The day I realized I do not know from which direction the wind is blowing.

I was looking at a huge bag we were about to take with us on a yacht we were going to stay for a week while trying to learn how to sail. As always life showed me I did not need and I did not use a half of the things I packed. And for a moment, when we were packing at home, I thought I am not going over the board. How naive!

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How is it even possible for things to grow between home and the final destination? I swear they do! And when I am starting the “packing business” at home I am so sure I am taking only the things I really need and nothing more. But when I arrive at the final destination – I have more than I need, every time!

Anyway, regardless all the drama and the huge bag plus two sleeping bags we were carrying from Tomek’s (Marcin’s brother) car I felt excited. We were really tired after spending few hours with my sister in Berlin and then not catching on enough sleep the night before. But the day was lovely! Sun was shining and we were finally going to learn how to sail and sleep on a yacht for the first time (first time for me at least)! Life could not be better!

The point of the whole exercise was to learn how to sail and see how the “living on a boat” would work for us. Since we are planning on traveling more on the sea than on the land in a future we wanted to find out if we are going to like this type of transport.

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The marina reminded me of a camping, a camping with boats on it, not with tents or caravans. Krystian, our trainer, was waiting for us together with his girlfriend Kamila, sitting on a boat we were going to learn and live on for the next few days. When I called him on his mobile, he waived enthusiastically from the deck of our new home. With growing excitement and huge bag all three of us went to meet Krystian and Kamila.

There is one thing which must be said about people who do what they love – their patience for others who want to try something they have never done before has no end. I cannot tell you how many times Krystian was trying to teach me how to recognize the direction the wind was blowing so I could position the yacht and make sure I am able to do whatever manoeuvre I needed to… He believed in me more than I could at this stage and I am really grateful for this. His patience showed how wonderful person he really is.

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It was nine o’clock in the morning. Parcifal – our new home, was docking quietly in the wharf. I have never thought about how much space is on a boat and I was surprised to discover that the one we were going to stay on was designed to sail on the sea! It looked so small from outside but the space provided inside was surprisingly big. At least 5 people were able to sleep in and you could even cook a simple meal!

We spent the morning learning about safety on a boat, yacht construction and theory of sailing. Then, after lunch, it was the first time we could sail away. And as you can imagine – this was something we were really looking forward to. I think we were quite lucky with the weather on the first day – it was windy, so we really could see what one can do when one know what to do with the sails! On this day I have discovered that my favourite boat “point of sail” was bajdewind, which in English would be close-hauled. Although, as Krystian noticed, I have tendency of going to beam-reach (polwiatr) but was trying to avoid for some reason broad-reach (bagsztag). I think, this is because I cannot feel the wind when it’s blowing from behind!

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Krystian gave me a brilliant tip which helped me enormously with my “recognition of the direction of the wind” problem. This is something every first time sailor can try and it really works! If you want to know the direction the wind is blowing – lift your face, turn as many times as you need and try to listen to the wind hissing in your ears – you will catch it eventually and you will be able to recognize the direction of the wind and the position your yacht is in. The only downside is you do look stupid, like a dog trying to catch a scent, but this is what you are doing to be honest! It is not working as good when it’s really quiet and the wind is practically escaping on every occasion, but this is a good start on a journey to catch the wind direction for someone like me, who was getting lost too many times.

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I think this is the most important thing you need to feel – recognizing the wind direction, being able to say at which point of sailing your boat is. This is the start as if you cannot say that, then you cannot manoeuvre your boat and you cannot sail. You can easily land in a no-go zone and just stop all together, you can unintentionally jibe and this is really dangerous as you can hit someone with boom and the person could land in water and drown if they lose consciousness. And if something like that happen, you need to know what to do to help them get back as quickly as it is possible. And in order to do that, again, you need to know at which point of sailing your boat is…

From the first day I knew I will love sailing, even though I am not good at it. Sailing is an ultimate definition of freedom and peace, when you can truly join with Nature and draw your strength from Her. We spent our first evening with Daniel – friendly sailor who is permanently living on a boat, drinking bear, listening to sea shanties and enjoying each other’s company.

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Szkoła żeglarstwa Kliper – oddział Szczecin

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2 thoughts on “The day I realized I do not know from which direction the wind is blowing.”

  1. I love sailing but I’m not that good at it either. I’m sure you’re much better than me now. I forget how to do the knots and everything. I didn’t know that trick to gauge the wind direction. i just cheated and looked at the pointer at the top of the mast but then I only helmed once, briefly, in a racing yacht.

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    1. I was told that I really need to try to feel the wind – and I am glad I have tried 🙂 Now I can just relay on myself and use what I learnt. I am kind of unhappy we have all our holidays planned for this year as I would love to do more sailing. But hey, there is always next year 🙂

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