Last Christmas, Roma gave me a voucher for a sailing lesson at the Irish National Sailing Club. Yesterday I went along for the Beginner's Level 1 course first day - the course concludes on Monday evening. The course was scheduled to run from 11.30 to 18.00, but it was a bit late starting and finished up far too early (more about this later). We had a beautiful day - lots of sunshine and a nice breeze to learn how to sail. We were kitted out in waterproof gear and buoyancy aid - I was far too hot, though it was a bit cooler out to sea.
We went straight out to the boats, but not until after a long walk down the West Pier. The boat was a 1720 like the one pictured here. My classmates for the day were Carmel, Jason, and Brendan - we were ably instructed by Andrew. The day was all about getting used to sailing and understanding the wind. I had a reasonable knowledge of how to work the wind from last year's lesson in a dinghy. I had plenty of opportunity to work on the ropes for the jib and main sail. I also got an opportunity to man the tiller and to tack into the wind, but not without a little awkwardness at first. It was good fun and we all worked well as a team. We even got to go outside Dún Laoghaire Harbour where there was plenty of waves to increase the fun. We had a break for lunch - even though this was scheduled for a half hour, this took over an hour by the time we got off the boats, ate lunch, and went back out again. Disappointingly we were instructed to finish before 5 o'clock by course director - even our own instructor thought we had more time. While it took a long time to come in tie up, I was on my way and home before 6 o'clock - the time the lesson was supposed to end. While I appreciate that the course schedule would be complete when we were back at the Club House, it did seem very early to be ending.
However, I enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to anyone interested in the sea. The 1720 is a four person boat and a bit big - I'd be interested in something smaller, but bigger than a dinghy. Maybe some day!