The Path to Being a True Sailor

I may now be a hardened man of the sea, but no one starts off this way. When I first heard about boat trailers, I assumed that was something to do with an upcoming movie about boats. Like, the trailers for the movie. I suppose some movies DO contain boats, but that really wasn’t what people meant and now that I’m familiar with such things, I know it for sure.

Perhaps that was the first lesson I learned. After that I signed up for an immersive sailing course, because I was sick of the same, boring holidays and wanted something a bit more physical. It was taken by a grizzled sea captain who’d been doing outboard motor repair here in Melbourne for over sixty years, or so he told us. It wasn’t loads of fun, I’ll admit. We were shorthanded after he threw two people off the boat on the first day and made them swim to shore. Apparently they were pretty useless. After that our workload increased, and we had to learn a whole lot more about sailing than I ever thought possible. We took the helm in shifts, two hours asleep and one hour at the wheel. It was bearable until the captain tossed another guy overboard near the shore because he’d been whistling too loud when people were trying to rest, and also maybe some kind of funny looks were going on.

Two weeks we spent aboard that boat. Two weeks and seven people tossed overboard because they just couldn’t cut it with the sailing life. I spent every waking moment thinking I’d be next, but eventually we made it back to shore and the three people who were left were given a hearty congratulations by the captain. We were true sailors, learned in the ways of hoisting a mainsail, manning the helm and even a bit of on-board boat trailer repairs. Melbourne gained three more sailors that day, so he said. It was an intense course, but I’m glad I was one of the few who made it through. Shame I work a desk job in the city centre, but…I’m sure I’ll find a use for these skills someday.