Tacking, Gybing and There goes my nose

Well, I had a good weekend learning how to sail (RYA Level 2 Dingy sailing actually), my father-in-law and I signed up for the course way back in June when it seemed like a good idea (i.e. the weather was a LOT warmer). So saturday and sunday were spent sailing around in a little dingy, desperately trying to avoid capsizing because frankly I wasn’t sure my heart was up to the shock of falling into a cold british river in the middle of november.

I’d only had one (introductory) lesson on sailing before (which was way back in June), so there was actually a very steep learning curve, with lots of new ‘lingo’ to learn such as ‘tacking’ and ‘gybing’, as well as all the practical stuff such as actually making the boat go in the direction you want and even more importantly being able to stop the boat once you get where you want to go.

The boats we were sailing were Laser Pico’s, which are fanatastic little boats….that is they’re fantastic if you’re a child or a slim woman. If you’re a 6ft man like me (who could probably do with losing a few pounds) then they’re a disaster waiting to happen, firstly if I sat on the gunnels (edge) then the boat would invariably start to tip over into the icy water, secondly when you’re 6ft tall it’s a lot more difficult to duck your head under the boom as it whips across the boat in a split-second.

I did quite well (I thought) and go into the second day of sailing before the boom caught me square on the nose and almost knocked me out, at this point the sailing instructor was telling me things like “Pull the sheets in”, “tack away”…whilst I was sitting there literally seeing stars and pretty much unable to do anything for the best part of a minute or so (which is a long time when you’re sitting on a 4 foot wide boat which is intent on trying to capsize you). Luckily my nose wasn’t broken, but 2 days later it’s still bruised and blackend (and very sore)…still it’s a lesson learnt (no the lesson isn’t to duck in time, the lesson is to get a boat with a higher boom next time).

So, anyway, I’m now a qualified (RYA Level 2 at least!) sailor, which is a scary thought and what’s even scarier is that I’m trying to find time to go sailing a few more timers again this year before the weather gets even worse!

2 thoughts on “Tacking, Gybing and There goes my nose

  1. Josh Nelson

    I’ve done a fair bit of sailing in the past, including Lasers, as well as canoeing. It’s not too bad falling in or capsizing them, once you’ve done it a few times you don’t notice the cold, you just look a bit bluer, and standing on the daggerboard to get them upright again is fun. ;-p

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