We all make resolutions for the New Year: Go on a diet, join a gym, get a better job, find a significant other, find another place to live, get rid of your present significant other, travel, try a new sport, etc.
Well, here is one resolution you might definitely want to consider: Sailing.
Sailing? “Isn’t that expensive?” you might ask. Well, yes and no. Many associate sailing or yachting with the recreation of the idle rich, conjuring up images of luxurious boats owned by kings, queens, princes or Greek shipping magnates; however, Peter Beale, licensed U.S. Coast Guard Master and ASA Sailing Instructor as well as USA West Coast Correspondent for the British magazine Classic Boat, says in Marina del Rey you can learn to sail at any of the schools on Bali Way for as little as $450 for a four-day basic course that will give you the fundamentals and a certificate of completion.
You will learn a new vocabulary that includes the names of the different parts of the boat. For example, a sailboat has four basic components: the hull, the sail(s), the keel or centerboard and the rudder. An extension attached to the rudder is called a tiller and it is used to steer the boat, turning it in the opposite direction in which you wish the boat to go. You will learn that, generally, sailboats have the right-of-way over powerboats unless the sailboat is overtaking another vessel, and that sailboats cannot sail directly into the wind. Then there are words such as port tack, starboard tack, windward and leeward, some of which you may have seen in crossword puzzles
In case you think learning all this might tie you up in knots, here are actual knots that you will get to study: bowline; clove hitch; round turn and two half hitches; rolling hitch; figure of eight; reef knot; sheet bend.
You do not have to belong to one of those fancy yacht clubs or even own a boat, for once you get the basics under your sea belt you can crew on someone else’s boat and join in the Marina del Rey races every Thursday night from May through August. If you do want to be part of a sailing group, for as little as $150 a quarter, you can join the members-run South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club. It has a very homey atmosphere and a working kitchen where members take turns cooking.
An alternative for women, since men own most of the boats, is joining the Women’s Sailing Association in Marina del Rey, a unique, affordable organization offering crewing opportunities ranging from straight sailing to competitive racing.
Oh yes, before you set sail, there are a few traditions you should know about: Boats are referred to as female and should not be renamed as superstition has it that it will bring bad luck; bananas are likewise bad luck aboard sailing vessels; and nothing should be deposited into the head that has not been digested at least once.
Beale, who has been sailing since he was 13 years old, sums up his love of sailing: “It was love at first sight and it has been ever since. Once the boat feels the wind and heels, you hear the gurgle of the water rippling past the bow and you are free to go anywhere.” He adds, “Being on the water is a wonderful escape from the pressures of everyday living and a chance to listen to the silence.”