Saturday I got up early for a sail on the American Spirit schooner. We had plenty of crew, but I was able to pitch in on a few tasks. I filled the cooler with water, soda, and ice, helped the young children to get geared up in life-jackets, tidied up the deck by putting away sail ties, tightened up the foresheet, learned how to coil up the black lines (not sure what they are called), and then I scrubbed down the starboard deck to get her ready for her evening sail. While we were out, the children helped to hoist the mainsail and took the helm to steer the boat for a while. It was a wonderful day for a sail and we all had a really relaxed, enjoyable time. (After the big ol' spider was shooed away by my shoe, at least!)
Sunday, I helped to replace some wire halyards with rope halyards, assisted in some carpentry projects, and did some other odds and ends. I got a chance to hop around on the Flying Scot sailboats, which was fun. I think we'll be using those when I take my lessons. They are now all fitted with rope halyards and neatly covered up and ready for use!
In the afternoon, I went out sailing with a ham friend on his sloop. The sky looked rather ominous earlier in the day, but it cleared up by 2 pm and we had a nice breeze. We raised both the mainsail and the jib and went cruising around. I learned how to hoist the sails, was introduced to trimming them, and got my first experience in tacking (turning the boat around through the wind). I will have to practice my bowline knot so I will be able to fasten the jib clew to the sheets (the lines that allow you to control the jib sail). I also got a chance to take the helm, which was pretty exciting, though a little scary since I had no idea how the boat would respond at first. It was a bit tricky, but I didn't steer into anyone, so I think it was successful! For a while, we were really picking up some speed and the boat was leaning over to starboard as she caught the wind. It was great fun! I'm looking forward to going out again and learning more.
"Helm's a lee!"