Sailing School: Day 2; Tacking, Jibing, Reaching...

On Sunday 11 June, 2017, Total Croatia Sailing set out with Ultra-Sailing School in Split, to learn how to sail and we quickly discovered that sailing lessons are necessary. Day 2 brought us new information and a newfound confidence on the water.

To be straight forward at the very beginning, and to answer the question which ended my report from day 1; the school is necessary to learn how to sail. And today, a bit on why Ultra-Sailing is an excellent choice.

The day starts with a theory lesson. The first day, Toni explained all about the winds, and the angles of the sails, what does a dagger board do, and tried to explain the forces that affect the sailboat at sea.

Of course, after a while, it gets confusing, as it seems like a lot of information at first, but as we embarked the sailboat and got to the sea, he repeated it all, and when you feel it in your hands while steering the rudder, or managing the winch, one understands it quickly.

Of course, to get out on the water and sail, one has to be prepared. One of the problems for me was, obviously the hard work I was not ready for. And then, talking to my friends who have sailed their whole lives, they told me I picked the right school.

There are a few good ones out there, but as I told them about our skipper Toni and that we do all the sailor work onboard, they asked me what exactly was our job or tasks as trainees.

It was our job to unplug the ropes, unfold the sails, and prepare the sailboat to set sail. After Toni got us out of the marina, even on the first day it was our job to remove the fenders and to hoist the sails. The first day he showed us how, and on the second day, we had to do it on our own.

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After four or five hours of sailing, the sailboat looks a bit different, with ropes all over the place, and it needs to straightened up. Also, setting the fenders is in order, folding the sails, and all the small things that need to be done. Again, the skipper asked us to do it, and we did it. I guess that is why it is called “Ultra-Sailing-School.”

My friends were sorry for me, as they know about my “love” for physical work, but they were happy that there is a school that teaches it the proper way. As they explained it to me – sailing is team work, and if one member of the crew does not do his job properly, the whole team suffers.

And, if you were to have a skipper who dose all the work, teaching only sailing techniques, then trainees might go home with the belief that all the ropes miraculously get straightened by themselves.

And while on that matter, I have to mention something, as the journalist in me has to find something to nag about. As we cleaned the sailboat after we were finished for the day, we picked up a bunch of water bottles (provided by Ultra-Sailing – they have their own brand), and as my fellow sailors from Switzerland and me are a bit on the green side, we tried to find a recycling bin in the marina.

We did not find it, and when we asked about it, nobody knew if there is one. I cannot claim that there is not one in ACI Marina Split, as I did not investigate all the way, but I can assure you it is not easy to find it.

Was there sailing at all? Yes, but believe me, the sailing itself is just a part of the experience. Tacking, jibing, reaching, bearing away are the terms I got familiar with. On the first day, my Swiss colleagues and I often tacked when jibing was in order, but by the second day, the number of mistakes decreased as we began to get a feel for the whole sailing business.

We had a lovely “Maestral” wind to sail with. Maestral is known as the ‘summer breeze’, she blows from the NW, typically in the afternoons, is constant and cooling – perfect for first time sailors. As on the first day, we followed orders from our skipper, but by the end of our day 2, we managed to change course on our own a couple of times without the assistance of Toni.

Small victories and accomplishments are always one to enjoy. Stay tuned for Day 3, where I will tell you about the match race we had with some other sailors near Čiovo.

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Did you want to learn to sail in Split, Croatia? Check out Ultra-Sailing School for more details.

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