Learning to Sail – with Mark and Moniek Janczewski

Sunset Sailing Picture
Hobby Dabbler
Hobby Dabbler
Learning to Sail – with Moniek and Mark Janczewski

Learning to sail was not on my bucket list. In fact, I’d never actually been on a sailboat in open water before I took the class. One day, when talking with a friend of a friend who happened to be another federal employee, I learned that I have access to the Naval Support Activity attached to the US Naval Academy, which was a way to learn while being considerably cheaper than private organizations. So, in the winter of 2020, I added my name to the waitlist for a 3-day sailing class sometime in the summer of 2021.

Come June, I found myself in a small classroom upstairs from the marina office with 4 other strangers on a Friday evening. I spent that evening and the next 2 full days with these people, trusting each other to get us to and fro the Severn River by Annapolis, Maryland. Everyone in the class had varying degrees of experience with sailing, myself probably having the least (given that I’d only stepped aboard a docked sailboat twice before the class). There were so many nautical terms to learn! I’m sure we only scratched the surface in this 3-day class but I’m pretty sure I learned at least 50 new words along with the totally new concepts that they were for. It was intense! Optionally, I chose to include the ASA 101 test at the end of my curriculum so that my new skills would be more transferable at different marinas, should I choose to venture beyond the Carr Creek Marina.

Among my classmates was a retired couple, Mark and Moniek Janczewski. We all exchanged contact information before the end of class but I wasn’t sure who was serious about getting together to practice on the water. I was happy to actually hear from Mark and Moniek a couple of weeks later.

Since class, we’ve gone out sailing together a couple of times – including once on my birthday with my son. In all, I’ve gone sailing 5 times since class and, each time, my comfort and confidence grows. I was especially thrilled when Moniek and Mark were agreeable to being interviewed for this podcast! Funny enough, the topic of sea-sickness was almost forgotten until the end of the interview. Paul’s pro tip: If you weigh more than 200 pounds, it’s probably a good idea to wear multiple sea-sickness patches (and bring extra in case they fall off)!

One of the things we totally forgot to talk about was knots! I know, you’re thinking, “How could you NOT talk about knots when it comes to sailing?!” Well, it happened – we forgot. Needless to say, there are various knots you have to learn – each with specific functions for sailing. If you came here really hoping to learn about boating knots, well, I can’t disappoint you. Here’s a link.

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Speaker 1 00:00:07 Welcome to hobby dabbler, the show dedicated to exploring hobbies for people who want to make their free time more valuable. We are your hosts, Vanessa. And today we’re talking about sailing with a couple of new friends, mark and Monique. Speaker 2 00:00:22 Yeah. Today we’d like to welcome mark and Monique. I haven’t had the chance to meet them yet, but I know whenever Vanessa spends time with you, she really enjoys it and talks about that. So it’s great to virtually meet you and thank you for joining us today. Speaker 1 00:00:34 So a Hawaii Mo Monique and mark, uh, when we can say things like that since we’re sailors now, right? Speaker 3 00:00:42 So Speaker 1 00:00:44 I met you two, the first evening of our three-day sailing class. We took it the Naval support academy at Carr Creek marina this past spring. And I want to spend some time talking about the sailing class, what the sailing class was like, and then go into the experiences we’ve had sealing without an instructor since then. Speaker 2 00:01:02 Yeah. And so the first question I was wondering is what made you guys want to get involved in sailing anyway? Speaker 3 00:01:06 Okay. So I guess I’ll start. Um, so I’m semi retired and I’m looking for something to do with the, uh, some of the time that’s now been made available because of that. And I wanted to look at something that the two of us could do together. My wife and I could do together. And, um, during COVID, um, there was looking over a year ago, I thought maybe be kind of fun to take some sailing lessons. So I did a little bit of research found that the Naval support activity, Annapolis, Maryland, that supports the us Naval academy. We offer sailing classes and at the time they were closed and they had a waiting list or sign up list for the 2021 season. So I went ahead and signed up at that time for the two of us. Speaker 2 00:02:09 Okay. What I was wondering, what made you choose sailing versus regular voting, like with a motor? Speaker 3 00:02:16 Uh, well, for one thing I’ve been a private pilot. I’ve been a scuba diver, regular boating is a lot more expensive for one thing. You’re going to be A pilot. And also because of my background and the ceiling kind of appeals to me because at least on my side, and we’ll probably get into this more later, um, I tend to be pretty analytical. So the mechanics and the dynamics of, Speaker 1 00:02:54 So Monique, I am doing big head nods right now because I know you and I are more, a little bit more intuitive with, with sailing. And sometimes that’s a different experience when you’re sailing with somebody that’s analyzing the, by the book. Do you want to