We seem to be at the beginning of a sailor chapter in the life of Sailor’s Small Farm. Long long ago, before we had any children (a period commonly referred to by my husband as PK – pre-kids), we belonged to an organization called the CFSA (Canadian Forces Sailing Association). Through this “club” we had access to a 32 ft sailboat called Wings, which we were able to charter very cheaply (I believe it was something like $30/night, albeit back in the early ’90s). With Wings we explored up and down the local coast around Vancouver in short bursts. In summer months, we were sometimes able to borrow my Dad’s little sailboat – a 22 ft O’Day, and we’d go off for a week or more at a time, exploring slightly further afield, up and down the East side of Vancouver Island. It was a glorious time period in our lives. Adventures abounded, friendships were forged (friends often came too), experiences earned.
Raising children and establishing my husband’s business took priority for a number of years (along with my preoccupation with the farm). With farming no longer happening, his business no longer in the rocky days of start up (24 yrs!), and children grown into adults with busy lives of their own, we found ourselves waxing nostalgic about those “good old days”. We both acquired our Pleasure Craft Operator Licenses several years ago (we must have been dreaming even then) and this year, hubby took an evening course to refresh his navigation skills. And then we took a deep breath, and plunked a hefty chunk of money down on chartering a lovely Grand Banks 36 motor cruiser. We will be heading out for two weeks in July to explore the coast again, have some adventures, etc etc.
This week we were able to book that same boat for 32 hours, the first 10 of which we spent with an instructor we hired through the charter company to brush up our rusty skills. First of all, this is a motor cruiser, and we did all our boating in sailboats – where engines are definitely not a big part of how to operate the boat. This vessel has an enormous John Deere engine (made my farmer heart happy). The instructor spent three hours going over the engine with us, learning checks and troubleshooting and after a late lunch we spent 5 hours out in the local waters practicing man overboard (a large fender named Fred was thrown ruthlessly overboard several times), anchoring, mooring to a buoy, coming alongside with the wind and against the wind, reversing to a jetty and also a buoy. We got back to her home berth in the gloaming absolutely exhausted, but confident that we still had what it takes to survive in a boat. We slept very soundly that night.
The next morning we woke refreshed and energized and went out on our own to practice without our instructor – far more relaxing in some ways (since we’ve anchored, we might as well have another cuppa before we practice anchoring somewhere else) and a litte more stressful in others (did he say flip this switch first and then turn that on, or the other way round?).
It is a little daunting at this age and stage of life to be learning (or relearning) new tricks, but this old sea dog felt thoroughly invigorated after our little jaunt at sea. A tad exhausted as well, truth be told. The effort to do all that learning in a short period of time was probably the main reason for that. I suspect the two week cruise will be far more relaxing. Can’t wait.