacher came up to us after the wind died down and said verbatim “I don’t know how you didn’t capsize. You should have. You really should have.”
The End Result
Well he confirmed that we all passed our CAN SAIL 1 which was a very proud moment for me indeed.
By the end of week 4, I felt much more comfortable sailing on a dinghy than when I first started. Still, there are so many things for me to learn, get quicker at, and figure out.
Adam already has visions in his mind of us joining 420 Club (a race club that happens every week during the summer), and the two of us going to the Olympics. Soo0o, I have a lot to look forward to I guess…
In the end, I’m super happy I got to try something completely different. I have a feeling that a lot of sailing is going to be in my future (perhaps some foreshadowing?), so I’m glad that I’ve acquired these skills to hone.
What About You!?
- Have you ever sailed before?
- Have you ever taken a course in something completely different for you?