Saturday, July 23, 2005

Training Sail #3

Today's sail was magnificent. I was not excited about waking up at 7 am to get there, but it was completely worth it. We had a lot of wind, which is apparently unusual for Saturday morning in the harbor. Jonathan Kabak, the captain of the Lettie G. Howard, captained the Pioneer and led the training sail, and he is quite a teacher. The rest of the crew on this sail were also good teachers, very patient, showing you how to do something and then letting you try it for yourself. For once, it felt like we had some context or "big picture" on what we were doing, and we raised and lowered the headsails several times so that each of us could practice the particular skills needed. We docked a little early and practiced tossing lines from the deck of the Pioneer to the float where we dock. You basically coil the rope in two hands, divide it so that your strong hand is holding the first few coils and your weak hand is holding a few more, and then you use your whole upper body, turning from the waist, to throw the coils, letting the weight of those coils pull the rest of the rope along. Jonathan walked us through the steps, demonstrated in "slo-mo" and then demonstrated for real. And then we each took a couple of turns with assistance from more experienced crew, and we watched and learned from each other. Any NYC teachers out there recognize this model of teaching....? To, with, by... yup, it's the workshop model, not called that ouside of schools but practiced nonetheless.

I feel like it's all starting to come together. I make a million mistakes, think I know something and then do it wrong anyway, but it feels more natural now. I hope I'm not too rusty after two weeks away!

I have also ordered a book recommended by a crew member for understanding the physics of sailing.


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