Have you ever wanted to try sailing on a yacht?
After flirting with lake sailing during my uni day, I was first introduced to sailing on the sea by Sunsail: Our company chartered a couple of yachts and we had a day of races, team building and LOADS of fun. I was totally hooked and ended up on some pretty cool sailing adventures afterwards. Along came the kids and my love of sailing was brushed aside. Just as we tried introducing sailing to the kids again and loved it, we had another and final addition- Max- and Sailing dreams were put on hold again.
Over the last month the itch to my sea legs has returned. First in Corsica, where I had the opportunity to take the kids out on a catamaran whizzing around the bay, then yesterday I enjoyed Ladies Day at Cowes as a guest of Sunsail Events.
Interestingly, yesterday ended up being about sailing without really sailing: You see there was no wind to speak of.
In the morning, I met the Sunsail team and some fellow lady sailors at the Red Funnel ferry terminal. The skies were grey and the water flat. Nonetheless, we made our way to the marina, and found our boat with skipper Nick and first mate Pippa.
A warm cuppa, Danish pastries and fruit bowl greeted us. As we settled down Nick gave us a briefing: Even though we had some very experienced sailors in our group, Nick assumed we all knew nothing. He used very simple language to talk us through the boat and its features. This continued for the rest of the day. Those of us who had no clue what a haylard or gibsheet is or which side is port and which is starboard had no problem following instructions, for they were referred to as the black and red rope and red rope on the right. It made sailing seem a lot less scary. (For I have to admit, I still feel intimidated by the sailing lingo. I know some in English, some in Hungarian or Dutch, some not at all.)
We were kitted out with fowl weather gear and the skipper decided to head out despite the lack of wind. We were still hopeful that the wind would arrive and the Ladies Day races would be held.
As we motored out of Cowes past the new harbour protection being built by big machinery in the middle of the water we realised there was no more wind out on the water.
We motored past some beautiful boats, some moored, some out looking for wind to sail. We even saw one of my favourites, a team I’ve been following on Instagram for ages: the team Oman trimaran.
Some crews embraced Ladies Day in interesting ways.
— Sailing Today Mag (@SailingTodayMag) August 11, 2015
During the whole 4 hours we were out on the Solent we managed to sail for about 15 minutes. For the rest of the time the motor hummed gently and we chatted away. It was a very relaxed day enjoying the company of some lovely ladies, hearing about sailing stories, writing sailing novels, like Casting Off, blogging about sailing after a stroke. Two very different sailing yachts. After a late picnic lunch we headed back into the marina.
In the afternoon we enjoyed some further Sunsail hospitality and were given an outlet for our competitive side: Gutter boat racing. As the first and only women only team, despite it being ladies day, we set an easy target for the male teams to meet. It was fun watching the competition while we had some nibbles.
The day was finished at Liz Earle’s reception celebrating women in sailing. As the day’s races were postponed there were no prizes for the day, but Dee Caffari was there to pass on her special trophy, the Ladies Day Trophy to honour another woman in sailing.
The winner this year was British sailor and chief navigator for Team SCA, Libby Greenhalgh. It was a lovely evening, where I managed to chat to some lovely ladies and we left with some great goodies from the sponsors Liz Earle.
A photo posted by Monika (@mumonthebrink) on
The day brought back to me some of the things I love about sailing:
- It’s wonderful to be out on the water and experience the forces of nature- we only had the tides to battle, by they are extraordinary in their own right too.
- It’s a equal playing field for men and women
- Sailing can be exhilarating and relaxing
- No two days on the water are the same
- There is so much freedom with sailing- you can go wherever the wind and tides take you.
Now, I’m looking how we can get the kids out sailing and cruising. Maybe time to charter a boat again?