Sail Your Telltales! Page 2 - Sail Magazine

Sail Your Telltales! Page 2

I know how to sail, right? At least I thought I did. I mean, I have a copy of Sailing for Dummies in my office, and I have worked at SAIL for 3 years, for Pete’s sake, so I know how to sail, right? That, at least, was my thinking going into a 10-day sailing course with my dad at the Offshore Sailing School. I couldn’t have been more wrong.We arrived at the Mansion House bed-and-breakfast
Author:
Publish date:
SAIP-100300-FEschool-09

Following the three-day Fast Track portion of the program, it was time to move out of the Mansion House and onto Offshore Sailing School’s brand new Hunter 49 for the seven-day liveaboard part of the course. This was by far the largest boat I had ever been on, and I was looking forward to sailing it. The boat was immaculate, and the Offshore staff had stocked it with all provisions we needed. Oh, and it had air-conditioning. There were four of us onboard: Mike from Offshore, Dad, a return Offshore student named Craig Econopouly and me.

While docked, Mike showed us how to check the oil and clean the pumps, all of which we were going to have to do every morning before we got underway. After the briefing, Mike motored us out into Tampa bay and turned the wheel over to me as he attended to the sails. “You’re sailing a 50-footer!” Mike said, and I thought to myself that I could get used to this, as I tacked the boat by simply turning the wheel—no more jumping from one side of the boat to the other or ducking under the boom. The feel wasn’t the same as the Colgate 26, but the dual helm stations allowed us to place ourselves in the most comfortable position possible.

SAIP-100300-FEschool-10

We anchored for the night against the backdrop of the St. Pete skyline, and as soon as the anchor was set we cranked up the AC. I don’t think I could have made it through the trip without it. The next morning Dad decided to cut his trip short. His knees were bothering him and because we were right by the city it was a good place to get off the boat, so we dropped him off at the dock. After topping off our fuel tanks and waving goodbye to him, we headed southwest toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Craig and I took turns at the helm, sailing in 10-20 knots of wind to the Manatee River where we anchored in a small cove near its mouth to go swimming and take the dinghy to the beach. Mike's morning lectures continued throughout the week, focusing on things like navigation, tides, anchor techniques and tying knots. Every day we learned more and more. We did a lot of motoring down the Intracoastal Waterway near Longboat Key, which I found nerve-wracking because of the moving sandbars. I constantly had one eye on the chartplotter screen and another on the water looking for shallows.

SAIP-100300-FEschool-16

We spent a couple of days near LongBoat Key before we headed back to St. Pete. By this time I was feeling much more confident as we sailed toward Offshore’s marina. Although there is much more to learn, I now feel comfortable enough to take a boat out on my own. I’ve also had my first taste of cruising, and I can’t wait to get back out on the water. And, of course, I’ll never forget Mike’s sage advice: “Sail your telltales!”

Related

USCGReadyForRescue_Identifier_FullColor

USCG Ready for Rescue Challenge

The U.S. Coast Guard is now collaborating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on something it calls the “Ready for Rescue,” a $255,000 prize competition that is looking for ways that will make it easier to locate people, MOB victims in particular, in the water.The ...read more

04-CLR1718md1085-jpg

A Historic Win for Wendy Tuck

This past summer Australian sailor, Wendy Tuck (inset), became the first woman to win a round-the-world yacht race when she and her crew aboard Sanya Serenity Coast claimed the overall victory in the 2017-18 Clipper Race. “I am just so happy,” Tuck said at the finish in ...read more

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more