Saturday, October 22, 2011

Twilight Sailing

But first about - A Graduation Ceremony.
Before I get into the drama's of learning to sail stories I'd like to mention that today (oops technically yesterday now) was CDU Graduation Day. This year for the first time CDU graduated some very special people who have managed to complete the Mawul Rom Project at Galiwin'ku. This was a very special occasion, graduands received a Masters in Indigenous Knowledges! Congratulations to those who graduated especially those members of my adopted Gupapuyngu family who have worked so hard! I was proud to see you there today! I wanted to jump for joy and cheer you but of course the atmosphere required a little more restraint!

(Academic protocol doesn't encourage emotional explosions)


Over the past few months I've managed to complete two basic skills courses in Sailing and have even attended 4 Twilight races at the Darwin Sailing Club. It's been a real hoot! I love being on the water. Attending sailing classes has made it possible for me to experience some of the basics of sailing a yacht and provided some great moments bobbing around in the sea.

Today was the Darwin Sailing Club's final Twilight Series 'Non Serious' sailing race. This was possibly my last chance to sail until next year and I kind of spoiled it a bit by being a little too blase. Today there were no Pacer dinghies available and my regular sailing partner deserted me to crew on another boat so I had to take out a Pico. Actually I was looking forward to finally sailing solo and not having to share any of the boat with someone else but the rapture soon wore off! Picos are smaller dinghies than Pacers and the reduction in hull size means, surprise surprise, they're more cramped! With no jib to watch for my boat's orientation in relation to the wind, I soon discovered that it is a little harder to avoid the no-go-zone! Another problem which made things worse for me was the fact that the hull is more like a flat platform, which means there's not leg room. I ended up nearly dislocating my right knee 3 times!

It happened all to quickly! Directly as a result of two important factors... My lack of experience in these boats coupled with lack of concentration lead to me trying to quickly move from one side of the boat to the other during a Tack or a Gibe, resulting in my torso and everything else moving in one direction while the lower part of my leg is caught sideways under the weight of my body! The result of this unfortunate maneuver was the unmistakable shooting pain of two leg bones unwilling to maintain their relationship within the bounds set by my kneecap! I experience it as a deep pain stemming from a knee that will not bend in the usual way. It hurts, I swear, I thump the side of the boat and there's a sickening feeling like my leg won't straighten, but I try and then *POP* it's back in place. This happened three (3) times!!! Strangely now, just after midnight I can feel the pain in my hip joint! How odd!
Despite the physical discomfort and frustrating lack of skill at sea, I still managed to have a pretty good time. At least I was out there and it truly is beautiful to be propelled in a wind powered boat!

The sailing club is a new social experience for me. I found it quite a laid back and relaxing scene.When the race is over we all go back to the club and enjoy a bit of social activity and one or two free drinks from the esky. It's good fun actually but unfortunately the season is over which will mean I am at risk of forgetting everything I've learned before the season starts again next year. Looks like it's back to paddling around in the canoe with the kids.


Anonymous said...

Dave! No need to stop sailing! Dinah Beach Club begins their annual series of Wet Season Races in November. Visit the club on sign-up day, introduce yourself to some of the skippers, and crew on one of the boats...they always take big crews along, anybody personable and keen is welcome.

It's a good way to learn a bit of "foulweather" sailing techniques. Happy to introduce you to some of the skippers, if you like. Ring DBCYA for the sign-up date, first race is Nov. 6th, I think.

David J said...

Thanks Nat.
Yeh OK I'll give it a go. Might wait for my knee to recover before I attempt sailing though... Argh it's feeling a bit winky wonky now... It feels like it want's to bend sideways. :(