I’ve been sailing for approximately eight years and in that time have participated in and taught hundreds of sessions. Looking back on them recently I realised that there are some common themes.
I found that the sessions that I have enjoyed the most were ones which required teamwork between boats or within a boat. For example my favourite session of all time was doing tight circles; this session required the sailor to sail in circles around a powerboat or buoy that was anchored or adrift, all the while attempting to stay at a steady distance from the boat. I can vividly remember sailing a Laser 2000 with my friend George in Greece doing this session. Its was one of the most draining sessions as well, mentally and physically, because you’re constantly moving from one side of the boat to the other, checking and re-checking your sail settings, calling our signals to your helm or crew and trying to roll the boat to keep it at maximum speed. It required us to be working together to keep our boat moving, but also to not crash into the other boat that was circling too!
While I enjoyed sessions that required teamwork, I have also had plenty of fun doing activities that are just ‘following the leader’. The reason for this in particular that comes to mind is because it is such a versatile session. It can be kept quite basic – just following a powerboat to get the 5 essentials down –, it can be competitive – tacking on every whistle blow, trying to get your boat going fastest and get upwind the farthest -, or it can be fun making kids jump off their boats or capsize on a whistle.
It can be a bit of a harsh realisation but as dinghy instructors, we can spend most of our time in powerboats – depending on what’s being taught. So whenever we get to teach more advanced sailing, like using spinnakers or performance boats we always enjoy it. Any day spent out on a performance boat with the spinnaker flying is a delight!
While sailing by yourself can be both relaxing and enjoyable, try sailing with other people sometimes. It’s a completely different experience sailing with two or more people and can make even a sail in a cold drizzle a delight!