With thanks to:
Rockley Watersports


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The Next Level

3: Going it alone

Time in the boat with an instructor was followed by time in the boat without one, but still in groups. As Level 2s, our first task was to rig the boat with our crew. This seemed to go very well, working as a team and getting everything set up as we’d been shown. Until on the tow out to the sailing area we — raring to go — untied ourselves from the dinghy in front and began our sail... several seconds later the boom and mainsail fell down! A definite ‘stall the engine at the traffic lights’ situation. A RIB was on us immediately though and an instructor in the boat sorting out the situation swiftly, much to our blushes.

Drama over, we carried on sailing a triangle course with the instructors in a RIB in the middle, generally assisting and giving encouragement. On Sunday, however, the Level 2 sailors were given the chance to go it alone in Laser Picos. In between taking my Level 1 and going to Rockley I’d been away on a Neilson holiday and spent a bit of time practising alone in a Pico, so I was quite looking forward to another chance at getting to grips with sailing in my own time in a boat alone.

As it turned out, sailing ‘in my own time’ actually became a bit of a hindrance. At first I had a panic of confidence and carried on quietly sailing up and down: worried about leaving my comfort zone. One of the instructors breezed over in a RIB and casually encouraged me to tackle the triangle course. I knew I had to, but seemed to be stuck in first gear. It came down to one thing… knowing I’d have to gybe again, but this time all on my own.

The wind was beginning to die down, and I realised how frustrated I’d feel if I didn’t at least try. A few races had been organised for the afternoon, with the Level 2s in singlehanders and the Level 1s still in groups in the Wayfarers with instructors.

I bit the bullet and tackled the course — and the gybe — all alone. Needless to say, it was with a fantastic sense of achievement that I returned to shore that evening.


With thanks to:
Rockley Watersports

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We spent our time initially recapping basic skills on the water

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The atmosphere at the centre is quite laid back and relaxed

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