John Pasmore's Occassional Blog

Class Sailing by John Pasmore

A North U (university) sailing seminar looks something like this picture. Less than riveting. Looks aside the time spent was solid. It’s hard to learn sailing in a classroom or by reading a book.

But it’s is part of what you need if you want to push sailing skills forward. There are some basic parts of sailing that are best introduced in a class and then repeated again (and again) on the water. Instructor, Bill Gladstone was great and while sharing theory preached to simply “sail fast.” Sounds obvious, but that simple statement is what racing trim is all about.

Why do you want a “twist” in the mainsail? Because you go faster. And we could spend hours discussing the aerodynamics involved, but we stopped with fast. The best resources I found getting me started in sailing was taking an ASA course, “Introduction to Keelboat Sailing” while on vacation in Miami. If I were to do it over again I would opt for the same course given by US Sailing, but the learnings are the same.

And there are no shortage of boat owners (Captains) who need crew. It’s a challenge to round up three or four people every time you want to take your boat out, so it’s an opportunity to learn. There is a unique zen-like connection to the elements when sailing that I haven’t felt in any other sport (err…maybe kayaking, maybe even scuba diving, and xc skiing but different zen). Zen or adrenaline, looking forward to warm weather…being back on water if/when schedule works with the wind…humbling being around these coaches and teachers though, so much to learn, so much to know…

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