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 Your instructor today is Captain Bob...

 Due to popular and some would say, inexplicable demand, I've decided to address the many requests to share the great amount of sailing knowledge I have accrued over my many months and dozens of miles sailed. Now since I recognise the fact that there may be one or even two (million) more experienced sailors on the coast this lesson is directed at those poor souls who believe they can benefit from my vast experience. Even you more expert sailors should read this to sharpen and enhance your already broad knowledge. To avoid confusion amongst you beginning sailors, I will try to avoid all those confusing nautical terms. I assure you I know them all… but as a courtesy to beginners I'll put them in quotes.


(1) Get a boat. The boat should have a stick in the middle somewhere unless it has more than one stick in which case they should be lined up in a row. Everyone knows the more sticks the better but usually only one is affordable. On these sticks one should have rags of clothe called 'sails.'
MOST IMPORTANT! Get a boat with a motor! Everyone who 'sails' knows that is the most important part of the boat. Also a hot tip, be sure the boat has 'fuel' for the 'motor.'

(2) Essential accessories; the boat must have a 'fridge' or at least an 'esky.' Cold drinks are no mere luxury but a required part of your 'navigation system.' (I'll explain later) You may also need 'food.' This is not too tricky. You may just go through the market and pick up tins that strike your fancy. My favourite are the 'red' ones. If colour coded provisioning isn't to your standard then you should get… A 'FIRST MATE.' The value of this accessory is a matter of some contention amongst us sailors but the virtue of having someone on the boat to order around should not be undervalued. (lift that barge, tote that bale etc etc) First mates normally look after the 'food' and many other things. In my opinion they are indispensable.

(3) Other accessories: Liability Insurance is not a bad idea depending on the location of your boat. If you are in a crowded 'marina' surrounded by expensive boats with people (witness's) around most of the time then you should have insurance. When I manoeuvre around a marina I often get asked if I have insurance (don't know why!) and I've found it best to answer 'no' even if ya do, as it seems to make other's remarkably helpful. Since word has gotten around, whenever I come into the marina there is an army of willing hands to guide me into 'the birth.' It's great to have so many good friends!

First… open a beer, then untie all the lines holding the boat to the 'jetty' or better yet, this is an opportunity to order around the 'first mate.' Now start the motor and engage in a backward gear straight away as by now you have probably drifted near or are already 'alongside' another boat. (See above; other accessories) Remember to keep the open beer in the right hand whist all this is going on, as a dumb smile and a raised beer can/stubby is the universally accepted explanation for all errors in 'navigation.' By now you have probably made your way out of the marina with lots of help from friendly neighbours raising their hands in a salute or something like that. If you have really impressed, you may be honoured with many shouted nautical terms in addition to the salutes. I admit there are still some even I don't know but they mostly seem to have a rectal reference, eg; arse this or that.


 By the time you are done with your first beer you should be out where the wind is so you can begin to 'sail.' First stand by the mast and put your finger in the air to test the wind direction. Find out which is the side of the stick the wind is coming from and going to. Next find the rope that fastens to the top of the sail. When done with that open another beer and yell for the 'first mate' to come up from the food place and haul up the sail while you 'steer.' Be sure to tell the 'first mate' to stand on the side of the 'stick' where the wind is 'going to.' If the first mate seems to have trouble hauling up the sail with the rope you can then criticise the first mate for her lack of 'seamanship' and thus establish your own position as 'skipper.' Be sure to retrieve the 'first mate' from the water, where you will find her after the sail fills and knocks her off the 'deck.' This might be a good time to reassess which side of the 'stick' you instruct the 'first mate' to stand on when pulling up the sail.

Since by now you are aware of the proper technique for performance sailing (about 2000 revs on the motor) you will have arrived at the 'anchorage' just in time for beer #3. To find the best spot in the 'anchorage' look for the other boats. Find the two closest together and go between them. Be sure to raise your beer in salute and announce that you have no insurance to bring out the best in your new neighbours. While this seems to have a dramatic effect on new, shiny plastic boats, especially 'catamarans,' you will find large steel boats react very little. Often raising their own beer in salute while saying, “your funeral.” Your first mates facial colour should now be restored and thus she should be ready to assist 'setting' the anchor. After showing your 'first mate' how to 'drop' the anchor but before telling her how to 'secure' the thing, order her to 'hold tight' while you 'set' the anchor. A few moments at full throttle in reverse should do. After retrieving your 'first mate' from the water again, there are several things to remember, One; the location of the 'first aid kit' as the 'bow roller' and 'pullpit' are a tight fit for a first mate when clinging to a chain. Two; this is a good time to clear the boat of any potentially lethal objects, knives, guns, broken bottles etc. Three; hide all life jackets as after the first day sailing is when first mates are most prone to 'jump ship.' Because of your first mate's lack of 'seamanship,' you now have a lot of chain out and you are very close to one of your neighbours, usually the shiniest one. Even though you have 'stowed' the 'pfd's' and the mate has had enough swimming for the day, if you are close enough for her to step aboard another boat she may consider a drooling pirate rapist preferable to your company and flee. No problem, simply bring in most of the chain. If your 'depth sounder' says 10 metres then 11 metres of chain is perfect. One last job is to pull out the $9.95 solar garden light and fasten to something with a 'zip tie.' This is the traditional 'anchor light.'

Congratulations!! You have done your first 'sail' and now have many new friends and adventures waiting for you. With a firm grasp of the fundamentals learned the first day there really isn't much more to learn. Fair Winds!!