The Final Countdown

24 Hours from now I will be getting on a boat and embark on a 5-Day RYA Competent Crew Course via the Shearwater Sailing School.

The boat we'll be sailing is very similar to the one pictured here. It's a Hallberg Rassy 36.

I shall be sharing this 36 foot boat with 3 other people, non of whom I've met before, and we shall be sailing in and out of the River Orwell and along the Suffolk Coast (and perhaps a bit further - who knows).

To say this boat is cosy, is an understatement. It's going to be like living in a tent with 3 strangers. A tent that, for much of the time, will be on a hill with a 20% slope.
Should be fun.

Although from the outside, I often find sailboats look really small, I'm always amazed at how much bigger on the inside they can feel. Cozy, yes, but I'm amazed at how much, and how many people, one can fit on such a small boat. I always think there is a little TARDIS wizardry going on.

To say I'm excited is another understatement. I am absolutely buzzing!

So, here is the recommended kit list from the school's website, and I'm pretty confident I have everything (and possibly too much).

  • Warm jumper
  • Fleece
  • Two complete changes of clothing
  • Soft shoes
  • At least 2 pairs of warm socks
  • Sleeping bag
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear (duh!)
  • Towel and wash kit
  • Suntan lotion (that's a bit optimistic for Sept. in England)
  • Lip salve (I think I have some somewhere.... )
  • Sunglasses (again, optimistic but I've been advised by a friend that even if the sun isn't bright, the glare from the water can be intense.)
  • Torch (a.k.a. flashlight)
  • Woollen hat, scarf, gloves (I now have 2 wool hats (stocking caps to my American friends), one a bright yellow as my housemate is worried about me falling in the water and not being seen in my grey one.)
  • Sun hat (again, optimistic, but got it anyway)
  • Casual clothing for going ashore
  • Medical items
  • Sea boots
  • Water proofs
In addition to the list above, I'm taking a bottle of rum and home-made ginger bread. Maybe some home-made breakfast bars as well, if we have time to make them today. 

My biggest concern isn't that I'll forget something, but rather that I'll over pack. I don't want to show up being the over-enthuesiastic newbie-sailor, with all brand new shiny kit that I've gone over the top on. I'm sure it'll all be fine, and by the end of the week I'll appreciate what I took, probably wish I brought one or two other things, and will be putting a couple things on eBay. 

I'm also slightly (and it is ever so slightly) concerned that, as I've been listening to every sailing-related audiobook I can find for months, that I'm going into this with far too much head-smarts and expectations, and the real-life will be completely different than what I have pictured. I really don't want to be miss-know-it-all but with zero real-world experience to back it up with. And, just how many hyphenated-words can I fit into one paragraph? 

I have SO many questions, SO many things I want to learn and experience this week. *calm.... breath...*

OK, so my plan is to take my macbook and try and update this blog each night we're in port with pictures and a re-cap of the day.