Last evening I completed Irish Sailing Association/Royal Yachting Association Level 1 course at the Irish National Sailing Club in Dún Laoghaire Harbour. Even though this is but one small step up the sailing ladder, I feel a sense of achievement at having completed the course. I got a Level 1 - Start Sailing certificate to show I had successfully completed the course. The certificate is awarded by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and it means that I can now progress onto Level 2 (Competent Crew course). I thought about doing this straightaway, but I will now wait until the Spring instead - I have the impetus now to keep going. I'm setting a personal target of being able to sail properly by the summer, and possibly buy a boat.
We used a Laser Pico dinghy (like the one pictured, but not me sailing it) this time instead of the Topper used last Saturday. It was slighlty bigger (12') and much easier to handle. We were towed out to a pontoon in the harbour where we had to rig the boat. Not having rigged a Pico before, and being slightly different from the Topper, I was very awkward getting it together - I needed help from one of the instructors. Once I got going I felt comfortable, though I was still a bit stiff after Saturday's efforts. We sailed around a short course that helped us practice what we had learned before. There were 13 people in the class and the short course got a bit crowded at times. I was proud of myself this time in that I didn't fall in, but there was plenty of bad tacking/jibing, and a few bangs on the head from the boom to remind me that I was not yet a round the world sailor!
Darkness decended very quickly and the class ended at about 8.00pm. We were towed back to the slip where I was the last of the 13 boats to get out of the water. In all, we had just about one hour's worth of sailing (advertised class - 6.30-9.30) - a bit short, but rewarding for me nonetheless. I'm looking forward to the next class and sailing again next year.
My only regret is that I have waited 48 years to learn how to sail - I should have done this a long time ago. But it is never to late to start (I was not the oldest person in the class last evening!).