Sailing on Boston Harbor

Posted on Saturday 1 October 2005

This week, I took the week off to take a sailing course at the Boston Sailing Center. I’ve decided to take this course as I’m planning on getting a boat next spring. Although I’ve sailed quite a bit in my life, I’ve never had any formal instruction in sailing, and thought that taking a macro cruising course might be the best way to get the formal education that I think I will need for the type of sailing I look forward to doing.

The weather for this week was pretty amazing for sailing. Monday, even though thunderstorms were predicted, it didn’t even rain on us, while we were out sailing. The wind was pretty gusty and made for some challenging sailing. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were typical days, and each was a bit nicer than the day before. We’d have a lecture in the morning, and then break for lunch. After lunch, we’d go out on Boston’s inner harbor for the afternoon.

Thursday was slightly different. We had a storm front coming through, so Ken, our instructor for the day, decided that we’d go sailing in the morning. With winds of 15–20 miles and gusts up to 30 mph by the time we were headed in, it was very challenging sailing weather. Once we were on the mooring, we bagged the sails and headed in for the lecture part of the day.

The last day of the vacation week format is a day-long cruise to George’s Island, in the outer harbor. Friday’s weather was almost perfect for sailing. The wind was a bit light in the morning, and it took us a bit longer to get out to George’s Island than we had expected. Because of the light winds, we had to cut our lunch short and weren’t able to tour the Civil War era fortress on the island. On our way back, we it looked like the sea breeze was dying out, so we called for a powerboat to meet us and pickup Nanette, the other student in my class, so she could make her train. Since I wasn’t in a hurry, I decided to stay with the boat and sail it in.

The wind picked up as we made our way back to the inner harbor. The real excitement came when we attempted to moor the boat. After dousing the spinnaker and the main, Ken caught the mooring. A gust caught the spinnaker and filled it, and started to pull the boat backwards, through the mooring field. We doused the spinnaker again, re-hoisted the main and made our way back to the mooring ball.

Overall, I’d have to say that I would definitely recommend the vacation format course over the five-week format. The staff and most of the instructors at the Boston Sailing Center are quite good. I hope to do a bit more sailing this month, before the weather gets too cold and the season ends.

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