SO... had my first lesson this weekend at the Afterguard Sailing Academy over in Oakland.
Bearing in mind that I'm starting from absolute zero in sailing experience (last time I was on the water
I was 10...I'm now 33) it was an interesting experience. I'm posting
for the benefit of people in a similar situation to my own. I wouldn't say it was "fun." There was fun to be had for sure. But my reaction at the end of the first day was, "Uh oh...that was not what I'd expected."
My day 1 expectation versus reality might be something like when you're a kid and what you think driving a car is going to be like. I guess when you're a kid you picture cruising in the family
car with your friends to the mall. No biggie. Maybe waving at the ladies. Then you get in the car and feel this anxiety on your chest as you're trying to tell your right foot which pedal is clutch
and which is the gas, and your hand what gear
to put it in, while simultaneously looking out the front windshield and trying not to crash into the light pole of the parking lot your parent has taken you to. And that parent is sitting next to you saying things like, "Why did you put the wipers on? SLOW DOWN. Maybe you've had enough for the day?" Nerve wracking and a bit exhausting.
There were four males (between myself and one of the other guys, an Oakland police officer, we were 500 pounds in the boat easy) and our instructor sitting in the cockpit
of a 23 foot Ranger
. The majority of the 16 hours (8 hours each day) we spent going up and down the estuary, making maneuvers. Tacking. Jibbing. Docking
. Leaving dock
again. Several times we got our life vests stuck on the lifelines
. Our on board police officer took a boom to the head
. Etc. I imagine it was a bit like watching four chimps try and launch the space shuttle. End of day 1 I was a bit grumpy to be honest.
On the morning of Day 2 though...something felt different. We ran through the ASA
checklist without a hitch and each grabbed a station and got out early. After just one day there was a MEASURABLE difference in our performance. A few times we got the little ranger
to heel a bit and move along at decent clip. Sometimes we even trimmed and managed to work together as a team. Then I took a boom to the eye socket and remembered we're still not that far from chimps on the shuttle. Oh well.
The second day there was actual wind
. There was also a race
in the estuary. Tons of beautiful boats with their spinnakers out. That was actually the best part of the experience for me. Just sailing along and getting a chance to see all the ships along the bay. Some of them are truly floating works of art. Of course others look like floating TV dinners.
Anyway, took the afterguard test and am now able to crew small boats with their company. Today I am longing to get back out again. If that feeling at the beginning of day 2 is how I felt after ONE DAY of training I can only imagine how I'd feel after 3. Or 7. Or 10. And I know the propensity for new knowledge to atrophy quickly.
SO, while I wouldn't describe the first experience as "fun" I feel like it tempered my expectations of the work and training properly. I have made it a goal to get back out again within the next thirty days for the ASA
101 course. Have ordered up the books
and am working through the flash cards. In the meantime I've been watching for various meetups and chances to get back out on the water
in the short term.
That's where it stands.