Sailing Lessons, Take Two (May 2014)

In April, when Matt and I realized we couldn’t get further south, we mapped out alternative plans and talked about the importance of increasing my sailing skills. Fear raised its ugly head again. I confessed to Matt I was scared that I would go through all of the classes and training and that we would sail a lot and he still wouldn’t think I was very competent. I expected a comforting arm around my shoulder from him, in his various roles as my husband, cheerleader and confidante, saying, “Oh, hon … don’t worry. You’ll be great once you’ve taken a few classes.” What I got instead was a long, hard look as he stonily intoned, “I’m quite aware that is a very real possibility.” I occasionally and conveniently forget about his other role in my life as no-holds-barred truth teller. I approach my second formal sailing class on May 12-13 (after the abysmal first one) with some trepidation.

At the end of the first day, I’m on a high. I love the smaller boat and being able to feel how it handles immediately. The instructor (Sterling) at the Charleston Sailing School is great, patient and hands-off. At the end of the day I tell Matt I want a smaller boat. On the second day, after reviewing the ‘rules of the road’ and safety issues, we have a 100-question certification test. Sterling says I set a new bar with scoring 100%. Sadly, I admit to him that there is no correlation between being book smart and having common sense (recall the bear incident). By the end of the second day, I am toast. The instructor saves the challenging ‘man overboard’ drills for the end of the day (about 2 hours after I’m ready to call it quits). After he throws the life preserver (simulating a person) out of the boat for the 6th time, what I want to ask is, “Do we really care enough about this person to actually save them or can we just head back to the dock?”