Having completed my first year of university, I wanted to do something adventurous before heading back home. With a few quick searches on Google, I came across Draycote Water Sailing Club (DWSC) and realised – what better way to spend my summer than by learning a new skill? Windsurfing? Powerboating? Nope. I was going to learn how to sail.
I had always wondered how sailors managed to effortlessly navigate massive boats against gusty winds through the simple tug of a rope. Little did I know, this 4-day course revealed the profundity of sailing and how it involves so much more than pulling colourful ropes.
Day 1, the weather was lovely and I was introduced to five other trainees. Most of us looked like we had just seen a ghost, which meant I was probably not the only one without any sailing experience in this course. Nonetheless, all was forgotten when we were greeted by two friendly instructors who reassured us that we were in safe hands and that we would be able to master the basics of sailing in these four days. They demonstrated the process of rigging a sailboat and spared no time in letting us get our hands dirty. It was evident that the instructors were experienced as they had answers to all of our questions, including the silly ones. Lucky for us, it was not very windy on the first day, making it easy for us to control the boats.
As the week progressed, the wind began to pick up, and by Day 3, we were on the boats by ourselves while the instructor followed us in a powerboat. We found ourselves capsizing quite often, but having gone through the capsizing drill on Day 1, falling into the water was not as frightening. In fact, after getting wet the first time, falling in was just starting to become fun. Having said that, buoyancy aids have a special place in my heart now.
On the last day, the wind speed was over 12 knots (which fyi feels like a tornado for beginners). Nonetheless, I knew that I was more confident than three days ago, and that sailing in this condition would simply be useful in enhancing my skills. Sailing that day was something else, as every gust of wind made me feel an unbridled sense of freedom and sheer admiration for the sport. Along with learning the technicalities of sailing, this course taught me how to constantly adapt to the changing nature of the wind and waves to a point where adjusting the boat comes naturally.
It is crazy how much a person can learn in four days – and it is all thanks to DWSC and the fellow instructors who provided me with this remarkable experience. I hold the club in high prestige and definitely recommend their courses to anyone who loves to try new things. Whether it is sailing, power boating, or even windsurfing – it is never too late to try a new activity!