Saturday, October 06, 2007

Take a Bow.

Yesterday's "bow shot" (using "shot" in the purely photographic sense of the word of course) was the bow of the boat I sailed on until last year.

The above "bow shot" is this year's sailboat of choice.

May seem like a downgrade, to go from a magnificent 80-foot schooner to a Sunfish - but I found the change totally rewarding. All of my sailing experience before this year had been basically as crew - sometimes I'd be at the helm, but there were always others involved, I'd never sailed an entire boat by myself.

I've had such fun learning how to sail these this year.

Today was quite likely my last dinghy sailing jaunt for 2007. I'm busy with kayaking things for the next couple of weekends, and after that I expect it may be getting a bit chilly & I just don't have the experience to be thinking about frostbiting this year (kayaking keeps you a lot warmer!). Turned out to be an absolutely stunning day - summer bizarrely extended; I felt like I had everything reasonably nicely in hand, got the Sunfish up on plane at one point (well, that's an exagerration, the Sunfish got itself up on plane, I just didn't do anything to screw it up), and then tried Holly the Sailing Chair's Laser during our break on Ruffle Bar. That was fun - I wasn't taking pictures while I was sailing the Laser, but I managed to keep things more or less together, got a few tastes of good boat speed, and didn't capsize, as I was fully expecting to do - I've practiced enough in the Sunfish for handling tiller & sheet to not be a completely foreign exercise, so even though there were some differences between how I was doing things in a Sunfish & how I had to do them in the Laser, I think I had a good enough grip of the basics for my kayak-drilled sense of boat balance to kick in (in a way that didn't even START to happen at the clinic weekend earlier this year!). Of course it was also VERY light air by then so I can't congratulate myself too much (and I don't think I pulled of one jibe where I actually finished it on a run - things just happened so fast!). But I'm glad I tried it!

Learned a few things today - but the best part of the day?

Holly told me today that I'm certified! Yay! Although sailing season's more than likely over for me this year, next year, I'm allowed to take out a Sunfish on my own - plus we'll continue working on the Laser. That, by my own preference, I'm not thinking of going solo in anytime soon, but it'll be so neat to be able to have the option on a day with a nice breeze to go out & kick around in a Sunfish! Yay!

She did of course ask that I use good judgement as far as not going out in rough conditions - I would definitely do that, I'm now in the position I was in my 2nd year of kayaking where I had a way to get out without having to sign up for a tour - it was great to know I could, but I'd only do it when things were very very mild, saving the challenges for days when I'd be with better people (and boy, next year I think I'd like to start being a little braver about what I'll join the group for - this year, I looked for weather forecasts of 5-10 kts, next year maybe I won't be so timid).

But I've basically been judged to be competent enough to take a sailboat out without supervision -

This all just feels like I've really expanded my boating skills in a whole new direction - and that's just awesome.

Possibly not so awesome...I actually heard myself asking the fatal question while we were having a little break on Ruffle Bar...

"So, uh, how much does a used Laser cost, anyways?"

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