Sailing… and the unexpected….

I finally finished my 3 day course in ASA 101 and feel like I learned a new language. I am now able to tie a knot, learn to jibe, tack and realized just how much the sea is at one with a boat. OK, the the course I went through was a 101 for a 20-25 footer boat and my boyfriend has a boat triple that size, but still, knowing that I can handle certain knots, raise lines, and help out on deck was a HUGE deal. Now I can somewhat proudly say that I can help on a sail boat, versus sit there and look dumb as everyone scrambles around me and gets the real work done.

Tomorrow’s task will be to wax the boat. After all of the black and blues I got from last week-end just picking up logs and branches, I fear for the worst. I hear waxing is a painstaking, elbow jerking activity…. and although my better half could easily find someone to do it for him for a cost, we spend the time to do it ourselves. In that way, I feel one with the sea.

An Alden 52 is no joke. This boat is massive and when I realize what I am getting into, I wonder if I can handle the job.  Sometimes I wish golf was just the hobby… so much easier to handle and navigate!

Spring is finally here in New England and it feels like a breath of fresh air. So much to do, so little time. I’m joining a 100 mile bike race  end of September (not having a road bike mind you) and looking to buy one tomorrow. This should be an interesting experience : especially when your other half says he needs your ring finger size to determine which bike to use…. hmmmm…. something sounds out of whack to me. Girls, whaddya think?

Either way, this season sounds promising. So much fun outside, riding bikes, sailing along the coastline, learning new hobbies and meeting new people. It’s like I have waited 38 years for this to happen and it’s finally coming into place. Like a puzzle I am finally figuring out which part fits what. Which makes me want to say to any woman out there : be strong, resilient, live your life independently and never trust a man to make your destiny. If he is right for you, the time will come. It took me a long time to get here but I think I’m at that tipping point (Gladwell’s book — thank you for the reference).

Time to pack up and make it to our “home”. One day I may be able to take those quotation marks out of the sentence. Either way, I’ve had a ball getting here.

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Boats, Sailing and the Big Blue Ocean

So, here I am, on my first of 3 days of ASA certification towards becoming a sailor in the American Sailing Association 101 class.

To those unfamiliar with boating terms, it’s like learning an entirely new language. Rigs, Bows, Starboard, Leeward, Masts, Booms …… and tons and tons of knots. I feel like I am in kindergarden again, learning to tie my shoes again, but this time in the most complicated manner possible. It’s like one of those Chinese riddles… everytime you think you get it right, one loop is out of whack and your instructor looks at you like you have 3 heads and a bad attitude. Add to that my own personal sarcasm (let’s JIVE versus Jibe) and all hell breaks loose. But what the heck, it was a gorgeous day on the bay, and we had a blast.

Being in the Ocean State is what it’s all about. I’ve spent 8 years here never knowing the pleasure of sailing. Motor boats were the coolest thing in my mind, until I realized that it takes little to no skill to own one. Sailing on the other hand, is being alert at all times, checking for wind direction, other boats, waves, directions…. and this incredible silence with the waves drifting against the boat as you maneuver through the ocean. You learn to spot the things you never even though of : how the flags sail, the signals on the water, the smell of the ocean, the calmness that surrounds you.

It’s surreal. I have always known I had to live in a place near the ocean. Not a lake, not a sea…. but a vibrant ocean that sucks you in and reminds you that you are a tiny dot on the map of life and that you cannot conquer her : she will conquer you if you’re not attentive.

Besides almost getting hit by the boom a dozen times on this 20 footer, the experience was mind boggling. It just felt right. I hear sailors are born sailors. Somewhere, I lost my calling and should have done this ages ago. When I look back on where I have lived, I realize I was never happier than when the ocean greeted me from afar, whether I went to the beach, sailed or not. It’s alive and calls to me like no other element has. The water soothes, but it bewitches.

I think I’m hooked. Hooked, line and sinker.

Day 2 tomorrow – stay tuned for more action!