June 20, 2014
On the Sailing Vessel Gitana

I've just completed a course that has been a long time coming, and which left me (after some serious final exams) with three different accreditations from the American Sailing Association.  Those of you who have known me for a long time, or have ever seen my bookshelves back in Georgia or down in Patagonia, know full well that the idea of sailing occupies a lot of my mental real estate on a daily basis and has for over a decade now.   It's no secret that I have ideas about doing a long and open ended trip in one of these vessels someday, but for too many years there has always been some other project which has gotten in the way.  Well, steps are steps; and this was one of them.  Having saved up for quite sometime with the idea of buying a boat, and then actually beginning that search for the perfect vessel several months ago, it occurred to me that actually spending some time on the deck of one might be a good idea as I sort out what I am looking for in terms of design.  And this course did not disappoint.  Lots and lots of hands on experience was the name of the game in the course I signed up for out of Fort Lauderdale, as I found out upon leaving the dock the first day when the captain put me at the helm straight away as we negotiated drawbridges and maneuvered our way around container ships on our way to open water and our route South into the Florida Keys on the sloop rigged Gitana.  It was a wonderful experience overall, and I think I got out of it exactly what I needed, plus a great deal more I hadn't even imagined when I signed up.  My sincere thanks to Blue Water Sailing School for a well run experience. Nothing quite like the feel of a well heeled sailboat under way.Plotting a course for the day - who knew there was so much mathematics involved!Early mornings I spent studying my notes from the day before.It's a cool feeling when all you need to get under way is a little bit of wind.Our crew was only comprised of four students and our captain, all good folks to be sure.Looking East from the galley as I pour my first coffee of the day.A point of view I intend to increase my use of in the years to come.And a corresponding vista that isn't too bad either...