Wednesday, May 07, 2008

GAS PRICES TOO HIGH? GO SAILING

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.

5 comments:

Erin said...

Woo Hoo! Go Dana! Glad you are having fun!

Nick said...

I hear the lower Slobovian team is looking for experienced hands for the next America's Cup.

Good news is, I understand they don't practice "man overboard" drills.

So, when are you trading in the motorhome for your own sloop?

francis said...

Wow, not only are you learning to sail, but you can eat to your hearts content on the "35 food sloop". "Slurp, slurp', goes Dana. You are haaving way too much fun, get back to the business of "retirement". Best wishes, Frank

francis said...

Wow, not only are you learning to sail, but you can eat to your hearts content on the "35 food sloop". "Slurp, slurp", goes Dana. You are having way too much fun; get back to the business of "retirement". Best wishes and wear your life vest. Frank

Gassaway's Adventures said...

Ok, Frank, leave it to you to find a misspelled work.

Nick I'm keeping the RV so we have a place to live after buying the sloop.