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!