The nightmare of multitasking while trimming your sails… “Prepare to tack!”.

Another night at the marina was quiet and noisy at the same time. I was lying in my bed trying to imagine how I would feel if we were in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea trying to get from Malta to Crete or from Turkey to Italy, pulling a “nighter”. It did not scare me at all. I had a feeling that I would love it – the sense of freedom and being so close with nature on my own applied to me rather strongly. Parcifal was slowly rocking me into the sleep but I kept looking thorough small skylight above my head, watching darkening sky losing its golden sunset colours. The ropes of our and neighbouring boats were banging on masts and I could hear ducks talking quietly with each other. In the evenings, when everyone apart from us and few people went home, the marina was quieting down, getting ready to sleep.

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I was tossing in my sleeping bag thinking about today. I was feeling tired and guilty as I have not done the homework Krystian asked us to do – I did not look into Commands materials he left after finishing the day. I felt drained and could not make myself look into it under the death penalty. I decided I will read the booklet in the morning before we go for our breakfast. True to be told I still had a massive problem with understanding how to sail and how to feel the wind, and the fact that when you are in charge and need to manoeuvre you need to tell your crew what to do was not helping at all. I started to think that you must be born with the skills as learning doing it all at the same time was simply impossible. I could see myself as a quite good crew member, following the commands rather than giving them to others.

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Before tacking we were supposed to say: Prepare to tack and that was easy enough, because I had to say it before doing anything else. But in the middle of the tacking manoeuvre, while pushing the tiller towards mainsail I had to look at my second sail (jibsail) and ask to trim jibsail’s sheets accordingly. At the same time I needed to remember to switch sides of the boat (yes, in the middle of the whole manoeuvre!), still holding tiller firmly and not losing it even for a second when the boom was moving slowly to the other side, try not to land in beam reach as the whole thing was  about going from one tack close-hauled to the opposite tack close-hauled and keeping the boat in it, and trimming my mainsail to make sure I am using the power of the wind to the best possible extent… uff, now, when I look at the description of the whole thing I wonder how we were actually able to do it! Furthermore I have to admit that after repeating manoeuvre with commends for the hundredth time we were doing quite well, confusing only the sides of the boat and asking each other to trim right sheet of jibsail thinking about the left, but that is just technicality. We were even considering putting letters L and R on each side to make life easier for ourselves – this might be something what we will do in a future on our own boat! I do wonder how many people have the same problem???

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Giving the right commands at the right time is a real nightmare. But I can see the necessity of learning them. When you are the Helmsman you are responsible for what is happening to the boat. It is you who should see the need to trim sails or warn your crew. Of course, after a while and with a good crew the need to tell them what to do is smaller, but when you are starting your sailing adventure you need to learn the basics.

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The next day welcomed us with rain. It was gloomy and grey, the clouds were gathering on the sky and it did not look very nice. We sailed regardless, getting completely soaked while shouting commends to each other gulping the rain and the wind. Even then I knew I would not trade this day for anything.

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Szkoła żeglarstwa Kliper – oddział Szczecin

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