talk about that mini? Speaker 4 00:03:15 Sure. So, yes. Um, to be honest, I had sailed a long, long time ago when I was a teenager and I hadn’t seen since that time. Um, so then mark suggested he go stating, I thought, okay, death might be a really nice thing to do for us together. Um, but then you, right then you were saving together. It is very interesting because of course, mark is very analytical and wanting to know exactly how everything works, um, in step. Um, well I was like, oh, I know how it all works to do in direction that the sales and I was far more intuitive in the way I was, um, just even thinking about doing it or even approaching this whole saving. Um, so, uh, it turned out to be very interesting, um, um, based for the two of us to work together. Um, sometimes it’s hard to do it. Speaker 1 00:04:22 So it’s kinda funny to me now. Speaker 4 00:04:30 Right, mark, how do you feel about Speaker 3 00:04:33 Hi, Monique is more the sensing feeling intuitive person. And she’s had some experience before, which is a little bit different than the way that I look at things. Those two, I guess thinking sets should be complimentary, but they also, sometimes we have to learn to be a little more cooperative with each other and also learn from each other. Speaker 1 00:05:04 That’s a good point. And I will say there are the, it was, you know, as a third party, it was, it was humorous at times as well. So I appreciate that value value added, but it’s funny too, cause mark, you were a surgeon. And so I would think that obviously working with your hands and um, you have to just go with the flow at certain times. I mean, you know, your facts, but then it really kicks in when you’re in the moment and you have to like adjust something based on an unexpected result. Right. Speaker 3 00:05:33 All right. Well I’m yeah, I’m a family practice doctor at a fight circuit. So general surgery. I haven’t done that since residency, but you still have as a physician, you do have to rely pretty, pretty much on your analytical skills in order to diagnose and to treat patients and dealing with pilots, flying an airplane is, is, is a very analytical thing to most people. I would look at it that there’s probably less of a sensing feeling aspect of flying a plane as there is to sailing, but the concepts they are dynamics versus, uh, in sailing, you know, you’re, you’re sales are basically like a, like a wing. So the constructs are very, very similar. And um, so I, I tend to focus a lot based upon my medical experience and bikes flying and use that as a basis for how I approach sailing. Not often, not, not always optimally, but that’s how I initially started out approaching it. I’m trying to try to get more in touch with that, Speaker 4 00:06:47 But I would like to add to that is that it’s also interesting to see that certain things I could do probably better than mark, like, you know, being more intuitive and, and knowing how, how to get the most out of T-cells. But then he came to certain maneuvers because mark is more analytical. He actually did a lot better on that than I did maybe a little bit more experienced than he did. Speaker 1 00:07:14 Right. I remember the first time he’s like, I’ll take that compliment the first time we were going to go sailing together after our class, when we didn’t have an instructor. I remember mark saying, oh, how you’ve been reading about the different, uh, scenarios and how to, how to maneuver in them. Like, no, I just want to get on the water and try it and we’ll figure it out. Even if we’re dead in the water, we’ll figure it out. And then mark had been, I think he read the whole book and we just kind of had to rush through the class a bit. Um, is there anything about the class that you guys want to say? Uh, three days is a lot or a little bit of time to learn a lot of things? Speaker 4 00:07:53 Yes. And actually I sent it to mark afterwards because he was somewhat disappointed that he didn’t do a smile as he thought he would do and that he wasn’t able to really get everything in those two days. And I had to explain to him that staining daily is, um, just doing it and learning from practice, um, how to relate to the vendor and the direction and all those things. And that I found two days, like nothing to be, they learn how to shale because to me it’s a long-term farmer term kind of, um, process before you really get to even the feel for it and the understanding of what you’re really doing. And I don’t know how you felt about that. Um, but, um, and I think you were quick on the uptake, figuring all that out. I think you probably are more, both intuitive and also having that central, um, better logic way of analytical way of looking at it. Speaker 1 00:08:55 Um, I remember the first day thinking, oh my gosh, what am I getting myself into? I had so much to learn. I mean, when you look at the book and realize that you have all the bookwork to learn, as well as being out on the water for however many hours, we were out there, um, and sharing the time with other people and you can’t always hear what’s going on because there was a lot of us on a small boat. Um, it w it was a bit much, but I was really, really thankful, um, that I has had the opportunity to go out with you two separately after that, like not too long after that, like, what is it a few weeks or a month afterward? So since between the class and the sailing we’ve done since then, I wouldn’t necessarily go into Monique’s past experience as a teenager. But