Learning How to Sail

Submitted by Charlotte Colby from Westport, Massachusetts

The first day that I had ever been put on an O’PEN Bic, a one-person sailboat designed for younger sailers, I was ready to learn how to be an independent sailor. We brought down the hulls, and rigged our boats. The wind was light as we pushed our boats off the beach near Herreshoff. A safety boat guided us while we slowly made our way up the bay. 

We learned what perfect sail trim looked like and how to evenly distribute our weight so we wouldn’t flip over. As the day went on the wind slowly picked up, making it harder for me to stay balanced. A gust of wind came by, and my boat fell on its side. The safety boat directed me to go to the back, pull on the center board until the sail was out of the water and climb up. I did just that many times in the next few minutes, slowly learning how to keep my boat upright. I got on the beach, soaking wet and cold, ready to get a towel and a sweatshirt on. At the end of the week, I earned myself the award, “The Capsize Queen” because of all the times that I had flipped over that day.

I will always  remember that day because it taught me how to be independent, and how you need to be sometimes when you’re out on the water. Herreshoff not only focuses on teaching kids how to sail, but also seamanship. We learn every aspect of sailing from the laws of the sea to handling a boat to being a good sailor.

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