sailing with dad

About this time seven years ago I took a sailing course with my Dad. I wrote about it on a previous blog and thought I’d post it on here. I love that we did this, though it gives me such sorrow and makes me miss him deeply. I love that he initiated us doing the course. That he loved to learn new things and have new experiences. He wanted to share those adventures with the people he loved and make memories. I wish I had photos from it. I have never felt inclined to pick up sailing again since and I don’t think Dad did either, though we did say a few times that we should. We just didn’t get to any real level of proficiency so forgot what we learned very quickly and felt like we’d be back at square one with it. Reading this again makes me feel a bit of an inclination to try it again as it would connect me to him and I think Dad would like that…. That reminds me, I must put Level One Sailing on my CV.

Blog post from, 18th August 2008

Level 1 Sailing – How to put on a wetsuit
So last week me and my Dad went on a beginner’s sailing course. The aim was to get to RYA Level Two standard over four days meaning we could essentially go to any yacht club in any country and rent a boat without having to have an intructor, depending on the rules of the club etc. Here’s how things went…

Day 1 – 900hrs, Hove Lagoon
Met everyone, a couple called Gill and Ken and a lady called Fiona, all nice. The weather forecast for the week was not looking that great, high winds coming Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday so they wanted to make the most of the conditions on the first day. We ended up on the water ALL day. First off we went to get changed into our wetsuits. I come out of the changing rooms and this cool windsurfer intructor guy says, “excuse me, you’ve got your wetsuit on back to front”. Oh.

Funny thing was, I went and told my Dad once I had corrected the problem and he said, “I came out and a guy said, “excuse me mate, just to save you the embarassment of walking in there where all those people are, your wetsuit’s on inside out AND back to front”, then my dad explains he had also kept his white t-shirt on underneath and the collar was sticking out the neck. Classic Dad.

Tweedle dum and tweedle dee. I thought it’s good really because if you’re going to learn something new you’re going to embarass yourself, we got it over with straight away.
So we practiced how to do a turn called a ‘tack’ out of the water, I had the cunning idea of going last so i watched everyone do it over and over then did it like a pro first time. Ha. Then we learnt to rig the boats and launched them…

Mayhem ensued.

I think I did a few tacks where i just spun around and tipped over. Was getting smacked in the head with the boom regularly and battering my knees as i attempted to move across the boat and lost my balance. Kind of funny but then i got frustrated. One of the instructors said, “I can see you want to master this straight away but you’re not going to!”. Made me feel better to turn around and see my Dad in the water pretty much every time i looked. Started to feel i was getting more in control but then tiredness took over and I kept capsizing because the small amount of skill i had acquired got lost as my energy went. Came out feeling disheartened and shattered. Had a nice lunch and the fact that Dad and I were just laughing at each other, well mostly at him, helped lift my spirits. Taught me a lot about perseverance that first day. I was praying over the lunch time, God please help me do this, as i really didn’t feel up to the second session.
I sucked it up and got on with it and the break obviously helped since I really enjoyed the second session! Went out there feeling a bit discouraged as we learned a new turn called a ‘gybe’, which was a little harder, but then started to get the hang of it and only went over twice. It was fun! Got home and felt shattered, had seriously stiff muscles. I ended up having a bath every day that week as soon as i got home! I barely spoke to my housemates as was so tired. Still went out briefly to the pub but just felt exhausted and a bit lame for being so wiped.

Then got a text from my Dad which simply said: ‘I can’t move‘.

Day 2
Got up feeling extremely stiff!! Didn’t help that Dad kept poking my legs right where he knew it would hurt on the journey back to Hove lagoon. Was pretty windy so the plan was to go out on the water for one morning session and then do theory in the afternoon.

Wetsuits on correctly: check.
Was not feeling good about this session, it was seriously windy. The fact everyone was giving each other concerned glances and wishing the person launching their boat “good luck”, didn’t help. But I got in and it was ok! I felt quite in control which was surprising and was enjoying it and wanted to go faster and try leaning out to balance the boat instead of just letting the sail out and losing speed. Though this meant i went over loads, i just got up laughing and was finding it fun. I must have gone over with a fair amount of force because the end of the boom hit the bottom of the lagoon and pulled up loads of seaweed a couple of times. Due to the strong wind it was so hard to get the boat upright and at one point i was clinging on to it just being pulled along by it. i felt I learned a lot more about how to manoeuvre the boat around with the wind though.

This is all i can be bothered to write now… stay tuned for stories about ‘Killer Ken’ and our first outing on the sea…


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  1. the messy mama

    The way you write – oh my gosh I was laughing. What an experience!! I wish I had things like that that I could look back on. I hope I can get over my inhibitions enough to give my own children memories like that as they get older. x x x

    Liked by 1 person

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