since we met, tell us about your most memorable experience while learning to sail good or bad. Speaker 3 00:10:00 Well, we’ve gone since the class and we’ve gone sailing now for three times twice, we’ve gone with you and it’s been 24 foot rainbow, which is, it’s a nice vessel for a day trip for four people. Um, and you know, beyond that, when you have an instructor and you have five people going out together with a family, with a family member, extended family member, and a friend of his who as a 36 foot Catalina, and we went down to Southeastern Virginia and Tidewater actually spent the weekend step up. There were a lot more things on the boat because it was larger, but in some sense, an easier way to operate for example, wheel instead of tiller. And then I had one other experience with my brother-in-law and that was on a 19 foot flying Scott. That was kind of an interesting experience because he’s pretty experienced people open for things like that. And so we went out on the river and of course it was a nice hot day in the low nineties. And the wind was like two to four knots and we got stuck on the other side of the shore. Um, so I had to get towed back in because we just, we just didn’t have any wind. Speaker 3 00:11:44 One of the drawbacks of sailing is you can get stuck. Speaker 1 00:11:54 Yeah. I went out, um, between our ceilings and I went out with people who had one of the boats that has the little motor on the back, but it also had a wheel. And I had a motor for kind of maneuvering around dock spaces. Cause all the ones that we had done were moored, um, and it was really handy to have a motor for the slower times. And I know once my husband Paul here, he went with me on a really dead Wednesday as well. So it was, we had to be put on our patient pants to get back to the shore or to the morning. I was wondering Speaker 2 00:12:28 Why he chose sailing over the boat with a Speaker 1 00:12:31 Motor. It just seems easier. Right? Speaker 2 00:12:34 Let’s go to the motor. Speaker 3 00:12:39 From my sense, I challenge a, had a lot of fun. I appreciate the journey, the destination. Speaker 1 00:12:55 I think one of the fun parts on the journey was when we were in class. I don’t remember if it was the first or second day on the water, but we were practicing man overboard. And I was at the helm And Seamus, another person in our class just jumped overboard and he volunteered to be man out of water or man overboard, I should say. And we had to go rescue him. And it was, it was a pretty good rescue, I would say, but it was a little bit different than fetching a life preserver or whatever we’d normally use as a practice. Speaker 3 00:13:30 Yeah. I was thankful that he volunteered to do that. I mean, as you well know it, other times we tried that we basically told a raft or natural person do that, added a little more realism to the scenario Speaker 4 00:13:51 And it’s actually more challenging too, because then it’s, um, something in the water floating the five and by accident, you don’t want to do that to a person. Speaker 1 00:14:07 Well, and there’s the matter of getting them back in the boat. It’s easy to pick up a one pound life preserver, Speaker 3 00:14:16 Especially if that’s, you know, somebody who is panicking or isn’t familiar with how to get back onto a boat can make an even more challenging. Speaker 4 00:14:28 It made it more realistic, right? Speaker 1 00:14:33 Definitely memorable in any case. Speaker 0 00:14:51 Well, is Speaker 2 00:14:51 There any lingo that people getting, cause hobbies should be aware of? Speaker 3 00:14:57 That’s a whole new language and when, you know, they gave us this textbook, the afternoon we got there and there are basically a hundred new terms. You learn something like that. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the name of the sheets and every little point where the sales and every little point where the sale is connected and a whole new terminology we have to learn. Um, and so that’s, as well as understanding, um, like some of the safety rules, when do you have to give way as opposed to, when can you keep on your course? Speaker 4 00:15:56 I totally agree. It’s really hard. And for me as foreigner, I’m having to learn a whole new language on the letter while I already had the language in a different word, in a different language and then have to learn it in English. It was really hard and I still don’t have that on the control at all. Mark is so good and, um, learning terms so quickly because I figured he can do that part and I can maybe do another part. So we will be a great team on the water, right? Speaker 1 00:16:33 Yeah. Actually that’s a good point. Mark and work would be yeah. Skilled at the analytical side would be memory seeing all those terms. I thought it was interesting, obviously there’s tons of ropes on the sailboat and we can’t call them ropes they’re lines. And then once they’re connected to something, their sheets and they’re very specific sheets. So like the line that’s connected to the jib as a tip sheet and then their support side tip sheet, and everything has a name different than we want to say, but it’s on purpose, right? Like there’s some words that are never changing, like port and starboard, because you need to know exactly what you’re talking about. And other times it’s variable like Leeward. And when we’re, I guess for Leeward, they say Lord, but because it’s, it’s relevant to the changing factor, the wind. And so just even understanding