Sailing: Not as advertised on YouTube

After months of dreaming, researching, and planning, we bought a boat. Then we spent the next month doing repairs, sorting out weird ownership details and lining up lessons. This was what we were waiting for: leaving the dock…under the supervision of an expert.

Mark’s Version:

Like our very inexpensive boat, we found a canSAIL instructor on Craigslist. I chatted with him weeks before we went out. To be honest, both Jac and I were terrified he’d take one look at Crew’s Control and say “that’s not sea worthy” and leave. Nope. Crew’s Control is far from perfect but it’s totally sailing worthy.

We left the dock with our instructor for a beautiful afternoon sail. He threw us right into it and put me immediately behind the helm to leave the dock and we managed to make it out without incident.

Heeling ain't Easy
Someone’s not loving the heel.

Sailing practice was awesome. Taking all of the reading and youtube we consumed about how to sail and applying it in the real world was great. The reading was helpful, we knew the right words. YouTube, on the other hand, is LIES! YouTubers that have their sails up while they casually steer or have auto pilot on is not what we experienced… Sail trimming is an active job and we spent 6 hours constantly moving and adjusting. I look forward to knowing this skill more intuitively.

I have a lot to learn about being at the helm in a close-hauled point of sail, I auto tacked a lot but at least I didn’t accidentally gybe like Jac 😜.

We’re running tiny sails (storm sails), and we don’t have our battens in so our instructor did his best to show us what to do. I wish I had taken a picture of our instructor’s face when we told him our sail wouldn’t furl because of the battens, so we(I) removed them. I promised I wouldn’t do that again.

Look at those telltales

Having someone take us through our boat was awesome. It felt like we knew our boat a 1000 times better within 10 minutes with the instructor. It also ended some household debates, are our sails too small? Yes, they’re a storm set. Do we really need 8 lines back to the cockpit? Yes, it’s almost everything we need for sailing at our finger tips.

After an awesome 6 hour sail we were feeling confident we could at least get out and practice.

Jaclyn’s Version:

The sailing lesson was great! It was reassuring to know that the boat wasn’t the floating trash pile that we thought it might be. I also realized how much work it was. I was picturing setting sails and then lounging in the cockpit with a snack. Wow, I was wrong!

Can we talk about heeling? We don’t have a heel-o-meter (I know there’s a proper term), so I swear we were at 30 degrees at least for most of the sail. We weren’t and the instructor assured me that the boat could go over so much further before we had an issue….I’m not sure I believe him.

While I may have accidentally gybed, I didn’t bump a dock box on our next sail….but more on that next time.

Some mid-lesson lounging

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