A tale of a Taster Day

Try sailing – it’s the perfect New Year’s resolution!

I have never placed much weight on making lists of New Things I’m Going To Do This Year. Normally just tottering into January full of Christmas turkey and my own body weight in chocolate oranges feels challenge enough. But, having tried sailing for the first time on a CSSA taster day in October, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t put it on a To Do list many years ago.

So – 8 good reasons for you to give it a try too:

  1. It was thoroughly exciting. We had what we were told was quite a lot of wind – I’ll probably get the numbers wrong, but does about 20 knots sound right? Added to the boat going about 6knots and that apparently was quite fast. It certainly meant that the Sea Essay (the CSD’s club’s boat) tipped right over onto its side as we scudded along. And it was one of us newbies steering at the time!
  2. Our two leaders, Adrian and Steve, were dead nice. There wasn’t a whiff of the kind of sniffyness or cliqueiness that ‘club’ – especially, dare I say it, traditionally gentlemens’ kinds of clubs like golf clubs and yacht clubs…. – sometimes conjures up. So, unless you’re the kind of person that unaccountably doesn’t like being friendly (I believe they do exist..), you’ll have had a lovely time meeting new people even if you decide sailing is not for you.
  3. I found it great fun exploring somewhere you’d never normally be. I am old enough (only just…) to remember Bergerac and Howard’s Way and it felt like being an insider on a TV set as I drove into the marina and got waved towards the combination locked pontoon gates by a suitably rugged looking chap.
  4. Sounds a bit obvious – but it was fab being outside all day. Not much to add to that really – feels healthy, is healthy. What’s not to love?
  5. There aren’t that many activities you can do outside all day without being totally knackered, and sailing in a group like this was as active or inactive as you wanted. I appreciate that being significantly overweight isn’t necessarily an indicator of unsportiness, but on the basis that it usually is, one of our number was clearly not a fan of vigorous aerobic exercise – but he’d clearly been on at least one day sail before and was back for more.
  6. You couldn’t be out of place on a taster day – there wasn’t a ‘type’. One other chap was checking out changing to yachts from little one or two person dingys, but the rest of us had never sailed a boat before. We ranged from late 20’s through to 50’s, our volunteer leaders were happily retired, and we were from a mixture of professional backgrounds. We also came from quite a wide geographic radius. I had what felt like quite a long drive at 2hrs, but some of the others did too, and I’d been reassured beforehand by a committee member that a lot of established members travel a long way – it isn’t just a club for locals.
  7. I felt I achieved something – I was lucky enough to be put behind the wheel for the bit of the day when we had to keep changing direction. The first time, turning the boat around was enjoyably scary, the next few times after that I felt I started to get the ‘feel’ of it and that was really rewarding.
  8. It’s dead easy (always the clincher for me). You simply sign up here for a day of fun, fresh air and friendliness. What more are you waiting for?

Miranda ‘1 day sailing under my belt’

Editors note.

Firstly, Thanks go to Miranda for putting her thoughts and experiences down for everyone to read and consider. Since writing this piece Miranda has since gone on to sail in the IDOR with CSORC and has sworn to return next season. Whether you are looking to start your adventures in Yachts, Dinghies or Keel boats you should have an enjoyable experience that will set you up for a life-long sailing journey. Please do take the first step and try a sail taster day. These are run across our sailing club community. As a new sailor myself I can only encourage you to “Give it a go!”

Sailing opportunities in yachts and smaller craft

Sailing opportunities in dinghies

  • Littleton – nr Shepperton ( London ) – Training Schedule
  • Rutland Civil Service Sailing Club
  • Jumbles Sailing Club

Andrew Moore