That Sinking Feeling

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Sporting Off

A few summers ago, my girlfriend at the time convinced me to take a sailing class over at OCC’s School of Sailing & Seamanship on PCH.  She signed up for the class, but since the boats were lidos with two-person crews, she wanted me to join the class so it could be a “me and her” activity,

Worst. Idea. Ever.

Now before I tell you this story, you need to know that I’m by no means a sailor.  I’ve been on boats, I like boats, but in no way, shape, or form have I ever sailed a boat.

Having said that, I was still infinitely better than my ex-girlfriend.

My first day in the class was everybody else’s second, so they had a four-hour head start on me.  They had gone over the basics the previous week, learned about the different pieces of the boat, and even went out on the water for a couple of hours.  I started the class and could hardly tie a figure-8 knot.

Probably still can’t.

Regardless, I listened up and tried to soak in as much information as I could, but after only 30 minutes or so of class instruction, we were hitting the open seas.

Well, the open harbor.

We went out and put on our lifejackets, grabbed our equipment for constructing the boats, and began assembling.  I obviously had no idea what I was doing, so I mostly watched and learned.

Once everything was together and the sails were up, we headed out one by one.  Luckily, it wasn’t overly windy that day, but we did get some speed going eventually.  I started out working the jib and observing what everybody else was doing.  They warned us that the lidos could capsize very easily and the masts could stick into the ocean floor.

We survived the day, but the next day was nothing but trouble!  High winds and a lack of experience combined for a dicey day, to say the least.

I was steering and operating the main sail when a huge gust took us, turned us off course towards other docked boats, and nearly flipped us upside down.  The entire deck was under about two feet of water, and when I looked up to see if my ex had let out the jib sail so we could re-group and get back on track, she was trying to bail out the water with a bucket.

That’s exactly what they tell you not to do in that situation.

After heated exchanges, name calling, and screaming, we got back upright.  It was utter chaos.

The moral of this story is, if you’re going to participate in stressful sports you know nothing about with your girlfriend, do so carefully.

My experience wasn’t pretty.

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