The Noob Files

Writer and new sailor David Blake Fischer fumbles out the channel, backwinds his jib, and drags his fenders on his Cape Dory 25 in CW’s exclusive series for cruising newbies.

Noob Files

Excited, inexperienced, and often afraid, David Blake Fischer is the quintessential noob cruiser. He hasn’t crossed oceans. In fact, he’s only really crossed Santa Monica Bay. But his lighthearted, often hilarious takes on his early sailing misadventures about his Cape Dory 25, Delilah, are sure to entertain and inspire new sailors everywhere.


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Sailed solo into the dock the other day. Just crushed the thing. Cracked the dockbox and took a chunk of paint off Delilah’s bow. That’s the great thing about singlehanded sailing: You don’t need anyone’s help to make mistakes.

Days later, I had another award-winner. Was coming alongside the marina guest dock, tried to spill wind, messed up, panicked, and came in with so much stank I had to leap off the boat and lasso a cleat cowboy-style. Afterward, the sheriff came by.

“Everything good?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “You came in pretty hot.”

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“My dock mate has a Beneteau 235. So, naturally, I’m jealous.

Ash’s boat is just 23 feet overall—a foot shorter than mine—but has an honest-to-God cruising interior. The table converts to a bed. The head transforms to a nav station. Looking around, I saw cubbies and shelves and a small galley. If I tilted my head, I could almost stand.

So, yeah, I’m pouty, ’cause I’m over here on my Cape Dory 25, contorting on a settee with no seatback, using an empty shoe to hold my beer. I’m not tall, but in this little cabin, I feel colossal. Add my wife and our two kiddos, and now we’re playing Tetris with our bodies. “Whose leg is this?” I ask in the darkness when we “sleep” aboard.”

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