Dreaming of the Ocean....

Escape from the Cube Farm...

Thanksgiving Day, 2016

I can't sleep. My nerves are standing on end. I'm in a hotel in St.Augustine, Florida, waiting for my new life to begin. It's like a mixture of "Santa Claus is Coming" excitement and "The final exam that I'm not sure I studied enough for is tomorrow" dread.

Robert and I have quizzed and requizzed ourselves. I have read and re- read the 1st two sailing manuals thoroughly. I'm ready. Except for the knot tying, I'm ready.

We chose to go through the ASA certification classes, even though, many books and blogs say it's unnecessary. We know it will set back our sailboat purchase simply by nature of it's expense. But a certain set of lingering doubts and worries will be either cleared away, or doubly reinforced, by the next five days on the water with my husband.

So, here we are, not our usual Key West Thanksgiving break, but in St Augustine, Florida, awaiting the beginning of a New Adventure...the Next Big Thing...Escape from the Cube Farm. We have both done a minimal amount of sailing, and we both loved every second of it. But when Robert first started talking about the You Tube adventures he had been watching, I just thought it was a fleeting fancy. I listened, and nodded, and thought, well someday we could do that..But he was caught up in Riley and Elayna's world....Wicked Salty, La Vagabond, Sailing Nervous is another favorite...he was hooked ....and I suddenly realized that this was chapter two of "You Can't take it with you"...the next big thing..

Next thing you know, we are talking about it...REALLY talking about it....

You can blog! He says...and sure ....I can...love to, but video Blog? That's going to be a learning curve....

Next thing you know, we are at a boat show, we have signed up for the classes, we have committed the time and the money and set the date...

So, here we go....

 ASA classes: what you can expect, and not expect..We took Basic, Cruising, and Bareboat all at once. It saves money and time. But some time was wasted on redundancy, as most new sailors probably do not take them at once, and so a lot of material was repeated

You MUST study beforehand. Your instructor will prepare you for the exams, but they are not fooling around. When you begin the first manual, you will be assaulted with a foreign language. Stick with it. By book two you will understand and speak the language you are reading, and it gets easier.

You will spend more time docking, manuevering in and out of the marina, and taking the exams than you will actually sailing, but this is very necessary. There are million dollar yachts in marinas, and it will ruin everyone's day if you dont know how to manuever your vessel safely amoungst them without hitting anything. You will repeat all the basic skills until the Instructor is satisfied that you can execute them.

Sailing is hard work. Your muscles will hurt in places you didnt know you had muscles. If you have been sitting at a desk for years, expect to hurt. My eyelashes hurt. On day 4, I wanted to cry from pain, but guess what? I was STILL SUPER EXCITED to get on that boat. If you don't think being out on the water under sail is heaven...you may want to rethink, because there is nothing easy about this.

Even if you think you dont get seasick, prepare for it.

Your instructor wants you to pass, and leave the classes a safe and knowledgeable sailor. Let them know what you are struggling with so they can help you. I had a particular problem with proper sea worthy knot tying. A couple hours of one on one instruction, I was good to go! I'd like to thank our instructor, Chuck Points, and Roseanne Points, for the knot tying lesson. Both of these individuals did an outstanding job, with patience and obvious love of what they do...We want to grow up to be just like you guys!

Its amazing when a Captain of many years experience still gets excited about the jumping dolphins...and that's what this is all about, because it IS amazing. Like the sunshine glistening on the water, like the smell, and the sound, and the taste of the ocean I love, like the thrill of the wind filling the sails and the surge of the ship taking on a life of its own. 

After school, put your newly acquired skills to use as soon as possible. As an ASA certified sailor, you can charter boats to practise with. You can crew for others, or get your own boat, but the main thing is...

GET OUT THERE!

*My knowledge is already feeling rusty  two months later, and I am so glad next weekend we will be able to sail our very own vessel, S/V NeverLand...

But thats a story for another day...

 

 

 

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PAULA ALLISON