Sailors who participate in our training courses soon begin to realize that there is more to yachting than idyllic sunsets and sundowners in tropical lagoons. Real cruising sailors must be prepared to get their hands dirty poking around in the bilges and engine room to find the source of a problem. Sailors get wet and cold while trying to manage the boat and maintain a proper look out during a windy midnight squall. In rough weather, when the static charge of nearby lightning has hair on end, many offshore crew may ask him/herself what they were thinking about when they made the choice to sell the farm and head to sea.
The novice sailor’s romantic image of worry free offshore miles is soon replaced with a more solid understanding: live aboard sailing is hard work and not always that much fun. Over the years I have, on more than one occasion, had cause to wonder if the yacht would survive to see another sunrise and I have prayed the sailors prayer- “Oh Lord, allow me to reach land just this one more time and I will never return to the sea”.
So far that prayer seems to have worked, but I have been unable to hold up my end of the bargain. I can’t. As uncomfortable, frightened and discouraged as I may have been while sailing the lonely and wild oceans, the rewards of offshore sailing have been equally uplifting and empowering. A sense of working with wind and wave to put power in the sail and miles under the keel; the pleasure of selecting and researching new exotic destinations; the thrill of seeing that island landfall, after 10 days at sea, slowly appear over the horizon. The fulfillment of solving the problems of the day and the rush of relief as the full moon breaks through the cloud cover, confirming your position is safely clear of a dangerous navigational hazard.
At the SailQuest Sailing School Center we want our students to understand that it is not always smooth sailing and like many other worthwhile endeavors, there is often a price to pay if the pleasures of the activity are to be realized. By discussing and demonstrating what can go wrong; by emphasizing self reliance; by teaching students to think as an active, responsible crew member we put one of the most critical aspects of cruising under power or sail within reach of anyone who applies themselves – the ability to rise to the challenges that the ocean and yachting in general can present.
If you are serious about learning to sail now is the time enroll in SailQuest Sailing School’s monthly IYT certificate courses and take the opportunity to participate in our other join-in sailing opportunities. Sea time and miles logged by join-in crew members during our Cambodia Voyage 2010, later this month, will be the real thing. Offshore day and night sailing, uninhabited, remote tropical island landfalls and an exciting port of call in Sihanookville. We are sure to have a fantastic journey and will be well prepared for the trip but we are also looking forward to the challenge of the unexpected, for it is in rising to a new or unforeseen challenge that we really grow as sailors and we gain the one thing for which there is no substitute – first hand experience.
These are typically great months to attend sailing school courses here in the Gulf of Thailand with the chance of lively weather to keep the crew on their toes. Students learn value lessons while sailing in often squally conditions, limited visibility and gusty winds. Hands on practice in heavy weather while sailing with qualified instructors is a guaranteed confidence booster.
Please contact me directly for more info about our upcoming sailing courses and events. Request a copy of our e-brochure which includes current course schedule and pricing. I hope you will be able to join us.
See you out on the water.