S/V Wild Haggis

S/V Wild Haggis
Our New Home

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sailing School-aaahhh(or is it aaarrrggghhh?)!

Last week Cameron and I started early Monday morning and hit the classroom. Cameron is running with excitement and I am lagging a bit with nerves. As soon as we get inside and meet Captain Chris, our instructor, those nerves calm and my excitement kicks in. We have a small class; just 2 others. Andre, a young married guy from Charlotte who has crewed on some racing sailboats on Lake Norman, and Mariah, a single gal from Burlington, NC who is an elemementary school principal and closer to my age. A woman after my own heart-Sweet Mama! Both so nice we all soon felt comfortable with each other. I was very grateful. Captain Chris had a great demeanor-calm, confident and enough humor to help us know immediately that we could get through this and learn something. And that we did! Perfect weather all week made for some exciting days on the water. From the first morning we were on the boat-a 24'C&C. Outboard motor and tiller. Very different from our boat with a diesel engine and wheel, but this is the way to learn! We learned the names of all the parts, lines, ropes, knots and sails. We had to put on the sails each time we went out and take them down and fold them up each evening when we were finished. So, Monday afternoon we all had a turn on the tiller(steering, my favorite!) and got used to boat. I even sailed under a bridge! Scary, but fun. Mariah sailed back under and even sailed into our slip! We were sailors! After putting everything away, we all headed to the Tiki Bar for a celebratory beer with Captain Chris(well, Cameron had a celebratory Sprite)! We felt great!

Even with the headache from all the new information trying to find its way in!

Tuesday: Not much time in the classroom and we were on the boat. The four of us were supposed to get her ready. Well, that didn't happen, but we got close. Still need to learn a few knots! Today, Mariah took us out of the slip with the motor revving. Hence her nickname-Captain Turbo! Off we went. We learned how to make the boat change directions, so all day(with a break for lunch) we sailed back and forth and up and down around the Neuse River. This means we were either steering or pulling lines to switch the sails around all day! We even changed a sail in the middle of the river so we could catch more wind. We were working hard, but learning a lot-fast! Cameron sailed us into our slip this day and he was perfect. He really is a natural! If it had not been 'Music Night' at a local restaurant, I would have been in bed at 6:00! My body was screaming, but in a good way!

Wednesday: We spent the morning in the class room learning the names of knots, how to tie them and where to tie them. If you want to feel a little spastic, just try tying a few knots really fast. Oh well, practice, practice practice! Also learned the 'rules of the road'. After all, we were actually going to be taking a written test on Thursday-horror!
In the afternoon, Captain Chris decided to let us feel what sailing was really all about. We actually got the boat all ready, under Cameron's direction , all by ourselves! The wind was blowing steady and we all got to take turns at the helm sailing all the way across the river-back and forth. A little scary, but exhilarating at the same time. A lot of power in our hands and responsibility telling our crew what they needed to do. I think we all did great! And it was fun heeling way over catching the spray in our faces... and chests amd legs...!
After all taking a turn we came back into calmer water to learn how to recover a man overbaord or MOB. The water was really calm and we were lulled into thinking there would be no excitement. Well, we were wrong! I should be learning this......but:-). Mariah, bless her heart, was at the helm going along very nicely when all of a sudden a big puff(we now know that we call it a puff and should always be on the lookout for them)of wind caught our mainsail and tipped us way over. I was on the downside and had surrendered to the fact that I was going in! Cameron felt the same way and apparently our faces told everybody else. Mariah let go of the tiller and proclaimed"I don't want to play anymore" ! Only Chris and Andre remained calm and of course the boat did not tip over and in fact, righted itself when Mariah let go. Chris and Andre were laughing good-naturedly and the rest of us were laughing hysterically! We pretty much were done in. Andre and I took turns and sailed learning basic MOB manuevers, but our nerves were shot.
Mariah felt so bad, but we all learned a lot from that. Please forgive yourself Sweet Mama!
It was my turn to sail into the slip, but I was so shaky Andre volunteered. Once again, he managed as smooth as butter which had earned him the nickname Captain Butter earlier in the week. Thanks Captain Butter!
We put the boat up and promised to meet at a local restaurant to hear Captain Chris play guitar and sing. Did I mention that he, along with a gal named Carrie, is the Wednesday night entertainment for the Silos Restaurant?
We all reconvened for dinner and music and let the day become a memory with great music and company. Thanks Chris!

Thursday: Our last day. The winds were blowing too strongly to sail what was to be our final sail of the class-alone! Chris promised us all a day of sailing in the future. For Cameron and me-a day on our own boat. I think we'll take him up on it!

So, we ended with the written test. Just when I thought I was too old to bubble in answers! We all did just fine and passed our course. Now, we have our own log books and pages to fill before we sleep!

Cameron and I now feel like we have the beginning knowledge to carry us forward on our boat. If the mood strikes, check out The Oriental School of Sailing http://www.sailingschooloriental.com/ . I highly recommend it!

Oh, and as for nicknames...we now know that Captain Chris will also answer to 'Scooter-Boy' and Cameron-Captain Digital and myself-Captain Cleatus. Maybe I'll explain one day.......


  1. Next stop World Wide Marine Training for your captains license... Great job!

  2. That sounds like so much fun - and the music Wednesday night was really great too!

    PS, I found our photos on towndock - we have both April 2 and April 7 (here).

  3. Hi Privette Family!

    This is Christine, from the boat Quisqueya. My parents, brother and I met up with you guys down in Oriental Harbor.

    Just wanted to look up your blog so we can keep in touch!

    Happy Sailing!