On Tuesday I went to Sailability as I do most Tuesday's in the summer/spring/early autumn. I had the best time I have ever had up there.
Usually I sail an Access Dinghy - Specifically the 2.3 model shown there although I have sailed the double with my friend Neil's daughter many times. in fact, all but one time this year I think. We've not been getting on very well with that boat lately when we have both of us in it. Much as I have lost a lot of weight this year the two of us together pushes us over the weight limit for it, I found out this week and that is probably why we can't manage much more than sailing in circles.
So the plan this week was for me to take one of the single Access' out alone. Again something I've done many times but not this year. However I I had a quick word with Pam, the chairman, about the possibility that "some time in the future" could I have a go sailing the other sort of boat we use, a Challenger.
Well, "some time in the future" turned into that very evening. It was really different and harder to sail (because it sails as a "proper boat" as opposed to the access). And it was fast. Very, very fast and kind of scary at times. Because I'd never sailed it before, one of the volunteers who is another Emma came with me and I learned loads from her.
And I was able to scramble in and out of it with help as opposed to using the hoist for the access'. That's both a good and a bad thing. Good because it means no hoist and thats not the most comfortable experience in the world. Bad because there are no real sides to it and so although I had a backrest I had to focus on keeping my balance because if I lost it (which i don't usually sailing) there would be nothing to catch me. I'd be fine sailing with a volunteer but whether I would be happy/confident/safe sailing it alone is another thing.
I did love it tho.
If you go on the link above you can see a video of a challenger being sailed.
My sailability group are fundraising to build a new more accessible pontoon and I helped out back in March with some awareness raising. If you go to the Pontoon Project Website you can see a picture of me and Jane sailing the double access and read most of the talk I did as well as those of the others - apparently I am a "sailing success" and so are my friends.