The Sailing Club ( at a yet undisclosed location)
It’s not that I am dying, but I thought it was about time to start working on my bucket list. Life’s too short, and you never know when you’re going to go, and wouldn’t it be a pity that you didn’t do all the things you would like have liked to do before your time was up?
The instructor & Marijke
Now this didn’t bother me, but the item – ‘Sail around the Mediterranean’ – remained on my bucket list. Until this summer, when I went sailing (for a mere 2 hours, I might add) with my brother off the coast of Narbonne, in France. I thought the experience was so fantastic that I decided then and there that upon my return to Lebanon, I’d take up sailing.
I am taking this very seriousLY (See Hadile, I know!)
I took me a while to find a sailing school though. Readers in Lebanon are probably all going to say now “Oh, but I know a good sailing school!” Well, I looked around, asked around and surfed the web, but couldn’t find anything that instilled much enthusiasm nor trust. Web sites that didn’t work, phone numbers that weren’t answered, people that had moved; it did not predict much professionalism. Lebanon is not much of a sailing nation anyway; people prefer the motor boat; it requires less effort.
Bow knots, eight knots and crochet hooks
And so this Saturday I went with a Dutch friend of mine - who by chance is the other Dutch person in the world who doesn’t know how to sail (no matter that her brother even owns a sail boat rental company) - to this lovely place on the beach to get our first lesson in sailing.
Now picture this. We’re not exactly 21 years old. We’ve got children that are taller than we are. We are working women. The last time we sat around a campfire on the beach with a guitar and a bottle of red wine (or more) was probably in the eighties if I remember correctly. Yes, even the ‘remembering part’ is getting a little shoddy, so you get the picture.
Bumming around on the beach
And on the beach we encounter our instructor. A boy of maybe 21 years old, who has lived on the beach for probably half of his life or more, and who probably doesn’t own a shirt, because who needs one? Dread locks, tan, six-pack (okay, I may be exaggerating a bit here) bare feet; your perfect beach bum.
Our study notes
He was a wonderfully good sport about it! Without skipping a beat, he went right to work. He taught us all about the wind, the directions, the terminology needed for the moment, jibing, tacking, dead-run, broad reach, up and downwind, center board and what not all. Dutifully we sat down and like good students, made our notes.
Afterwards he made us ‘untackle’ (I am afraid I was slightly distracted here by his chest so missed the exact terminology) the boat, i.e. taking off all the ropes (is that what you call it in a sail boat?), the center board, rudder, sail, mast and boom (I think it is called a boom), and then made use re-assemble the boat again. He taught us bow knots and eight knots, and we taught him the crochet knot, and we had great fun. I think in the end it quite amused him to teach sailing to ladies that could be his mother.