Sunday, May 18, 2008



I think I could really get into this Sailing thing. Since I’ve already registered in the Intermediate Sailing class during the summer session, it must be serious. I must say it’s been some of the most fun I’ve had going to school. I got my grade for the first class and scored an “A”. Of course everyone else in the class got “A’s” also. With my past college grades that should bring my GPA up to 0.75.

My Instructor, Dave allowed Cathie to go with us when the class was held on his boat. My motive here is to get her to like sailing too. I might be needing someone to crew. Speaking of crew, Dave has asked me to crew on two races so far. I asked him why he would want someone with as little experience as me to crew for him during a race. He said, “Well, you’re retired” meaning I’m available and work doesn’t get in the way. I was still flattered that he asked me.

The first race, called a beer can race, was held in the evening and is a biweekly event put on by the Coronado Yacht Club. The term “beer can race”, I am told, comes from someone throwing a beer can overboard and boats in the race having to sail around it. Because that’s a big no-no in today’s day and age, the race course is set up utilizing buoys in the bay as navigation points. In the late evening when the race is held, there is very little wind, so it’s a slow race where strategy on the part of the captain plays a big part. We came in 5th out of a field of 12 boats.

The second race held by another Yacht Club in the northern part of San Diego Bay covered a little over 7 miles. This time we faired better crossing the finish line 3rd in our class. The wind on this day varied from no wind at all to a nice stiff breeze. At times we were actually dead in the water due to the lack of wind. So far my duties have been handling one of the jib sheets (rope), adjusting the jib to get the most efficient power out of the wind. Do I know what I’m doing? Well, I know more than I did several months ago, but other more experience crew members have to provide me with direction by giving me subtle hints as to what I should do. This is usually accomplished by yelling at me, which seems to work.

At the end of the second race, Dave told me he was including me in the crew for all the beer can races, which I’m looking forward to. Dave didn’t say why he was including me. I would like to believe it's because I performed so well, but it's probably because I'm retired and available.

In the above photo we are “wing on wing”, meaning the jib sail to one side and the main sail to the other to take advantage of the wind behind us.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Well, it’s been awhile since we’ve reported any new adventures. We’ve been staying close to home keeping the home fires burning. With no major trip scheduled, I figured the best use of my time would be to further my education. So I decided to return to college and enrolled in Southwestern College’s beginning sailing class.

As I discovered sometime ago, the college has an aquatic center at Silver Strand State Park where one can take sailing, kayaking, surfing, and outrigger canoe classes. My sailing class consisted of 6 students, some of who had some prior sailing experience. I had none unless you count sailing on my uncle’s boat when I was 9 years old. We received our instruction in Hobie Ones, a single hull sloop with retractable center board. After spending the first class learning how to rig the boats, the second class meeting saw us on the water for the first time.

Our instructor, Dave along with his teaching assistants taught us the proper techniques for tacking, jibing, docking and my favorite, the man overboard drill. The idea is to maneuver the boat into position to pick up the man overboard. As it turns out, this is not as easy as it sounds, especially in a boat being powered by sail only. By using a buoy as the man in the water I attempted many times to maneuver the boat in such a way that it would stop next to the “man”. The first time I was too far away, next I sailed right past the buoy, several times I ran into the buoy going over it with the boat. Usually I wasn’t close enough to the “Man” to rescue him. Hopefully he would still alive and could swim over to me to be rescued. The lesson here is, if you ever go sailing with me stay in the boat and out of the water.

The last four classes are held on Dave personal boat, a 34 foot sloop. Students rotate around the boat with everyone getting to learn each station, such as operation of the winches that trim the sails and taking over at the helm. This is by far the highlight of the class, sailing around San Diego Bay getting to take command of the boat. I’ve enjoyed this foray into higher education so much that I’ve already registered for the summer session, intermediate sailing.

I’m not the teachers pet, but Dave has invited me to sail with him in a race which I am really looking forward to, but that’s another adventure.

At the Helm (With Dave looking on)