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.