Saturday, October 16, 2010

Skipper John



I'm bragging again.  This is a picture of my wife Annie at the helm, and my friend  Elizabeth working the main.  I'm the skipper.  I get to sit back and tell every one what to do.  It's kind of fantastic.  All I have to do is make sure everyone has fun and no one gets hurt.  I'm also supposed to help others get more experience so that they will be able to advance to skipper quickly.
This spring I took a basic sailing class.  It was two half days on the water in a 27 foot Soling and several hours of classroom time.  I read the book basic keelboat  twice including the glossary and mastered all the knots listed in it.  I passed the class as I expected.  What surprised me was passing the skipper test.  I had never tacked a boat in my life outside of my beginners class and my skipper test.   I'm told passing with this little experience is exceptional.
This is kind of great for my ego.  The idea that I can learn so much out of a book makes me feel as if anything is possible.  Of course I acknowledge the importance of experience and was very careful to start out slowly, in good weather and to do a lot of drills.  I would and still sometimes do carry around a short line to practice knots with.  I've gotten to where can tie a bowline with my eyes closed, behind my back, with just my non-dominant hand.  Teaching others how to glide two thousand pounds of fiberglass through the water and the wind is fun.  I am also finding some truth to saying "teaching is the surest way to mastery".  
I still have a long way to go, but already I have been out in weather so strong that I had to bail a little while underway.  Usually it is peaceful enough and the view of the city is so much better on the water than from the bottom of it's concrete canyons.  
It is a good life.  Thank you.

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