call me cap’n

Matt and I started our sailing classes through Minneapolis Parks and Rec on Tuesday! It’s two days this week, and then two days next week. After that, I think we get our captain hats and anchor tattoos. And maybe a free sailboat? Let’s hope.

One thing sailing class has reminded me about is that while I don’t have the typical irrational fear of heights, spiders, or drowning, I do have a crazy fear of getting onto boats. Any time I’ve had to step off a dock and onto a floating vessel, I have a moment of intense anxiety. I only realized this after visiting the Caribbean several times, because that tends to involve climbing on and off a variety of small boats. Every time it happens, I will hand all of my belongings to someone else (even the employees helping me onto the boat, I don’t care) and grab onto their hand or arm for dear life. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I can’t help it.

Our class involves a pretty tippy 14-foot sailboat. The very first thing we learned is that the first person onto the boat has to make sure to climb onto the hull right in the center and then be careful about moving around the mast, because it could tip. (Right that moment, I knew I would never be the first person onto the sailboat.) They then drop the keel to help stabilize the boat, and the other people come aboard. Still, you have to try to stick to the center as much as possible, or you’re convinced you’re going to fall off. I pretty much panic from the time I get onto the boat til when I’m sitting down. (And then when we heel too far and I think we’re going to flip over.)

Because I had something on the order of 2 million ear infections as a kid, my inner ears are a mess. That’s where your balance comes from, so mine is understandably terrible. If I get congested, I get dizzy. If I close my eyes while standing up, I’ll naturally tip backwards. On dry ground it’s not usually a problem, because vision does most of the correction for you. On the water, though, it’s an exciting new adventure in disorientation.

Regardless, I love that we’re learning to sail. We learned to dock yesterday (it only took me three tries to get it right!), how right-of-way works, and practiced steering and setting the sails correctly some more. Our instructor swears we’ll be totally comfortable with holding both the tiller and mainsheet by Wednesday, but it seems like I still have a ways to go!

I should try to get pictures, too. The thing with being in constant fear of falling into a lake is that I’m not thrilled at the idea of bringing my camera with me.

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