tackling the learning curve

Eleven consecutive days of sailing in May was exactly what I needed to tackle the learning curve and get a glimpse into my personal capabilities and apptitude. With it I also doubled my sea time and by end of June I plan to triple it. This is it…I’m doing exactly what I need and want to do. The immersion learning plan is progressing nicely. It’s building…the confidence, the knowledge, the skills, the appreciation, the change.

captdThe basics of sailing are deceptively simple; you can learn it in a day. Boat handling…in two or three days. Charts, navigation, mechanics, gear, equipment, knots, etc….demystified with each use. There is no hidden secret or trick, just straight up practical knowledge of how things work and operate with a dash of applied common sense.

It’s the intuition for the sail, wind and water that must take a lifetime to master. Beyond the basics, you can only learn by feel.

 The immersion log:

Day 1—Day sail around the Bay with friends aboard Mitch, a Beneteau 423, 15-20 knot winds
Days 2-7—ASA 101/103 course on the Bay aboard Passion, a Pearson 32 and Tule Wind, a Catalina 30, 10-30 knot winds
Days 8-11—ASA 104 weekend overnighter course on the Bay aboard Coho II, a Sparkman & Stephens 44, 5-25 knot winds

  • Completed ASA re-certification for Basic Keel Boat, Basic Coastal Cruising, and Bareboat Chartering…all of which I had completed years ago but nothing quite like learning in the San Francisco Bay and with a new purpose and attention
  • Learned basics of anchoring, docking, navigation, night sailing, boat maintenance and major systems (engine, plumbing, electrical, instruments)
Things discovered… Still on the agenda…
  • I can do this long-distance cruising thing—maybe not tomorrow but in time enough
  • People—they are more interesting than I have been giving them credit for
  • My hair doesn’t look too bad unwashed
  • I can bear the cold better than I assumed—with the right clothing and a little distraction
  • I will likely be a deliberative sailor (in as much as weather would allow) and definitely a tidy boat keeper
  • I like plotting on charts—quite the throwback to middle school algebra and geometry classes
  • I can be social
  • I can get comfortable on a boat
  • My nose burns first and most
  • Not a big fan of wearing hats while sailing
  • Read and intuit the weather, the water, the wind, the clouds, the tides…
  • Accept wearing socks
  • Swim with confidence
  • Repair a diesel engine
  • Tie knots without thinking
  • Balance with more grace
  • Smoke less
  • Develop a perception of distance
  • Spanish
  • Consume less, manage finite supplies and space…battery power, fuel, water,  food
  • CPR
  • Celestial navigation
  • Use a sexton
  • Explore feasibility and reliability of electric engine as an emerging alternative to diesel power—could build a self-sustaining system

 Up next…

  • mesailExtending my ASA certifications and training with  Coastal Navigation (105) and Advanced Coastal Cruising (106) on a 7-day/6-night Heavy Weather Offshore course, likely to cruise to Farallon Islands, Half Moon Bay and Monterey
    Open ocean, swells, heavy weather, wind, new territory…here I come
  • 2x week adult swimming lessons for the next 2 months
  • 1-day class on basics of wiring and electrical systems
  • Continuing the boat search…
  • More time on the water any chance I can get to prepare for a next and major personal milestone of skippering a charter day sail


songs“I took what I learned from rock ‘n roll…” — Al Green