It’s true, I bought a sailboat without actually knowing how to sail.
When my sailing 101 class of nine students went around giving introductions, my instructor paused after learning I owned a boat.
“Wait a minute, so you bought the boat, but don’t know how to sail? Well, we all know who we are becoming friends with during this course!” said instructor Jordy.
Ten months after buying Oswin, I signed up for a sailing course that lasted two days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I learned the rules of the water, how to control a sailboat’s speed and course, and how to safely come about going upwind.
I walked away from that course knowing new terms like, “coming about” and “beam reach” but more importantly, I earned a sense of confidence.
Before the class, I was intimidated by Oswin. I had absolutely no prior knowledge of sailing and this boat contained all of my life possessions. If it sank, my whole lifestyle would, too.
I had many nightmares where Oswin would sink in the marina slip. I would have to yank the boat by the bow, up to the surface, to save everything inside. Obviously not possible outside of dream-world, but I woke up terrified.
I actually let down Oswin’s sails once before the class with Rory, Paul and Kelsey on the Puget. Right after I put the Oswin decal on the stern of the boat, I knew I needed to let down her sails to signify the start of a new adventure.
Although fun, I still didn’t quite understand what I was doing.
Letting her sails down after my 101 course was an awakening experience. Sailing knowledge came pouring out of me and I realized how independent and powerful I had become.
I was in control of a 28 ft. vessel, steering with a teak wood tiller (looks like a wooden pole) and using the wind to push us along. The best part about turning off the engine and using the wind: Silence.
Hearing nothing but the waves brushing Oswin, I felt connected to my surroundings. We happily broke that silence by turning on The Black Keys Pandora station and sailed back and forth on the Puget Sound, watching the sunset behind the Olympic mountains.
I was officially Captain Ernie.