Last year the big thing I did at sailing that was new to me was the regattas.
Rutland was the first one and it was great fun but it tested and pushed me in ways I had never expected. I was overwhelmed by a lot of it as it was more serious than either my Dad or I had thought. In hindsight, the big multiclass at Rutland probably wasn't the right one for me to go to for my first regatta. I decided not to go to it this year because it is so big etc.
Oxford was much more relaxed and more fun - it was smaller and it was at my "home" reservior and there was less sailing too. But in many ways still a challenge.
I was glad I took part in the regattas but I don't think they will be playing a big role in my life from now on... probably just the local ish ones.
In the entry I wrote about going to Rutland, I used the follow quote to describe it:
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ Andre Gilde
To me that is about more than sailing and water (if it was ever meant to be about that in the first place). It's about trying new things and going outside of your comfort zone.
And tonight I was thinking about that quote again. As I finally achieved something many people have been encouraging and pushing me to do for a long time.
I sailed a challenger single handedly.
It's actually the 4th time I've done it. But it was the first time I felt happy and comfortable and I enjoyed it.
The first time was a long time ago, last year at some point. I was nervous and it was a bit badly handled. I'm sure that I was fine but some advice I was given and add in my nerves and... I made it back onto the beach, into my chair and burst into tears.
The second time was 4 weeks ago. I'd been refusing to try again but I agreed on the grounds that a safety boat would be with me. I was really really scared and I needed that reassurance. I never saw them and after 15 minutes was beginning to freak out so went in. Everyone was really surprised when they asked if I enjoyed it and I said no but it was the truth.
Fast forward a week and I had a bit of a moan at some people about how I felt they weren't taking my concerns and my fear seriously. I also was very unsure about trying again and they knew. They arranged for one of the guys to be in the safety boat right by me "hugging" me. He sails challengers and is a nice guy, who was really encouraging to me. It went ok but there wasn't much wind so not much was achieved. Stalemate.
Last week I was sick and didn't go but tonight I just did it. I was really nervous and I did have the same guy shadowing me a bit... I sailed a tiny bit alone then he caught up with me and then twice he went off and came back to check on me a bit later. I got loads of tips from him and I feel like I learned a lot.
And as I sat there sailing on the opposite side of the reservior to the beach, going fast and with one of the sponsons out of the water (whcih makes me nervous), I thought of that quote. And I thought "I'm doing it."
Fifty five minutes later, tired and sore but happy I came in.
I'm sure it's not going to be easy as from now on... but I've achieved a long held goal.