The Laser Won

Last Sunday was class two of the “Next Steps” sailing class, aka Adult Dinghy level 2.   I was one of 3 people selected for the Lasers.  I hadn’t sailed in a boat alone since my first sailing experience in the Opti for parent’s class over a decade ago.  I’m not ashamed to admit, it’s a little scary. But, after a few minutes, I relax and enjoy sailing back and forth across the lake.    The wind was light.  So our instructor said it would be a good day to learn what to do when you tip over.  So I dutifully headed to the cove to tip my boat, thinking, this won’t take long.  We had tipped over the FJ in my previous class. I was sailing with a volunteer trainer.  He tilted the boat towards me, and I just rolled in.  No problem.  How hard could it me?

So, I stood at the mast and leaned over, soon the boat had toppled over me.  No problem.  I was prepared for this as I had tightened my shoes and gripped toes really hard. At some point my visor had fallen off. But I saw it floating not far from the boat and committed the sin losing touch of the boat to get it.  I put it over my head. Grabbed the boat and all was well. Turns out, I lost my sunglasses and my bottle of water, too. But, i didn’t realize that until the drive home.

So now after all of the reading, videos watching, and instruction, I easily righted the boat. I was quite proud that it didn’t  seem much work.  Certainly three days a week at the Y were paying off. Then came time to crawl back in. I’ll just pull up and throw my legs over. Brilliant. and flip. Wait what?  I’ve got to do this again?  OK.  ok.  And right the boat. And pull up and flip.  …and right the boat….breath….pause, pull up….it’s getting harder, and flip.  again. ….My instructor yells out, “Go to the other side and stand on the shore.  What?  I’ve moved all the way across the cove.  Now, I’m pulling the sail off the shore, righting the boat.  At some point, the instructor told me to push my feet up against the side as I pull the center board down.  And we’re up….and we’re flipped.  And my arms don’t want to move anymore.  How many times has this happened.  I don’t remember.  But, there’s the dock..100 yards?  I’m gonna move it over to the dock….get in from the dock.  Wow, I’m finally using that rescue stroke I learned as a lifeguard 35 years ago.  Now I’m at the dock, but I can’t get up.  Oh and the boat is pushing me under the dock.  Am I going to die?  Ok now, I’m just moving my boat back to where it belongs.  If nothing else, maybe somebody will just come help me get it back in and I’ll be done for the day.   Sigh….the wind is now pushing the sail towards the dock and I’m able to get in.  Huzzah.  I’m in.  Straighten the tiller. Engage the sail. and nothing.  What happened to the wind!?  adjust here, adjust there. still sitting, right by the dock…right by the empty spot waiting for the Laser.  Oh Laser, are you done with me today?  I guess, I’ll practice getting the boat up and de-rigging all by myself.  That will be a good learning experience.  I’ll get you next week Laser.  I’ll get you next week.  In the debriefing my instructor mentioned I’d probably gotten the main sheet caught on the bow keeping the sail engaged.  But ya’ll probably already knew that.  That’s ok. I’m going to watch that tipping video again before class next Sunday.