Basic Keel Boat (BKB)

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This is a small fleet in the Inner Richmond Harbor (Point Richmond, CA) behind the Tradewinds Sailing Club and School. In the forefront of the above image, is a group of keel boats that my wife and I got to take out for our ASA 101 Basic Keel Boat class. A certificate for this course was given to the both of us by close friends as a wedding present last year. We figure it was the right time to take this lesson.

Three full days of lessons were at hand. Three students and an instructor on a boat. Beginning last Friday and ending on Sunday, from 9-5pm, we were on this sloop style boat learning to tack/jibe, dock, and execute maneuvers like MOB rescues.

The first day of sailing felt nerve racking. I wasn’t alone when I said I had a lot of anxious energy and general trepidations, especially when we were “heeling“.

After each day, we would go home eat dinner and study the textbook as well as ROW (right of ways)…but the practical lessons were much more easier to absorb. Sailing points were easier to grasp: close hauled, beam reach, broad reach, running. All of these sailing terminologies plus the commands were pressed upon us to learn and execute in a matter of hours. In addition to sailing directions, we also had to learn to dock in a slip and parallel. Of course we learned a handful of sailing knots as well: bowline, square, figure-eight, cleat hitch, and clove hitch.

And with an open mind…we tackled these challenged head on. On the second day, we felt extremely comfortable tacking in the right direction. Heeling the boat became a non-issue as we began to trust the boat and each other to ease/trim the main. Jibing also became a comfortable maneuver as well (though watching for that boom while doing other things was not second nature).

On Sunday, we took Echo (Catalina Capri), our boat, out for one last sail. We traveled up the channel, sailed to Brickyard Cove Marina for some lunch, and really felt like sailors out there. On all three days, the sun was out, the wind was favorable, and our excitement fully stoked. Also on this final day, we took our classroom examination and passed. We are now certified to take this type of boat out without instructional supervision. I think we’ll take a few more days to learn and feel comfortable with just two people, dock a bit more…and then my wife and I will be ready to host a small party out on the open waters. HAZZAH!

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