We have just completed the first CYA Basic Cruising Course with all participants and boats in good condition!
The success of the course was almost a given from the start: we had our marvellous marina facility for a classroom, 19 enthusiastic sailors, and an assortment of sailing vessels. Using the extensive CYA Basic Cruising Standard as our guide, it looked doubtful at first whether we would be able to get through all the stipulated information and skills. However, the students applied themselves with enthusiasm and several experienced sailors lent assistance with on-water instruction. As a real bonus, we were blessed with almost perfect weather.
It was apparent from the outset that the participants’ primary motivation was to gain experience and develop confidence in practical boat handling in order to enjoy sailing with family and friends in a safe way. With this in mind we spent a majority of our time out on the water, taking advantage of the great winds .
The first day saw (what to onlookers might have seemed like mass confusion): an array of boats circling the marina, alternating in forward and reverse. This exercise allowed the students to experience the manoeuvring characteristics of sailboats in confined spaces. Occasionally, one vessel would break off to land at the visitors dock then quickly return to the circling armada. Everyone felt this was good boat-handling practice, and it increased their confidence in launching and manoeuvring their own boats.
Each day alternated between lectures ashore and on-water exercises. On the final day, the students demonstrated their new abilities in the “Seamanship Race.” All boats began the race in the hove-to position and proceeded to an upwind-downwind slalom. Boats completed the race by successfully anchoring close to shore with sails down. During the race, each boat was required to reef the main and to perform a crew-overboard manoeuvre, all the while applying the rules of collision avoidance.
Organizing this course was a great learning experience for me, as well. I especially want to thank the students for their enthusiastic participation and suggestions.
I look forward to seeing all the participants out on the water in the near future!