First of all, I owe 2 pounds in offline fees to Unicef, having not blogged for a couple of days.
I do have very good excuses for not blogging. The prime one being last night’s sail lesson on our new boat, a swift 18. We were delighted to have an experienced sailor on board as we left the harbour at gone 6pm with my daughter to get some confidence inducing experience from a man who knows his stuff. We learnt how to arrange the sails in a goose-wing, to make the most of sailing down-wind and how to gybe, tack and reef the main-sail.
For beginners, we were fortunate to have a very calm evening. It was almost dead calm and the sea was like a mill pond. So each manoeuvre was gentle and we could explore the boat without the pressure of literally being ‘under the weather’. In fact it is not until you start sailing that you realise so many sayings come from life on the water. Here is a list just off the top of my head:
‘sailing too close to the wind’
‘paid/ paying our dues’ (paying harbour dues so can sail in the harbour)
‘three sheets to the wind’ (a bit tipsy)
‘all hands to the deck’
‘batten down the hatches’
‘paid off’ (backing the sails when in a sail boat no go zone to get momentum again)
There are many many more, some are linked to old sailing traditions on naval ships and merchant vessels, such as ‘wiping the slate clean’. At the helm, the watch keeper would record details of speed, distances, headings, etc. on a slate. At the beginning of a new watch the slate would be wiped clean.
My husband and I absorbed as much information as our not so sophisticated brains could manage, while our daughter took everything in like a sponge and was in her element as there were so many things she could do effectively. For a seven year old wanting to have a bigger role in the ‘grown-up world’ this experience was fantastic for her. Largely helped of course by a fantastic teacher – we all thought he was brilliant and made our first full sailing experience in our little Swift a positive one.
The session ended with a stunning view of the sun setting at sea. To me everything seems more magical from the on water perspective. First the rain hitting the sea last week, then the sun setting reflecting beautiful colours and shapes on the sea’s surface. We all can’t wait to explore more….
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Thanks for reading.