"It's not about the journey, it's about the destination."
October 18-19, 2014
For those who are not in the know, modern keelboats are basically any sailboat with a keel as opposed to a centre board that can be withdrawn, thus the keel is fixed.
My brother and I are keen sailors, we were determined to learn how to handle keelboats, so we signed on for a course of instruction. The course, the US Sailing Basic Keelboat class, held at Harbor Island Yacht Club, San Diego, California, was a 2 days (over the week end) intensive running through two eight hour days, tiring but fun! We started at 9am and finished around 5pm on both days.
Staff member, Kim, was very friendly and helpful. She gave us the US Sailing Keelboat manual to study before we started the course, this was immensely helpful as we were briefed in advance, saving time, and familiarising us with the terms and technology involved.
Day 1. We arrived early and checked in with Kim, then we were introduced to Jamie our instructor, there were two other students for the course. We were given a short introductory briefing prior to the days lessons. Then without delay we were introduced to our boat. She was a Capri 22, overall length 24 feet 8 inches, draught being 4 feet — the depth of the keel in the water, her beam — width — 8 feet 2 inches, capable of seating approximately six people. Once on board we were briefed on the layout of the boat and, of course, a thorough safety briefing. Jamie's teaching method was very hands on, each student quickly getting to grips with the necessary handling of the boat. By the end of our first day we had learned how practically to sail the keelboat. Each of us learned docking; motoring into and out of the slips until we were proficient. Strong winds were blowing so we prepared carefully to head out under reefed sail only, immediately we were sailing, practicing jibing and tacking. We took turns on the tiller to get the feel of the pressures meanwhile the others handled the jib; releasing and trimming. We soon got the hang of it, it was a great experience and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, whilst getting a nice tan into the bargain. After the good morning sail, we were hungry and headed under power to Pearson Deli at Shelter Island Drive, where we made short work of large turkey ham sandwiches.
As normal the winds picked up and were stronger after noon making the boat heel over to one side as we sailed close hauled moving faster through the water, an exciting and rewarding experience as we sailed to our home slip. More docking practice completed our first, very full, day of training.
Day 2. We began learning basic types of knot: bowline, figure of eight, square knot, clove hitch etc. Important basic knowledge saving time and trouble later in our sailing careers. We headed out for more sailing, however, the winds had dropped and we crept along until it picked up a little but not enough to allow us to sail with any speed or thrill, but the sun was warm and the day nice. After lunch the wind favoured us, picking up nicely allowing us to move under sail again. We practiced man over board drills, my speciality. We ended the day an hour early to take the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification exam, about 80 questions that were quite straightforward so that all of us passed with good marks. We felt wonderful on passing and receiving our Certification sticker on our Log Books.
We ended the two day course successfully and are proud to become sailors.
November 8-9, 2014
November 14, 2014
Last Sail 2014
November 15, 2014
Our last sail of the season during 2014 was in the lovely San Diego Bay. On a fine day, with favourable winds, we took a Catalina 290 for the day, planning to be out from late morning to sunset.
My brother and I, plus four Nursing colleagues, enjoyed a delightful trip out on the water. We checked the equipment manifest on the boat to make sure all was safe: life jackets, throwable floatation devices, fire extinguishers, flares and horns etc., all were present and correct. Being serious sailors we plan for the worst and hope for the best. Because we had guests aboard we packed food and alcohol, my brother and I stick to non — alcoholic drinks when sailing; ginger ale and water, whereas, we carried a selection of drinks for the ladies: Malibu pineapple rum, wine, vodka, Original Smirnoff Ice, Coronas etc. Plus, we loaded turkey sandwiches from Compass Rose Deli, fresh strawberries, popcorn, and chips.
As we concentrated on exiting Harbor Island slips under power the ladies were able to enjoy the experience and the fine views whilst we took care of the business at hand. With the weather favourable and warm sun on our faces we were set for a beautiful day's sailing. We entered North San Diego Bay, raised the mainsail and jib to cruise under sail toward downtown San Diego. On the approach to downtown we saw seals popping their heads above water, in all it was a delightful experience especially enjoyed by our lovely companions. Once we had docked at Anthony's Fish Grotto we enjoyed a less than exciting meal, the company and the smoothies made the occasion thoroughly enjoyable. After lunch we sailed toward Coronado Bridge, we passed Glorietta Bay, making a note to go there again as it looked a great place to anchor overnight, however, we did not have time to stop there this time. Sailing back close by Coronado Bridge we took photographs
of the group managing to include the Mercy Ship as a back drop. Similarly, we included Coronado Bridge and downtown San Diego in the pictures, the stars of the shoot were, of course, our companions. Due to the time, the sun was low and with it the temperatures dropped, we made headway back to our slip. The return sail was congenial and fun, with drinks and snacks to finish the day we had a great home run taking in the fine evening views as we sailed. Once the light dropped we were able to experience the nightscape of the lights of downtown.
Once we had reached the slip we stayed a while on the boat to continue the pleasure of the day as long as possible.
Tired, but pleasantly so, we called it a day, it was a happy, enjoyable, fun day in pleasant company, a wonderful experience in all.