Friday, October 8, 2010

Free Racing Sail Boat Lessons

I went out on the Pier of Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis and Werner saw me approaching and called out my name as he recognised me from yesterday. We had both just arrived so I helped Werner set up the sail boat that I had learned to sail on yesterday.

We put the sail up and took her out for a spin, I dropped Werner at another boat, and after doing so I was going solo when I got into some shallow water. I got stuck and the keel ran aground, there was hardly any wind, so to get out of this situation I tried paddling with the oar. This didn’t get me anywhere so with Werner’s directions, I threw out the anchor as far as I could in the direction I wanted to go. Once it hooked onto the bottom, I pulled the boat towards the anchor and got the boat free, and I was off again! I did a solo lap for a good half an hour and then came back and docked.

Me throwing the anchor - Photo: Werner Meybaum
We picked up some people on the dock and took them on their sail boat ride, giving everyone a go at being skipper and steering the boat.

Then we dropped them off and I and Werner went out on a racing boat. This boat was a quarter of the weight at 500lbs and had double the sail of the sailing boat I learned in, so let’s just say it was a lot faster! It was also a bit scary as it tipped a lot more, and capsized very easily. Werner said he capsized it twice on his first afternoon in it, and I can see why!

We take it steady and Werner teaches me how to sail it, then he lets me take the rudder and after a few more minutes gives me full control. He sits at the front and gives me directions as I learn how to sail this racing boat. The boom was a lot lower, so I had to duck under it every time we “came about” (turned around.) I was also learning the lingo at the same time, I felt like a proper sailor now, and oh what a joy it is to sail a racing boat on a gorgeous sunny day. The only thing better than this is doing it solo!

Me Sailing the Scow - Photo: Mei May
I learned how to dock watching Werner guide us in, which was considerably harder than the other sail boat, as sail boats don’t have breaks like a car, and being a racing boat, it was a lot faster and harder to stop.

After a short break, Werner let me take out the “scow”, racing boat solo! I sailed near Werner in the other sail boat with the Chinese girls and a family with two girls he had picked up. He got some great pictures of me showing off my newly learned skills in the race boat. 

He told me not to dock until he got back, but as the wind slowed right down, I took the liberty of giving it a try. I docked perfectly in this calm still air, and Werner then congratulated me on the great job I had done.

Werner said he had been doing free sailing lessons here for four years, and nobody had done that before! No one has come one day and learned to sail, gone solo and then the next day gone in the race boat and been able to do it solo the same day, let alone park it with style! My ego was now hugely inflated and I left after thanking Werner profusely for his great teaching and the wonderful experience and promised to write about it for him to use on his blog.

I have now discovered the sailor in me and hope that you can one day discover the sailor in you as well if you stop by Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis in the summertime.

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