Monday, July 8, 2013

My First Sailing Lesson

I like hobbies where I get to interface with nature like with the power of the wind; yesterday I had my first sailing lesson.  Winona Parks and Recreation own a used sailboat for giving lessons on Lake Winona and learning to sail is something I have wanted to try.  I have a small radio control sailboat which gave me some knowledge of the sailing terminology and the basics of operation.  Zack McKinney gave me some on shore training and then we paddled out to where the sailboat is moored.  There is a fair amount of work in preparing the sailboat to sail but not too much.

Paddle Boat Used to Get to Sailboat

With main and jib sails attached we were sailing, the wind did not always cooperate.  It was in a direction also that was somewhat blocked by the bluff.  There were those times also when we would catch the wind pretty well and the boat would pick-up speed in a hurry.  As this was my first time out I really didn’t want to experience real strong wind.

Main Sail

Jib Sail

There is so much more to sailing than piloting simple powered or paddled boats.  We had to zig zag into the wind being careful not to get too straight into the wing or the sailboat would be in the dreaded “put in irons” condition where the sailboat will not move from the wind. Another condition is where the sails begin to “luffing” that is when the sails rapidly flap in protest of not being in proper trim.  Zack turned the controls over to me about half way into the voyage out.  So much for the skipper to work with, controlling the sail ropes, steering the rudder, and not letting the boom hit you in the head.

Duck Under Boom as Sail Swings

There were also other boaters on the lake in fishing boats, kayaks, and canoes. So you must avoid the obstacles but pilot the boat to best work with the wind.  The downwind run went pretty smooth and I could use a relatively straight course to get back to the dock.   So much fun, I sure want to do this again.

30 second video of sailing 

Bill Kuhl

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