A Long Way To Go, Testing Underway, and a Stowaway

Another day in the books! It’s crazy to think that today is our last day of sailing. There’s lots to do so this entry will again be short. I will probably clean up the posts and add more detail and maybe even photos. But the photos and videos are going to be much more sparse than I hoped, as previously mentioned.

We made it back to the Miami area yesterday evening. The day started with the pre-sail checklist (my turn) and a prompt departure as to get ourselves off of the fuel dock by the time they opened at 8:00 am. Then we took turns maneuvering the boat in the narrow channel using the engines. We did about two paths each: motor up and turn to port, then motor back and turn to starboard. Then it was docking time. We each had to dock twice. Yesterday’s gasp was definitely an indicator of my discomfort and while it wasn’t the most horrible docking, it certainly wasn’t anything near pretty. Ah well, I just have to come to grips that unlike the fellow students, I have zero experience operating a vessel of any kind and I certainly lag behind in strength and stamina when trimming sheets. While my tendency is to be very disappointed, at least I know that these are things that will both be improved upon with time. It just sucks knowing you suck! LOL!

After docking practice, off we went. I took the helm first. We took turns plotting our course, being helmsmen and adjusting the sails as necessary. We made some sandwiches for lunch, then it was test time. Our instructor Jen was on watch while we tested. This test was more difficult than the first one, but this was definitely expected. The results weren’t bad – 96! There was one question none of us answered correctly, and three others that I missed. Not too shabby. Today we are going out of order a bit and taking our Catamaran test which is only 50 questions, but that is because the hardest test is last. After some more sailing, we made it to our anchorage. I took us into the anchorage and anchored the boat with the assistance of the crew. It too, was not all that pretty, but I got the job done and we all jumped into the water for a swim.

Oddly, there is a little Tupperware taped near the helm to hold the handheld VHF radio and air horn. For whatever reason, I looked inside and found that this little guy had stowed away with us from Key Largo. He is stuck here now until we make it back to the dock – hope he makes it!

Time to go study for my test and get this last day under my belt! Based on the experience thus far, I am sure that today will be our toughest yet. It will also be brutally painful – especially if they make me raise the mainsail since it will take me a half an hour with my spaghetti noodle limbs which are sore from all the activity. Stay tuned for the next post from Fort Lauderdale as we say goodbye to SV About Time, our excellent instructor Jen and our classmates Tyler and Kevin.

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