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Practice Safe (Sail) Sets

You know you want it...

Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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…Or, Tip #4 in Surviving a Sailing Relationship

I read recently about a couple who purchased a boat and upgraded it with all the money they had intending to sail off into the sunset. The second day out they ran aground, the boat sank, and they lost everything (they are safe ashore). Unlucky or unprepared? Would you spend a lot of money, or in this case all they had, on a boat, car, helicopter or anything, that has the potential to be used incorrectly creating situations that may cause harm to you, your loved ones or your prized possession.

On the other hand, you may have read some of the sailing blogs, where a couple have purchased their boat with little or no sailing experience and sailed away quite successfully. The thing is, we are all different, some more adept than others in harnessing these sailing skills, but like all things if you lay the foundations and do it right from the start you will have certainly increased your chances of success, this really isn’t something you want to do with a “I’ll learn by my mistakes” approach.


Over the years I have taught many different types of people with different personalities, Here’s a couple of examples from both ends of the spectrum.

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You may remember in Lesley’s last post a couple that had arrived in the Caribbean on their catamaran and the guy wanted to get his ASA qualifications up to ASA 114, the cruising catamaran course. His reasoning was that he wanted to charter his boat and wanted to prove his competence to prospective guests. Now, to being with he had misinterpreted that having the 114 means you can charter your own boat as opposed to being able to charter a boat. During our week on the water he showed me many bad habits with some being quite dangerous. I tried to show the safe method and explain why what he was doing could get him into trouble, but I am afraid his personality would not allow him to be wrong. I had to fail him and was a little disappointed myself that I was not able to get through to him. The following week I only had one student and so the wife of this guy came on my course as crew to help make the learning process easier… It is better done in a group/team… Long story short, she learned a lot, passed the course well and went back after the course and severely reprimanded her husband as she now understood that some of the things they had been doing were wrong or even dangerous… I subsequently found out that over the course of their sailing life they had been unlucky, with several groundings and a couple of boats had sunk on them… I am not making this up!!!!

I am writing this whilst teaching ASA up to 114 on an owner’s boat, with Lexi and Scott. Lexi grew up on Grenada, moved to Canada at a young age and then returned to Grenada. She grew up in a family involved in different aspects of the sailing industry. Lexi recently started assisting Chris Doyle on his well know sailing guides and spent 3 months on a boat with him, so has some good background experience and an obvious love of the sea. Scott has limited sailing experience and has just left the USA ‘corporate’ world to come to the Caribbean where he has been visiting for many years. They have both embraced learning the different techniques of sailing with an open mind and the curiosity to learn. It is a pleasure to teach these courses when the students understand the importance of being safe, competent and that knowledge gives confidence.
So very different from my first example… So, to summarise…
Lexi and Scott wanted to sail
Lexi and Scott wanted to sail safely
Lexi and Scott wanted to sail safely with confidence and knowledge
Be like Lexi and Scott

Mike Dye, SeaHorse Sailing School, Grenada

Don’t miss Lesley’s other spicy tips on how to SURVIVE a Cruising Relationship:

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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