the concept for those things is in and of itself a concept Speaker 4 00:17:28 It’s easier to understand the concept, remember all the term. Speaker 1 00:17:33 Oh yeah. Even remember when we’re, when you want to basically turn around or turn like 90 degrees or whatever, there’s a whole process of words you have to say. And that for me was one of the hardest things to learn. Speaker 3 00:17:47 Yeah. Speaker 1 00:18:02 Yeah. But it’s a whole thing. And I remember one saying prepare to come about, and then I forgot what the execution word was. And so I was like, what do I do now? Because I was just learning, Well, let’s turn to case. Speaker 4 00:18:22 Remember what we did learn is as long as you make it clear, even if it’s nothing besides jargon that you learned it in. Speaker 1 00:18:31 Yeah. I think the important thing is very clear communication and cause there’s so many times when you’re not able to communicate verbally with the other boats across the water that you need to indicate, Hey, don’t worry. You have the right of way I’m going to move. And so let me exaggerate my move to let you know that you’re fine. Speaker 3 00:18:51 So Speaker 1 00:18:52 What’s something from your experience that, I mean, we’ve sailed with all kinds of people, very experienced Monique had experience in, uh, as a teenager, what’s something that you’ve found that people just don’t understand about sailing. Speaker 2 00:19:09 Like why not use a motor? Speaker 4 00:19:14 I actually talked about a little bit, um, that if you try to do too much, that that is not the right thing to do it, that you really do have to somewhat feel the boat and know what you’re, what you are looking for when you are holding, um, the sheets. And then you’re looking at what the boat you feel like is, um, doing the right thing and being as, um, um, functional as possible assumption, just that feeling. And I think a lot of people might not understand that unless you’re on the boat. And then, I mean, remember we were talking about humming, the boat is humming and finally you go, oh my God, that’s what it is. Unless she actually sits in the boat and you do it and you do it and you feel it Speaker 2 00:20:14 We’ve been on the boat. And I could tell I was the gym. I was the dude, man, most of the time. And so when it, when the wind did catch and everything was going right, you could tell it, it just took you away. And Vanessa smile that she’s like, this is the, this is the feeling. That’s the one I was looking for. Speaker 1 00:20:31 Right, right. Yeah. It is definitely something you have to experience to know. You’re like, well, you’re going, so that’s good enough. Right. No, you’ll feel it. Speaker 3 00:20:40 Yeah. Yeah. It sound like you’re in a sweet spot there. You have to experience it in order to understand what it means. Speaker 4 00:20:49 Yeah. Actually I think that’s the fun part about sailing is that you do have that analytical, that mark is talking about that, you know what you’re doing, that you can feel it and you can use your, your, your instinct a little bit and your, your got on how to do this. So you can take those two parts together when you’re sailing. And um, and then of course, if you make mistakes, there’s not really a lot that can happen. You can, it’s not like if you don’t do it exactly right. It’s not working. Right. Speaker 0 00:21:24 Great. Speaker 2 00:21:41 So for folks that are interested in getting involved in sailing, um, what, what costs are involved? Speaker 0 00:21:46 Hm. Speaker 3 00:21:48 Okay. Since we went through a military rec center, their costs are significantly lower. So taking a weekend class or a week long class to basic sailing certification, probably I would imagine it’s going to run about five or $600 renting the boat, basically the size of the boat and the day of the week. And obviously weekends are more expensive. I rented a 19 foot commercial vendor. It was something like about $40 an hour. Something like that. Um, for a whole day could be a few hundred dollars. Um, compare that to taking out a motorboat where you’re going to be paying for gas. That’s gonna be a significantly higher expense. I think that’s nice about sailing is it’s quieter. You keys or motor boats around you. But I think it’s a lot easier to achieve a little bit of Zen when you’re, when you’re going along and everybody’s on the correct side of the boat, you got the tiller humming and everything and things are just moving along and it’s almost like, oh, this is cool. Speaker 1 00:23:15 You’re really grounded. Like the fact that you can reach over and touch the water and take a break and drop the sales and take a break if you want to. And I know we’ve had apples a couple of times, like Monique would bring her apples and one, a little small apple for everybody. So nice. Um, but that’s, that’s a good point. I, I did like the serenity of it. Um, but for going back to class, the serenity. Yeah. The cost, I think for me. Um, so I did the class that we both, that we all three of us took and then I also paid for the certification, the ASA certification so that my learning goes wherever I go. And I’m not just stuck to the Harbor that we trained in. But, um, I want to say, I only put out like 400 bucks for all of it as, uh, a DOD employee. Speaker 1 00:24:03 And then since we’ve gone, I think it’s about 60 bucks, a pop for three hours each again, that’s through, uh, you know, military subsidized, right. But I have looked into some other local areas and