Rumble: My sailing history

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while, know I sail.

I always wanted to sail, but never found the incentive to really get started.

In 2003, during the Iraq crisis, I was based in Dubai. Work was madness, and we put in very long hours, from 8 am until 11-12 pm every day. We all needed some physical exercise, and discovered several of us were interested in sailing.

So we took up Laser sailing in Dubai. Lasers are small skiffs, sailed single handed, but ideal to learn how to sail. We took classes with Simon, a young aggressive instructor, who gave us one Laser each. We had an hour of theory and off we went. Lasers are tricky. You don't bend forward fast enough when jibing or tacking, and boingggg.. there comes the boom against your head. You don't trim the sails well, and upside down you go. We competed amongst each other from the moment we rigged up the sails until, eight hours later, we crawled into the bar for a sunset drink. Bruised up, full of scratches, but happy. We found a new hobby!

laser sailing

We sailed for one day per week, for several years. Gradually we also took up sailing larger skiffs, Hobiecats and sometimes rented a 25ft day day-yacht:

sailing in dubai

I told Tine, I would like to take the family on a cruising holiday, on a real yacht. She categorically refused to step on a boat with me, until I had the proper certification. Wise decision, it proved afterwards...! I took all RYA courses up to yachtmaster (theory and practical), and even took the powerboat instructors' license. I learned how to navigate, how to plan a trip, manage a boat and crew, give instructions, moor a boat. I learned about first aid, man-over-board procedures, and harbour maneuvers.
Only then, we went yachting with the family. First with a 36 ft in Greece, back in 2004:

greece sailing

The next summer, we sailed on a 36ft for four weeks from Martinique to the Grenadines (See short story). The summer after that, we went for 3 weeks in the British Virgin Islands on a 39 ft.
During my sabbatical, I sailed as crew on a 57 ft from the UK to the Canaries and across the Atlantic, up to the BVI (see these short stories). The same year, we went sailing with the family around St.Martin, on a 36 ft. (See this post)

This year, we will rent this baby, in the Seychelles:


She is a Moorings 44.3, a 44 ft monohull, with three cabins, each with a head and shower (something I don't like. The more heads, the more trouble, but...) Overall length of 44ft, beam (width) of 14.5 ft and a draft of 6 ft.
Her engine is 56 HP, and she has tanks for 53 Gal of fuel and 140 Gal of fresh water. She has 880 Sq Ft sailing area and displaces almost 10 tons.

The biggest challenge is that Tine and the kids don't really sail. I mean the kids know how to sail a skiff, but not a yacht. Tine can help maneuvering a boat in a harbour, and help putting the boat into the wind when I need to raise or drop the sails, but most of the sailing, I do single-handedly.
This summer, this is the biggest boat I have sailed single-handed so far. So Tine is a little apprehensive... But we will do ok!

More posts on The Road about sailing

Picture Laser courtesy Picture 44.3 courtesy


Anonymous,  09 July, 2008 05:29  

I've loved reading your sailing posts - though they have made me very jealous.
I learnt to sail as a kid in Toppers in the cold waters of the English Channel. Then Wayfarers, a 420 that was just too much fun, and occassionaly something fancier.
And, heading further afield, Contessas (a 26 and a 32): proper old-school boats, none of this heads and showers nonesense! Spent as much time hanging upside down in some impossible nook with a spanner in my mouth or covering myself in anti-fouling as actually on the water, but still loved it.
And am now living in a landlocked country, and dreaming of the sea!

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