I know nothing about sailing. Just to prove it, I thought that starboard was called starbird…it’s not.
The last time I went out sailing was at the Naval Academy’s Ring Dance in Annapolis, Maryland. I remember I just kept getting frustrated because the boat was stationary and I was freezing. I’m convinced I was looking at the same thing for 15 minutes, but apparently we had “great speed,” according to my friends. So when some of my sorority sisters asked me to go sailing with them the other day, you can imagine I was a little hesitant. Nevertheless, the thought of being out in the sun and hanging out on a boat sounded like too much fun to miss. I just assumed I’d sit on the boat and try to keep this spring break tan that is fading wayyy too quickly.
So we get up early in the morning and I’m immediately having second thoughts about this whole sailing thing–it’s early, it’s not sunny out, and it’s cold (or LA-cold). But I suck it up, and next thing I know I’m on my way. We drive to Long Beach and meet our “crew,” which consists of S-Wow (I forgot his real name) and Mark, who are both accomplished sailors and are two of the best on the West Coast. We all grab breakfast at this amazing local restaurant called “Schooner or Later,” and then head off to the boat.
I stand off to the side and see ropes flying, sails getting thrown on deck, and the engine starting. I have no idea what’s going on, and I’m still dreamily imagining my day: I’m going to be out on the ocean, enjoying a leisurely ride on the sailboat while the “crew” fiddles with the sails and makes sure we don’t crash, tanning and relaxing in peace.
S-Wow maneuvers the boat out of the dock while Mark and my friend Theresa put up the sails. Then he turns off the engine and tells me to drive the boat. I just look at him.
After I’ve come out of my split-second paralysis, I look at what I am supposed to use to steer the boat and take hold of it. Steering the boat is natural and I manage to keep us on track. We’re cruising, mainly because I’m an awesome captain.
Then, S-Wow decides to tact (whatever that is) and I see some sails flapping around, some more ropes being pulled, and I just kind of ignore them all and focus on not crashing…that is, until the main sail comes flying at my head and I’m forced to not-very-gracefully dive out of the way. From that moment on, I’m put on a simpler job–pulling on some fancy white & green rope, always when told to do so.
So we’re out on the ocean and I’ve managed to not fall off the boat yet. I’m keeping a watchful eye on the main sail, knowing that when S-Wow says we’re going to tact, I’m going to have to duck. We see a bunch of other sailboats all going in the same direction and figure they must be racing, so we decide to essentially crash their race. We start passing all these boats and I’m feeling like a big deal tugging on my rope when I’m told to do so. S-Wow keeps commentary going, saying things like, “Wow, they are just really bad sailors,” and “Why did they tact there? Oh he’s just confused.” We put up the spinnaker, swing our legs over the side of the boat like professionals, narrowly avoid crashing into a tourist boat, and end up passing all but one boat. That’s a win in my book.
I was really skeptical about the whole sailing thing, but after getting back I couldn’t stop raving about what an amazing time I had. I didn’t manage to save my fading tan, and of course my face wound up beet red and I once again got way too many freckles, but I couldn’t stop talking about my day and my new crew (I’m part of a crew–no big deal).
And as if all this wasn’t enough, I drove by Russell Brand as I passed the Kids Choice Awards at the Galen Center on my way home. Dreamy man, at the end of a dreamy day.