Due to popular and some would
say, inexplicable demand, I've decided to address the many requests
to share the great amount of sailing knowledge I have accrued
over my many months and dozens of miles sailed. Now since I recognise
the fact that there may be one or even two (million) more experienced
sailors on the coast this lesson is directed at those poor souls
who believe they can benefit from my vast experience. Even you
more expert sailors should read this to sharpen and enhance your
already broad knowledge. To avoid confusion amongst you beginning
sailors, I will try to avoid all those confusing nautical terms.
I assure you I know them all
but as a courtesy to beginners
I'll put them in quotes.
WHERE TO START:
(1) Get a boat. The boat should have a
stick in the middle somewhere unless it has more than one stick
in which case they should be lined up in a row. Everyone knows
the more sticks the better but usually only one is affordable.
On these sticks one should have rags of clothe called 'sails.'
MOST IMPORTANT! Get a boat with a motor! Everyone who 'sails'
knows that is the most important part of the boat. Also a hot
tip, be sure the boat has 'fuel' for the 'motor.'
(2) Essential accessories; the boat must
have a 'fridge' or at least an 'esky.' Cold drinks are no mere
luxury but a required part of your 'navigation system.' (I'll
explain later) You may also need 'food.' This is not too tricky.
You may just go through the market and pick up tins that strike
your fancy. My favourite are the 'red' ones. If colour coded
provisioning isn't to your standard then you should get
A 'FIRST MATE.' The value of this accessory is a matter of some
contention amongst us sailors but the virtue of having someone
on the boat to order around should not be undervalued. (lift
that barge, tote that bale etc etc) First mates normally look
after the 'food' and many other things. In my opinion they are
(3) Other accessories: Liability Insurance
is not a bad idea depending on the location of your boat. If
you are in a crowded 'marina' surrounded by expensive boats with
people (witness's) around most of the time then you should have
insurance. When I manoeuvre around a marina I often get asked
if I have insurance (don't know why!) and I've found it best
to answer 'no' even if ya do, as it seems to make other's remarkably
helpful. Since word has gotten around, whenever I come into the
marina there is an army of willing hands to guide me into 'the
birth.' It's great to have so many good friends!
open a beer, then untie all the lines holding the
boat to the 'jetty' or better yet, this is an opportunity to
order around the 'first mate.' Now start the motor and engage
in a backward gear straight away as by now you have probably
drifted near or are already 'alongside' another boat. (See above;
other accessories) Remember to keep the open beer in the right
hand whist all this is going on, as a dumb smile and a raised
beer can/stubby is the universally accepted explanation for all
errors in 'navigation.' By now you have probably made your way
out of the marina with lots of help from friendly neighbours
raising their hands in a salute or something like that. If you
have really impressed, you may be honoured with many shouted
nautical terms in addition to the salutes. I admit there are
still some even I don't know but they mostly seem to have a rectal
reference, eg; arse this or that.
By the time you are done with your
first beer you should be out where the wind is so you can begin
to 'sail.' First stand by the mast and put your finger in the
air to test the wind direction. Find out which is the side of
the stick the wind is coming from and going to. Next find the
rope that fastens to the top of the sail. When done with that
open another beer and yell for the 'first mate' to come up from
the food place and haul up the sail while you 'steer.' Be sure
to tell the 'first mate' to stand on the side of the 'stick'
where the wind is 'going to.' If the first mate seems to have
trouble hauling up the sail with the rope you can then criticise
the first mate for her lack of 'seamanship' and thus establish
your own position as 'skipper.' Be sure to retrieve the 'first
mate' from the water, where you will find her after the sail
fills and knocks her off the 'deck.' This might be a good time
to reassess which side of the 'stick' you instruct the 'first
mate' to stand on when pulling up the sail.
Since by now you are aware of the proper technique for performance
sailing (about 2000 revs on the motor) you will have arrived
at the 'anchorage' just in time for beer #3. To find the best
spot in the 'anchorage' look for the other boats. Find the two
closest together and go between them. Be sure to raise your beer
in salute and announce that you have no insurance to bring out
the best in your new neighbours. While this seems to have a dramatic
effect on new, shiny plastic boats, especially 'catamarans,'
you will find large steel boats react very little. Often raising
their own beer in salute while saying, your funeral.
Your first mates facial colour should now be restored and thus
she should be ready to assist 'setting' the anchor. After showing
your 'first mate' how to 'drop' the anchor but before telling
her how to 'secure' the thing, order her to 'hold tight' while
you 'set' the anchor. A few moments at full throttle in reverse
should do. After retrieving your 'first mate' from the water
again, there are several things to remember, One; the location
of the 'first aid kit' as the 'bow roller' and 'pullpit' are
a tight fit for a first mate when clinging to a chain. Two; this
is a good time to clear the boat of any potentially lethal objects,
knives, guns, broken bottles etc. Three; hide all life jackets
as after the first day sailing is when first mates are most prone
to 'jump ship.' Because of your first mate's lack of 'seamanship,'
you now have a lot of chain out and you are very close to one
of your neighbours, usually the shiniest one. Even though you
have 'stowed' the 'pfd's' and the mate has had enough swimming
for the day, if you are close enough for her to step aboard another
boat she may consider a drooling pirate rapist preferable to
your company and flee. No problem, simply bring in most of the
chain. If your 'depth sounder' says 10 metres then 11 metres
of chain is perfect. One last job is to pull out the $9.95 solar
garden light and fasten to something with a 'zip tie.' This is
the traditional 'anchor light.'
Congratulations!! You have done your
first 'sail' and now have many new friends and adventures waiting
for you. With a firm grasp of the fundamentals learned the first
day there really isn't much more to learn. Fair Winds!!