A Letter from the Converted!
Work has been horrendous. Deadline after deadline after deadline has left your heart racing, your sleep disturbed and you’re feeling 10 years older than your actual age.
Now, close your eyes and imagine.
Imagine the sun on your face. Feel the wind in your hair. Hear the gulls crying. Taste the spray on your lips. Five minutes after hoisting a sail and pushing away from shore, work is not even a distant memory – it’s totally forgotten. And that for me is why I love to be on the water….and yes, sometimes in the water too!
It’s fair to say I’m not a natural sailor, but the joy of Women on Water is people of every age and ability coming together in a non-competitive environment to learn, gain confidence and – most importantly – to just have fun.
Being honest, I was nervous the first time I ventured out with this fantastic group. A fellow sailor spotted my slightly white face and asked “What’s the worst that can happen?”. I felt it best to stay silent on that point, but allowed myself to be teamed up with two established members in a very stable Laser Bahia. I don’t think I touched the tiller once that evening and felt under absolutely no pressure to do so, but over the next few weeks I sailed with several different women and – thanks to a relaxed combination of pleasure cruising and training – my confidence gradually grew. I went from a couple of minutes on the helm, to taking a boat out alone and now – five years on – I’ve passed my RYA 1&2, and own my own boat – a direct result of the confidence WoW has given me.
I’ve also had the opportunity to try out several different dinghies, both monohull and single hull, happy in the knowledge there’s always someone to help me launch and get back into shore. More experienced sailors are free to spread their (water) wings as much as they want, while those just starting out are supported and able to take things at their own pace.
And time on the water is always followed by drinks and cake on shore, where we unpick our evening to laugh at our mistakes, learn from other’s input and share the shear enjoyment of time totally immersed in the natural world. No two sessions are the same: sometimes the wind blows and you need 100% of your concentration; sometimes there’s very little wind and you listen to the fish jumping, watch the birds roost and take in the fabulous sunsets that always seem to cast their colours over Draycote reservoir.
Sometimes, I’m sorry, but it DOES rain.
What never changes is the sheer exhilaration in members’ faces when they return to shore, full of stories and excitement; work, not even a distant memory.
From a Woman on Water@Draycote
Women on Water starts at 5.30pm each Monday evening. The session is now free with no subs to pay, just £5 if you need to hire a club boat.