I have a confession to make

I’ve been holding out on you.  It’s not that I don’t like you, or trust you not to mock, I just wasn’t sure how to tell you.

You may have noticed I have not been doing much knitting of late.  You may also have found it strange that I have been doing a few courses recently.  This is not usual, but is actually indicative of the run up to the course I completed last week… a Dinghy Instructors course.

I await you re-joining me having climbed back onto the chair you have just fallen off.

Back with me?

I have been an Assistant Instructor for a little while now and last year had a great time teaching small childers to sail (the ones that made it through the first day – I managed a 50% success rate – who knew children could cry that much?) and running some Level 2 sessions (and finding out when back ashore that capsizing with learners is sort of frowned on.   I thought I was helpfully showing them how to put theory into practice).  So when it was suggested I took this next step I was a little, shall we say concerned?

But the Principle seemed to think it was a good idea and surely he knows best?  Right?

I have spent the last six months racked with fear.  Fear of not being a good enough sailor.  Fear of not being dependable enough (all of the other trainers in the club are like grown up responsible people you would trust your {dog / child / house / insert other prized possession here} with).  Fear of really complicated stuff I would need to actually know about.  Basic Aerodynamic theory anyone?  And please just don’t mention airplane wings…..


So how was it?


  • Being able to use my backwards sailing on a regular basis
  • Learning what Gradient wind is (go on, ask me a question – 3 ½ hours it took and I am so proud of myself…)
  • Land Drills – who knew sailing was easier without wind and water?
And then you just trip over the mainsheet...
"And then you just trip over the mainsheet..."
  • Showing off with knots
  • Meeting some fab new friends from other clubs
  • Getting to see some of the fantastic presentations done by others on the team – and learning heaps from them (Apparent Wind!  I kind of get that too!  It’s all about vectors … and …. bikes … and … stuff… )
  • Getting to wear all of my hats all at once due to the cold and wind and rain
  • Teaching everyone the 5 essentials song
  • Getting on with my tank top and beer in the evenings

Beer and Knitting

  • Successfully driving and anchoring a powerboat on my own (!!!! I know!!!!!)


  • Getting frozen into my camper van
  • Becoming completely unable to sail when under pressure (Literally.  Just sitting there looking blankly at the instructors in a powerboat)
  • Having to admit the boat floating away from the jetty due to being ineptly tied on was mine
  • The pre-course questionnaire.  Knew that Aerodynamic theory would come into it somewhere
  • Initially thinking that VARK was a type of alien
  • Trying to teach Trigger Pull starts based on only the theory I had learnt the night before…. in no wind.
  • Looking out of the van in the morning only to see this


  • Taking quite literally no suitable food with me (tea one night was someone else’s left over potatoes and a bowl of popcorn.  This is not the hallmark of a responsible adult)
  • Let’s not talk about my man overboard…….

It was an amazing experience.  And I take my first group of students as a qualified instructor on the 12th of May.



  1. Congratulations.

    I know exactly how you feel. When I retired from real work I thought it would be fun to teach people to sail. Eventually my employer insisted that I take the US equivalent of your course so I could learn how to do it properly (or more likely so he could get cheap insurance from US Sailing against the risk of one of his instructors accidentally drowning a student or two.)

    I felt just like you. I knew how to sail but I didn’t know fancy stuff like anchoring a powerboat (they have anchors?) or how to wear all my hats at once (actually the US course didn’t require that skill.)

    It was worse in my case because I was in my mid-50s and everyone else on the course was about 17 (or looked it.) But I passed and some of the kids had to retake parts of the course, mainly that bit about being able to drive a powerboat without running over your students in the process of drowning themselves.

    By the way, that video you linked to in your last post, is that you in the pink wetsuit around 1:10-1:15?

  2. Congratulations – teaching is a great way to learn and relearn the basics. I have never taught sailing, but in areas I have taught related to my profession, I have always enjoyed being forced back to the basic, “simple” concepts which taught me to look at them in a new way and learn a lot in the process.

    Let us know how it goes on 12 May.

  3. We love your blog by the way. We being my other half who knits but doesn’t sail and me who sails but doesn’t knit. Way to go on the instructors course!

  4. Wow – so many comments!
    It IS me in the pink wetsuit – very proud to be captured doing a gybe, kite up without a capsize…. it doesn’t happen often (as you could tell the conditions were VERY WINDY too…!).

    You are right about the course too – it has absolutely made me revisit the basics…. turns out there are basics I had never visited in the first place – might explain a lot. As for the five essentials song – the Mr is trying to encourage a video blog of this. I’m not sure there is enough wine for that level of public humiliation.

    Thank you so much for following the blog – it makes it very exciting!

  5. Being lucky enough to be knittingsailor’s non sailing knitting friend I reckon I can get her tipsy enough to video the song…watch this space!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s