Taking the Tiller: Star Pupil Gets Competition

In this third progress report from her sailing lessons, CW associate editor Kitty Martin finds that the addition of a third crewmember brings a few laughs to the mix.

I have a new classmate. His name's Bob. I guess I was little spoiled last week with my one-on-one lessons, but it's also nice to have company. Bob has a great attitude and it was helpful to listen to his questions. It also changed the physics of the boat. J/22s aren't big boats, so it was a new challenge to figure out the dynamics of tacking and jibing with three people on board. I suspect with each new person added to the mix, communication becomes even more important.

It turns out Bob is an experienced powerboater, so I asked him why he signed up for sailing lessons. "I was driving across the Newport bridge the other day," he said, "and I saw all these sailboats on the water, and I said, 'I'm going to learn to do that.'"

To Bob's credit, Kate really put him through the wringer, and he came through (mostly) all smiles. Kate said she did this because she wanted him to catch up to me. Good luck with that tall order, dude! I've had three lessons.
Last night was my first time handling the sheets, and I thought I was going to get to show off for Bob and impress Kate, but with that "catching up" plan, Bob was put on the sheets, too. I have to say, it was easier than I thought it would be, though I wish I'd had gloves. Kate said there was a spare pair in the boathouse, so I think I'll grab those before we head out tonight.

I the found the mainsail easier to handle than the jib. The constant pulling in and letting out of the main seemed more intuitive to me than trying to coordinate the jib during a quick tack. Just one more thing I need to practice.
We lucked out with another beautiful night, though it was blowing a bit, which led to a fair amount of heeling. Heeling has never bothered me; in fact, I usually think it's fun, especially when I'm in charge of sail trim.

The three of us had a lot of laughs out there last night. A few times, after a less-than-perfect tack, I'd end up on the cockpit floor on the leeward side of the boat, giggling so much that I couldn't get up. Bob would instinctively reach out and try to pull me up at these moments. I appreciated his chivalry, but I suggested that if he had to save one of his crewmates, he'd be wise to pick Kate.