Jun 1 2012 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
Ayrshire Post reporter Jen Buchanan learns to sail with Prestwick Sailing Club
WHEN the good folks at Prestwick Sailing Club invited me to learn the basics of sailing, my first thought was: “I bet my swimming skills are improved by the end of this.”
And I wasn’t entirely wrong.
For on my first outing I capsized not once, but twice. It was definitely a baptism of fire.
I have to admit hauling my very unfit self out the sea on multiple occasions caused me to be in a considerable amount of pain the next day – who knew so many places could hurt?
But having said that, I have definitely been bitten by the bug.
Because despite the pain and nausea from swallowing all that sea water, all I have done is think about getting out there again.
My first sailing lesson took place in glorious sunshine and I couldn’t wait to get out on the water on Saturday morning.
I was a couple of lessons behind everyone else in my group but that has never stood in my way before.
Before we went out onto the sea we were walked through the Five Essentials of sailing, which are boat balance, the centreboard, the course, sail setting and trim, or the front and back balance of the boat. Then after a quick run down of the boating terms for parts of the boat (for me as the beginner) we set out on the Bahia – a kind of boat.
But the sea can be very deceptive. For despite the gorgeous weather, just a few hundred yards off shore a strong, gusty wind was blowing.
And it was that, combined with having learners on board, that caused our Bahia to capsize.
Unfortunately, I had not been instructed on the golden rule of a capsize as we were expecting a calm run.
The number one thing to remember in a capsize is: always hold on to the boat. For as I swam to get out of the way, I suddenly realised that the Bahia was sailing off into the sunset without me.
Valuable lesson learned. I was much more prepared for the second one, although granted I held onto the wrong part and made the situation worse.
My third capsize will be much better I’m sure!
I was glad to know it wasn’t just us learners who were having difficulty though, even the experienced sailors were struggling to stay upright in the conditions.
It gives me hope that I’ll be sailor yet, stay tuned for more of my escapades next week.