some of them are more like some of them are posh clubs where they have very like social events and you have beach access and things like that. And then there’s another one in Annapolis that is a little bit more geared to learning. I feel, and their prices were cheaper and a little bit more accessible than some of the exclusive clubs. But I think for people, I mean, tell me what you think, but for people starting out who aren’t privileged enough to have, uh, or fortunate enough, I should say to have, um, a military activity nearby to take advantage of those parks, I would look for one of the, the clubs that are kind of more geared towards learning. And they even have some in group sales. If, if you need to crew for somebody, that’s another way to learn. Speaker 1 00:25:07 Yeah. And since it’s a sailboat, it’s not near as expensive as a motor boat before I found the class, I think, um, another veteran pointed it out to me that we had access to these class. Um, but before I found it, I was thinking, well, I can, I can just meet people and offered a crew for them and learn as I go and just be helpful on the boat. And that’s how I learn. And I didn’t realize how actually accessible learning to sail is compared to some other hobbies. I feel like that I don’t know. It’s not like I feel like, um, learning to fly would be more inaccessible, but even knowing that now that I can like learn to sail, I feel like learning to fly would just probably cost 10 times as much, but still be as accessible. Speaker 3 00:25:53 I mean, first of all, it’s harder to walk into some general aviation airports and learning to fly is not an easy thing. I think if I account for inflation, probably now getting 10, $12,000. And then on top of that, when you rent a plane, a small single engine system, 1 72 that’ll seat, four people, it’s going to cost you 150 to 200 bucks an hour for going back. You think about sailing, but there’s all kinds of apps that I have. One that can’t seem to find it right now, but that you can look up. People will post, Hey, I’m sailing to Bermuda and 42 foot. Then we’re looking for people, varied experience, you know, eight people go sailing for the day and you can, you can sign in and participate in helping people to the boat. I also have checked with, uh, here, our local marina on the national airport where apparently people do post vote. And, um, I haven’t seen anything online about it, but there are ways like you said to, to, to, to learn from other people. Uh, and it’s a pretty open community, which I think is kind of cool. We got to meet for NASA. Speaker 1 00:27:33 Yeah. I got to meet any. So we’re wrapping up. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you wish I would’ve asked that, that you want to share? Speaker 4 00:27:42 I would like to share something. One of the things I did have, and you know that the last time, um, that the then saving if this worst, because the water was choppier, I did feel somewhat. Speaker 1 00:27:56 Oh, that’s I actually, we didn’t even talk about that in Paul, my husband here, he gets seasick. We’d even broach this topic. That’s funny. Speaker 2 00:28:05 Yeah. One of the reasons I’m not really interested in voting itself is cause I get seasick. And so we used, um, some of those, uh, patches and I went with two of them and I think it actually worked pretty well. One of them fell off maybe about an hour and a half into our, into our sailing time. And I did feel different. So maybe you where they were working. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:28:29 I actually, I actually had been taking some drama mean during, during the weekend when we were doing the course that the water was too quiet. And then the first time I had taken on two and then the fourth time actually, you don’t need it. And then I only took a half. The water was chunkier actually. And so you will know how I wasn’t babysitting three hours for you on the water. Speaker 1 00:29:01 Um, for me, I feel it when I get off the boat, I feel like I’m shorter or something. It’s a really weird sensation. Speaker 4 00:29:12 I feel it in my legs and I’m sending them, um, um, the nor on normal, solid ground, you still move around all the time, several minutes afterwards. Speaker 1 00:29:28 So listen, mark and Monique. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Um, I am definitely looking forward to hoisting sails with you again next season. Speaker 0 00:29:40 Thank you very much. It was a pleasure meeting you, Paul. Thank you. It was a great, great YouTube, Speaker 4 00:29:47 Hopefully. Speaker 1 00:29:48 Yes, absolutely. Thank you guys. Speaker 1 00:29:56 Thank you for listening to this episode of hobby dabbler. I hope you’re inspired to try your hand at the helm. Don’t forget to subscribe. Leave a note in the comments and tell us what you think or drop me a line vanessa@hobbydabbler.com. Be sure to follow us on Insta at hobbydabbler_official and facebook.com/hobbydabbler, where we post bore hobby fodder throughout the week. Sign up to join our email list at our website, hobbydabbler.com to get notified when a new show drops and for insider news today’s episode is brought to you by crest consulting from online hosting to complete website design Cress consulting is your one-stop shop for digital marketing. Plus it helps pay for the boat life. We want to buy a boat slip, getting electric, run to it and having a boat lift put in; that stuff’s expensive.

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