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First Time Experience

Written by Nicole Berg

“Do you want to go sailing with us on Wednesday?” a friend asked my husband at a garden party last week.
Andrew replied by saying, “…Is it a prerequisite that we know how to sail?” Thankfully, the answer was no! We were ecstatic. Living in land-locked Alberta, Canada for the vast majority of our lives means that getting an opportunity to go sailing on a real sailboat in the Bahamas is a dream come true. The fact that we were getting to sail The Rage was even more spectacular.
Wednesday could not have come sooner. When we woke up, the sky was cloudless and the sun was hot. After a few too many cups of coffee (which I would later pay for…) we charged down to the dock. A little boat quickly pulled up with about 12 smiling people aboard. Names were given (lots of “Dave’s”) and we were heading towards The Rage.
All I can say is that once I stepped foot onto the 28ft. red and white boat with the ginormous sail, I was hooked. At that moment, it wouldn’t have mattered to me if I ever stepped on land again. I wanted to be on the ocean!
The experienced crew talked and laughed as we (they…) raised the sail and guided us safely out of the harbour. My new friend Wendy, who was the only other female on the boat, talked about marriage and kids and life while the men talked about things more pertinent to our current sailing situation, like wind. I didn’t know how to contribute to that conversation so I just smiled along. We were all excited.
For those of you who have been sailing before, you probably know how to ‘tack’ and that sailing is actually a work out! For those of you who live by mountains and perhaps haven’t sailed, I’m telling you it is gloriously challenging. A joke I’ve heard a few times but still makes me chuckle none the less goes something along the lines of: “This ‘ere is called the Boom. The reason it’s probably called the Boom is because if you don’t duck when we tack and she hits your head, it will make a pretty loud ‘boom’!”
As we sailed calmly over the aqua coloured water, talking and making friends with the crew before the race officially began, all I could think about was how much coffee I had consumed that morning. And how said coffee was now officially ‘through’ my system. What does one do in a situation like this? I asked some of my new friends and then Wendy and I realized that the half-cut empty gallon water jug they were grinning at and holding up was the answer. I guess you ‘gotta do what you ‘gotta do… 😉
Once the race started, we continued to have the best time. Occasionally Wendy and I would find ourselves in the ‘hole’ in the center of the boat getting out of the way while the men above were ‘tacking’. After a while I began to join in and would slide the pries across the deck and help balance the weight. My favorite part, other than the great laughs and conversation and sunshine and ocean would be hanging out on the pries over the crystal clear water. What a riot! Watching the boat tilt at what seems like an impossible angle while you and a handful of others scooch your way onto some planks of wood like a nervous pirate and link your ankles under yourself in order to try and balance the weight… what a thrill! The more comfortable I got, the more I stopped white-knuckling the boards and began to even lay back on them a bit. I could probably have slept there, if it weren’t for the fact that we had to keep switching back and forth and it would probably have been dangerous.
I’m still not sure how we ‘did’ in the race, whether we won or not, but I do know that I had the best time out there. A few bruises from crouching under the Boom and almost being swept into the ocean once only added to the thrill. Thank you Hope Town Sailing Club for including the two St. James Methodist Church youth workers in the last race of the winter season! If you ever need extra bodies aboard again… you know who to call 🙂

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Photos by Will Heyer

Filed under: Crew Experiences, Uncategorized

One Response

  1. Wendy Berenbaum says:

    Well said Nicole!!! What a great day and an unforgettable experience. Thank you Dave for having me aboard as your official “Beer Wench”. This was a day I will soon never forget.

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Racing Schedule

Wednesday, April 4
Hope Town Sailing Club
Triangular Course
Charles Pollack Trophy

April 24 - 28
George Town, Exuma
National Family Island Regatta

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