Yo, ho! Yo, ho! A Pirate’s Life for Me: Sailing Lessons at Manhattan Sailing School

sailingLast winter Ben won sailing lessons from Manhattan Sailing School from a silent auction at a charity event for the Boys and Girls Club. We finally cashed in on our lessons this past weekend. Ben already has his certification. He took lessons some years ago and sailed quite a bit, but hasn’t sailed these last few years. He was taking the basic sailing lesson as a refresher course. I’ve always wanted to learn how to sail, so I was quite eager to take lessons.

We decided to take the 2-day all day (9 am to 7 pm) sailing course. There were four students total. We learned how to sail J/24, which is a small sailing  boat. We were told that it was the most common vessel for learning how to sail. It was a long weekend. I love being on boats, but I had previously been a passenger. It goes without saying that it’s more work being a part of the crew. We came home exhausted each night from the sun, wind, and sailing.

tillerOur instructor, Jim, was rather laidback. His teaching philosophy was that students were there for sailing, so he tried to give us as much sailing time as possible. He covered the basic parts of the boat and sailing terms. We learned how to rig the boat. Then we went out on the water and started to sail. We all took turns at the manning the tiller and trimming the sails. I found the first day rather stressful because there was a flood of new information and new skills to learn. The second day was easier because more information was absorbed and I felt like I actually got a few things. I enjoyed myself far more on Sunday. Still, I found being on the tiller stressful, especially when we were going fast (for me) and the boat was tilted up in the air at 80 degrees. I know that the laws of physics make it impossible for the J/24 to flip over, but I was got scared. I liked trimming the sails much better.

Ben asked me what was my favorite part of the course. I answered, “When I was sitting and being a passenger.”  He followed up with what was my second favorite part. “Lunch.” Hee, hee.

I’m really happy that I finally got to take sailing lessons. I enjoyed the experience, but I don’t think that I’ll end up being a sailor. I love being on boats and out on the water. So if you own a boat, please feel free to invite me to go out with you. I’ll even trim the sails if you need me to.

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8 thoughts on “Yo, ho! Yo, ho! A Pirate’s Life for Me: Sailing Lessons at Manhattan Sailing School

  1. That looks like fun, although I would prefer being a passenger too. The whole steering concept in boats confuses me, plus right and left are other words in sailing language and I struggle with right and left in English.

    • I finally got starboard (right) and port (left) figured out. What really screwed me over was how if I wanted to go right, I had to move the tiller left and vice versa for turning left. I started out fine, but when I had to start thinking about other things, like shifting to respond to the waves and wind, that fact flew out of my head. Next thing you know, the boat is going in the wrong direction . . .

  2. Very cool! Looks like fun! We have a sailboat charity fundraiser each summer on the lake I run around. It’s so relaxing to ride around on one of those things. Though no matter how many times they explain it to me, I still can’t wrap my head around how it sails INTO the wind.

    • It doesn’t sail directly into the wind, but at a 45 degree angle. The whole explanation involves physics. Apparently the reason why a sailboat can sail into the wind is the same reason why a plane stays aloft in the air. Physics, man, physics.

    • I get seasick too, but luckily it comes in the form of intense drowsiness. I almost fell asleep in the afternoon because I was so sleepy.

      I love the things that Ben and I get to do. We try to find fun and cool things, which isn’t all that hard in NYC. Come up and join us sometime!

  3. I took my first sailing course at Manhattan Sailing School too. The weekend intensive is intense! The ground seemed to be moving even when I was on land. It was fun, but I was happy to get back on land. We sail J/24’s in Newport too. They’re fast and heel really well! But we sail for 3 hours at a time. No more long weekends for me.

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