Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Those tippy FJs

Hello again. I promise not to go on and on about my sailing class, but it was so exciting I just want to tell a little more. We went out again today, Class #2. Wind conditions were about the same as last week, whipping. This time I sailed with a senior majoring in physics, named David. He learned to sail in high school on Cape Cod, but said he'd been out of boats for awhile. Well, he was terrific. We did go over twice, once a turtle that took both of us standing on the centerboard, once just half-way. But we managed to right our boat quickly, really fast the second time.

I'm the exact same age as his mom. Trying to do some of this stuff around these young folk is humbling, but also funny. When things got a little wild and some lively language slipped out from David, he apologized. I just laughed. Later, when we were going over the second time, I let out a choice word or two. He laughed. We had a good time.

Just yet we haven't really been racing. We're working on boat handling. We did a little buoy-rounding course today, but the coaches are working to get us to tack more efficiently and stay on a more direct course. Going downwind, they suggested we forgo jibing in today's conditions. Our teacher is head coach for the racing team, a big guy named Jay Kehoe, and his assistant coach, Amanda, a very tiny but very competent 20-something.

I can tell that I've developed a real sensitivity to the stability of the boat, which is completely unstable. Call it self-survival. We worked on reading the water for puffs, and how to handle them. I need more time on the water to gain competence and get my head "out of the boat," as they say.

Hoping for ongoing improvement. I'll say this; when I'm out on the water on a wonderful windy day like today, I think of nothing else but sailing. When I get back to shore, it is as if the wind wiped out all thought, any mental baggage or concern. I step back on shore as if I just landed from another planet. I have to think: OK, where am I going and what am I doing. Slowly the rest of the world returns.

Hope you are all well and making those plans for summer fun at Big Lake. These pix are grabbed off Flickr and have creative commons licenses, which means they can be shared for noncommercial uses. So I am sending them to you as little sailing postcards to enjoy as you think about sailing soon. Eventually I will send some pix I took...



Cat Sailor Paul said...

This is great stuff. It’s almost like we’re taking the class along with you. You’re doing a great job of conveying the class as it develops – keep these posts coming. I think we may have a future ASC Racing 101 instructor in the making here.

What is the water temperature? We’re still staring at hard water on Big Lake. What kind of gear are you wearing on the water?

I especially enjoyed your second to last paragraph – THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Someday, I’d like to see everyone to post a similar paragraph – How does sailing make you feel? How would you describe it to a non-sailor?

Kathleen McCoy said...

Hi Paul, thanks for reading. The water temp -- well, I hardly notice it. I am in a pair of polypro tights, a polypro longsleeve shirt, and a windbreaker over that. We are required to wear closed-toed shoes. Sunglasses and sunblock, that's it. My sailing mate last week, Doug, came this week in a wet suit. He will wear it every time, he says. To me the water isn't cold, but my heart is pumping the whole time and I am excited -- very active. When I end up in the water, it merely feels refreshing. I only get shivery if I stand around wet on the dock very long afterward.

Today, all the bruises I got yesterday sailing are coming out. I never even feel them when they happen. So the day after sailing is a day of recovery -- I do everything on my sked, but a tad bit slower. I also break all my finger nails. I had a pedicure, but that's fast disappearing. But it's worth it!