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Old 28-10-2018, 20:34   #106
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Originally Posted by ppvora View Post
Hello All,
I'm a 56-year old (male) college professor. In late August 2016, I took the ASA 101 course at a sailing school on the Chesapeake Bay and (easily) passed it. Since then, I haven't had much of a chance to go sailing due to various factors. However, this year, I decided to get a season pass at the boat rental place at the local lake. The local lake is a tiny "man-made" lake (they built a dam to fill up a depression in the land). My intention was to grab the centerboard day sailers (15 footers) they have there, to practice my basic sailing skills, then probably next season find a reasonably-priced second-hand boat and go sailing on the Chesapeake Bay....maybe more in the future.

However, a certain incident occurred that has kinda' scared me a bit: The first time I went out, the wind at the local lake was going 7-8 knots with gusts of upto 10. I went out maybe 0.5 NM and turned in such a way that the boat keeled over on the side that I was sitting. In a split second I was thrown overboard and the boat flipped over with me underneath. I was wearing my life-jacket, and without realizing it even, I was able to raise the hull and come out from underneath. The boat rental center takes safety very seriously and they always have one person as a lookout for all their rentals that go out. They saw me and two persons there jumped into a motor-boat and were at my side in no time. They pulled me onto their boat.

I think I'm a fairly risk-averse person and, generally speaking, like to err on the side of safety. For example, in my 38 years of driving, I have never received a ticket for a moving violation.

Later that day the following emotions ran through me:
1. Depression: "This is the end of my sailing career -- even before I seriously started."

2. Extreme embarrassment: "Those guys at the rental place are laughing their asses off thinking about the old fool who thought he knew how to sail. How will I even make my way there again?"

3. Fear: "Wow, that was closest I've come to within inches of my life."

4. Fear (another type): Of getting verbally chewed out by The One Who Must Be Obeyed. [She didn't]

Anyway, I'm writing to seek some advise and encouragement. Is an event like this unusual? Was I foolish? I kinda' like to be by myself sometimes and it's unlikely (if I ever make it to owning a real sailboat) that I will sail the Chesapeake with others -- this is MY thing. Besides, The One gets seasick if she even sees a boat, so no chance of convincing her to join in the fun.

Any advice, stories, encouragement, even discouragement ("You fool, it's people like you who give sailing a bad name!") is appreciated provided it's honest.

Thank-you all.
You beat yourself up quite a bit, doncha?!

Get out there on a small keelboat in light to medium breeze l
with an experienced crew and go at it again.

Whatever you do, always give 100%. Unless you’re donating blood.
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:49   #107
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Just another day sailing! Don't worry about it - it's all part of the process of learning. I started out sailing dinghies on waters like that, worked my way up through four different twenty-something footers I owned over the years, then ended up cruising from Turkey to the Caribbean on my own 46 footer. All along the way were embarassing/frustrating incidents - they're bound to happen, and nothing teaches faster than failing. Don't listen to the one or two people in the thread above that said to skip dinghies or leave them to "younger" people. They're the best possible vehicles to make the early mistakes in - practically impossible to hurt yourself or other people in that context, especially with what sounds like organized and conscientious people looking out for you there. In fact, when I learned dinghies, they took us out and made us capsize them, so we wouldn't be afraid of it, would learn what the limits were, and how to recover when we had crossed those. Once you get used to it it's pretty easy to flip most models back upright and bail them out. The most important step for learning in sailing is to set your embarrassment aside, and not be afraid to ask more experienced sailors how to do it better next time. Find them and absorb their knowledge. Great you've found your way to this forum. It's a good starting place!

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