Spacing out my sailing days, and trying to pick green-flag days that won’t tax me too much, I picked this Monday. If I remember, flag was green when I arrived at the dock after work but went yellow just as I was ready to go out. Also just as I was walking to the dock house to check out a boat, they called on the PA for someone to give informal instruction. Perfect.
Thomas had just got his green rating and was eager to learn what he needed for yellow. The just-yellow wind today promised to be good for that. We rigged mainsail-only for the experience he would need for his yellow test. Unlike last Thursday with Allison, I loaded Thomas with many tips on sailing, details of going through maneuvers, and theory. For feel, I tried to get him to sense the extra pull that comes when flow attaches to the sail, and I pointed out the times the boat slowed when the flow detached. He was eating it up and wanting more.
“How many more times will I have to sail before I take my yellow test?” “Mmm, twice,” I boldly answered. You need to go out with another person to get tips from them. With informal instruction, you’ll get different advice from everyone. Another person will tell you totally different things than what I’ve told you today. You’ll have to figure out what works for you. Then at least one day you’ll want to practice on the test course by yourself…
He didn’t know about the test course so I described it, and urged him to sail us from mid-river where we had spent most of the afternoon to closer to the dock to see if there was a test course set up. No, there wasn’t. Several racing programs, including a big youth regatta, were going on at the same time and all CBI buoys were incorporated into race courses. No matter, there were two pink buoys, probably set as a starting line or leeward gate (although now badly skewed) that were relatively unattended. “Here, I’ll show you” and I took the tiller to show how he would have to sail around buoys for the yellow test. I talked through windward and leeward mark roundings, tacks and jibes between the marks and staying close to the course. I didn’t mean to impress him but he was blown away. “Wow, you had the boat going so much faster than I ever did! How did you do that? Is the wind stronger now?” Huh. I don’t know. To not take credit for sailing better, I agreed the wind was up. The wind was up slightly, but not a lot. It’s possible that the quick succession of maneuvers just seemed exciting, or stirred up more bow noise. It’s also possible that a big difference was my boat handling that maintained speed through the maneuvers. (He, for example, didn’t have Allison’s Hobie-Cat sense of maintaining speed.)
Anyway, the sun was getting low, I had packed his head with far more information than he would be able to remember, and at the end there, had given him a boat handling goal to work toward for his yellow test. We headed in.