So, it has been an ongoing struggle for us, finding a way to actually get OUT on the water
Sailing our own boat was an ordeal in relationship stress. Crewing
or even just being meat on the club beer
can races was to stressful. Sailing out with friends was still to much.
Last night I think we found the venue that will allow us successfully do just that.
Himself has proposed numerous basic intro courses that he thought would be good starting points. Without exception I have vetoed them, for a number of reasons, in no order of import
While he is anxious out on the water
he has a HUGE body of knowledge and is a very competent person. All of the courses offered were clearly going to be a group of landlubbers needing the most basic and simple of introductions in their intro classes
. The information offered was going to already be familiar to him just through the small amount of experience he has had over the last 3 years. He knows a sheet from a halyard
, how to steer with a tiller, starboard from port, downhaul from outhaul
and what the cunningham is for. I can never remember myself...
In these classes
he was not going to get instruction that would be advanced enough to be useful to him while providing time on the boat under the instruction of someone he could feel secure with. Trust me after a number of abortive attempts, I am NOT that person... And they all, with out exception, were expensive and wanted to tie you into a commitment. Given that they seemed to not meet his needs the cost just wasn't worth it.
Then he found a school
, Afterguard, over in Oakland. Mary and Steve run a small charter/sailing instruction operation that caters to many levels of experience. They offer Wednesday evening sails
for a reasonable fee and its a casual setup, something more than drop in, but not much and with a little luck you could even swing a drop in.
We went on Saturday a week ago when we knew they were sailing out with a group. Introductions were made, situations discussed. Steve generously walked us over their two Ranger
23's an discussed in some detail how they are rigged. One of our boats is a R23 so the opportunity to sail and practice on the same models our own boat was appealing. We signed up for the next Wednesday sail.
Last night I cruised by the office and picked Himself up, along with our gear
and some munchies. The commute to Oakland was far less painful than anticipated and we were at the marina by 5:30.
Mary, another captain
and 6 other students were gathering. The vibe was just friendly, businesslike and calm. In short order we were all schlepping out to the docks and getting the two Rangers ready to go. The boats were shipshape and the routine for rigging
them was well defined and clear, instructions were given along the way, with occasional intervention to show someone how to tie a knot
, the different kind of shackles, the way to identify the main halyard
and the foresail halyard. The radio
was id'ed. Mildly cranky motors were started and warmed up. Mary took me, Himself and Jonathon, a rank novice
, with her. When both boats were ready we cast off and worked our way out into the estuary. I got a quick reefing lesson that was much appreciated. Later on I did the reverse when the wind
dropped a bit. Conditions were really good, 5k winds, no swell in the protected estuary. Perfect novice
sailing! I looked over to see a relaxed smile on my guy's face and felt a warmth inside. Finally seeing him look like he was actually having fun while under sail was wonderful.
We tacked and jibed back and forth, trading starboard tacks with the other little ranger
, creating a diamond pattern of wakes behind us. Man, I really like this boat! Everything was smooth and low-key, perfect for easing the anxiety that dogs
Himself's heels. He ran one winch
and sheet, I ran the other. Jonathon got lots of tiller time, which was good, neither of us are in need of that practice.
As the light faded we headed back the way we had come. The sunset behind up over the bay was beautiful shades of orange and magenta.
As we neared the marina we powered up the outboard
and began to break down, lowering sails
, putting out fenders, readying for the docking
. A piercing whistle from our sister ship drew us back to check on what was up. The outboard
(there IS a special level of hell for outboard makers, isn't there?) had snagged it's pull line and they were unable to get the cover off to straighten it out. Mary got them on their radio
and talked them thru a couple of attempts, but clearly it was not going to be an easy fix from a distance. No worries, we circled and she gave them instructions in rigging
a harness to their bow while I was fixing one to our stern. When it was time to throw the sheet I had commandeered for the tow job I declined Mary's request to throw the line over with a grin. "Mary, if it's all the same to you, I'd rather YOU were the one to throw and miss and foul the prop, OK?" She laughed and tossed the line, landing it square in the cockpit
of the other boat. If I had thrown it I am SURE it would have fallen short and been instantly sucked under the outboard.
She over saw the rigging of the tow line to their bow while Himself and I got the harness adjusted on our stern and we were in business. Mary glided us up the channel, into the marine
, and up to our side by side slips and as I stepped of on to the docks the disabled boat was just nosing into her slip and I was able to easily walk her into place. What a great lesson. And in the next few minutes another great lesson in outboard triage as she opened the cowling and flicked the pull rope
into place and started her up.
The boats were put to bed
in a tidy shipshape fashion and we all trooped up to the office to drop off and pick up gear
and belongings. There was some chat and then most of the group departed. Himself and I stayed for a moment to ask about some future dates and Mary pulled out chips and dip and crackers. I contributed the ham and cheese and bread I had brought, an Auxiliary Coastie and friend dropped in and we all sat and chatted. The sad circumstances of the Low Speed Chase
was a hot topic for all of us, and Mary had had a boat in the race
. Interesting to talk to such knowledgeable people. Finally at 10:30 we all headed out, stuffed and happy.
On the way home Himself admitted that twice, when the wind
had picked up a little and he had felt her bite into it and heel a bit, he had felt the anxiety rise a little, but had been able to easily manage it and get back in the game
So I think we have a starting place now. Our current
goal is to finish up some work on the Cal28 so she, and we, will be ready for the Delta
Doodah this July.
I think we will be ; -)