Sailing the breeze

I am just back from 3 days sailing around the Isle of Wight and am feeling deliciously exhausted with a salty crust coating. A chance for a few days big boat sailing just to remind myself how to sail as part of a crew.

Just recently I have had a few ‘rabbit-in-headlight’ moments when my sense of self-belief has wobbled … after all it was only last summer when I did this for the first time. But hang on there girl – I’m good at executing orders, I can sweat halyards (pull ropes to get sails hoisted), know my VMT from my TMV (the prep for getting the mainsail up), tail ropes (make sure they run freely through the winches – although if you are a real sailor you don’t call them ropes(!)), and this time round I even got to call an evolution (getting the mainsail up) although I needed serious coaching from the 1st mate and have no plans for putting myself forward as watch leader for real on the race, and helming – I can do this! I can even mix it with the nautical terms these days (although only learners’ slang) – all that terminology in Swallows & Amazons is at last beginning to make sense.

The weekend dished-up some decent weather for sailing too. Saturday presented us with an easterly Force 5 – a sufficiently stiff breeze that there was some exciting sailing to be had. In our case beating up wind to allowed us a good run back with the ‘kite’ hoisted (the spinnaker up). The kite bit was great, but for me the beating not so. What is it with seasickness? To date I have a 100% record of up-wind sailing and feeling wretched. Although it should be added that the sunlight reflecting on the surface of the spinnaker would make a fantastic study in colours of blue.

Sailing is great for leaving you feeling completely knackered – no other sport (or at least none that I do) leaves me in such a state of total exhaustion. Standing on the foredeck as we returned to Gosport marina it occurred to me that the quality of the weekend just experienced far out-striped anything to be had should I have stayed at the house … and this is just a taster of adventures to come.


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