Sailing: How it started (Sept/Oct 2017)

Well – how long is a piece of string? The next two posts are about how I got into sailing, and to give a bit of insight into me (not in an exact chronological order either) 🙂  But it’s about the context…  maybe helps explain why I’m doing what I’m doing and where my heads at…

We’d done a few flotilla holidays in Greece (awesome way to do an activity AND get a suntan!), the last time out  was 3 or 4 years ago where we had a bit of a scary experience (for novices at least), which scared both me & my daughter.

Two novices & a new ish racer – very different levels!! We’d gone out just after a big storm trying to get some decent wind…  We had some nasty katabatic’s (descending wind coming down off the mountains!) and our main sail jammed, cue lots of shouting, me trying to helm to direction whilst he tried to sort out the main.  I didn’t feel safe, more importantly I didn’t feel in control, nor was I experienced enough to know what to do (aka, don’t panic like I did!)  Luckily we radioed in and the support crew came out, jumped aboard to help with the jammed sail… finally managed to get it down & get some semblance of control back (thanks Cactus)

Not the most relaxing of holidays at the end, and where it was agreed that maybe we should avoid sailing holidays for a bit… 😉

Fast forward a few years – one very active racer, me… well I was happy being shore crew. And I will say, I make pretty awesome shore crew 😉  Religiously track the races, tweet, fill up my facebook feed with updates on progress, and load the car up with clean clothes/booze & all the other essentials (always appreciated after the offshore races!).  I was fortunate enough to head to Antigua for the RORC600 in Feb this year (shore crew clearly) – sunshine, awesome people and lots of rum…  Can’t say I counted on cooking for 12 people for 5 days at sea though (a Kia’s boot holds more than you think!!)

After a few years of not being on a boat, I was cajoled into going out on one of the pre-race days in Antigua. I sat there, trying to stay out of the way, watching the crew, eyes getting bigger & bigger, slowly starting to grin & remember that actually, I enjoyed being on a boat.  I loved how they all worked together (despite being baffled by some of the terms & language being used!!) and how the boat moved in response to their efforts.  Stepping off the boat at the end of the day, I realised how silly I’d been – instead of dusting myself off & getting back on a boat, I’d let my fear control me & that it had stopped me from doing something I had previously enjoyed.  I don’t think any of the guys on the boat will ever fully understand what a “moment” I’d had, and how grateful I am to them getting me out that day…

That led to me going, right… how do I get both mine and my daughter’s confidence back on a boat? A friend mentioned a company in Portugal that she had used for her sailing qualifications. Comp Crew was a F it moment, we need a holiday, a “we used to enjoy this, let’s give it a go again under tuition AND in the sun” (certainly beats the Solent!!).  Mission accomplished, despite Buttmunchs squeaks (she figured out finally that heeling is ok, but she feel’s safer hunkered)

Haha Mumma was grinning like a mad woman. Helming, heeling, waves splashing AND feeling safe.  LOVED IT… (I’m not convinced on the rolling Atlantic swell though!!) #you’llseewhythatsironiclater

I loved it so much – it was the first time in a while I’d properly smiled, so when I spotted my local sailing club was doing an introduction to racing for 6 weeks, I decided to sign up.

Wow, what an amazing 6 weeks it was – the people were so friendly & helpful, skippers & crew giving up their weekends to help a bunch of complete novices get to grips with sailing & racing (most of whom hadn’t been on a boat before, let alone raced!!). I’ve sailed in a different boat each week, with different skippers n crew and have already learnt so much, different techniques and that when push comes to shove, it’s you and your crew.  Teamwork!!

Over the 6/8 weeks – I realised how much I enjoyed it, and that I wanted this buzz to continue, so yes, I’m trying to get out as often as I can get a ride!!

So I guess that’s how the sailing side of stuff all started…

And then it was….