Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Steep learning curve
Picture of the launch of the Fal River Festival, last Friday - a very nautical week!
Last week we enrolled on a sailing course – as the last time I’d sailed a dinghy was 40 years ago, and Mr B 15 years ago, we felt it was time to go back to basics. Well, day one was great, if hard work.
Going back over things like safety equipment and then rigging I was rusty enough, but then actually tacking – with a tiller extension which I’ve never used – had me panicking when we did it on dry land. Had I really done all that (like a seated dance) when I was so young?
But we got out on the water and I made Mr B go first so that when it was my turn, at least he’d know what to do. Our instructor shouted directions from the safety boat nearby, then said, “Sue. Your turn.” From then on I forgot trying to remember what to do and went by instinct. And it was amazing – though I was concentrating so hard I didn’t have time to think about anything else. But when I realised we could do it – and not capsize – I felt so exhilarated I could have flown. By the time we got back that afternoon, I lay on my bed for a bit and felt like a balloon, blown up with great happiness and achievement. As well as doing it with Mr B of course – for we work well in a boat together.
Sadly that was the only day we could sail as it was too windy after that, so we ploughed through hours of metereology, aerodynamics of sail, tides and charts, to say nothing of latitude and longitude and all that stuff which frankly makes my head spin. The second day I felt just as if I was back at school, in a strange country. trying to speak a foreign language, with everyone telling me I was stupid because I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried, understand.
My brain hasn’t struggled like this since I left school, (my journalism course was hard work but pure joy) but because this was science and maths, both topics I am woefully bad at, this course brought back all kinds of feelings of inadequacy and failure. Luckily our instructor was very patient, but since then I’ve been doing half an hour per day with Mr B, trying to make sense of it all. He’s good at explaining things and says it helps him learn by telling me, so together I’m sure we can make some sense of it all. And it brings a new dimension to life – we’re always looking at the clouds now, to see what weather is coming our way.
So it just goes to show that it’s never too late for any of us to learn anything. And, more to the point, enjoy it. We’re owed 3 more sailing days from the course hopefully this weekend if the weather’s good enough, and then – watch out, sailors in Falmouth. Here we come!