Raising the Sails
As we left the dock, we motored out of the area with the cold air blowing against our faces and seals popping their heads out of the water to greet us. With rows of marinas to our starboard (right) and moorings to our port (left), we actually had quite a ways to go. The Skipper pointed out a buoy way out in the distance and directed the first of us at the helm to head to it. Finally we were on the move, and I was feeling alive!
As we cleared the last of the remaining boats and found ourselves out in open water, the Skipper began to direct us to raise the sails. I was given the job of cranking, with the winch, the line that pulled the main sail up the mast.
The winch is this cylindrical contraption on the boat that holds lines around it, and you can pull to tighten lines or use a winch handle that fits into the top of the winch to essentially crank the lines tighter.
With the winch handle, I cranked and cranked until the Skipper was satisfied. He then taught me how to secure the line around the winch so the line wouldn’t release. All in all, it took several minutes and was quite the arm and shoulder workout.
During the time that I was cranking up the sail, I had not noticed that my side of the boat had risen into the sky. I was so focused on the task at hand that the effort needed to raise the main sail had shadowed the boats heeling from my attention.
When I finished raising the main sail, I took a moment to take it all in. In that moment, the Skipper turned off the motor, and the world turned quiet. We were on the move with nothing but the sounds of water splashing against the hull, and it was beautiful.
This was one of those moments I had been waiting for. I felt the excitement of our boat heeled over to one side as we rolled over the water. I looked up at the sail, amazed that this sheet of material I just worked to raise had caught the wind, and now, with the cold air blowing with us, was pulling us through the bay.
With the boat moving with the power of the wind blowing upon our main sail, it was time to raise the jib. Since I was on the windward side of the boat, there wasn’t much for me to do, except to make sure my side’s jibsheet stayed orderly and out of the way. As the jib uncoiled and caught the wind, the guy on the leeward side of the boat, pulled, tightened and cranked his jibsheet until the Skipper was satisfied.
When he finished, it appeared as though we were moving much faster and heeling a bit more aggressively. And what a rush it was to finally have the sails up!
A Quick “Writers” Reflection
It’s actually been really difficult to write subsequent parts to “My First Sail!” Originally, I had envisioned this to be a 2-part story, but the more and more I thought about how to write the second part, the more disinterested in writing it I became. The reason being is that the sailing experience that day doesn’t lead to much story telling. We essentially were on that boat for hours, practicing maneuvers, talking and basically just enjoying the day on the boat.
In Part 1, I really tried to tell a story, especially since I was having interesting emotional experiences I wanted to write about. Therefore, I wanted this second part to be the second half of this story, but this won’t be the case. Instead, I became more motivated to write when I thought about the experience in terms of moments, essentially breaking up the whole sailing experience into several pieces rather than forcing one cohesive story out of it. With that, this post will be the second of several posts.