My first sailing experience

MY FIRST EXPERIENCE ON A sailing boad

I'm Anaïs, 25 years old and as far back as I can remember I've always lived on land. I grew up on skis and with a climbing harness hung at my waist... far away from the ocean where I only spent a few days a year. And then there I was, in Hendaye for my end-of-studies internship with Tribord. I never set foot on a sailing boad, and only a few times on a motor boat - so, are you ready to join me on my new adventure?

THE MAP

The first day of my internship, Julien suggested going sailing: I'm in good hands, he's been sailing since forever. We set out with Mélanie and Pierre on my first sailing experience. Mélanie manages image production and started sailing when she got to Tribord, but as she goes on all the photo shoots, she's made quick progress. Pierre is a product engineer... I find him a little bit crazy: He is going to participate in the 2019 Mini Transat - a transatlantic voyage aboard a 6.50m long boat! In all, he will spend approximately two weeks sailing, sleeping only 20 minutes at a time, and without assistance. So What? Is he crazy or not? It’s reassuring to have Pierre with me on board, I think he’s at least familiar with sailing, so nothing bad can happen to us!

My first experience on a sailing boad

MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS

There are all kinds of "stuff" on a boat! While Pierre, Mélanie and Julien are running around getting everything ready to go, I don’t really know what I should be doing. There are a lot of “ropes”, lots of things to attach to different places and I don't understand half of the words they're using... I know you’ll just say every sport has its own vocabulary!

They explain things and let me help, so I learn a few concepts and try to remember the order of the things they're doing to prepare the boat.

 

Why are you doing this? And that? I've never asked so many questions in my life. Between the “why”s and the “you're sure we're not going to capsize”s, I was basically harassing them. "You're 100% sure, huh?” It’s normal for a first-timer, especially when you don't know everything that's in play! For me, the only way you measured wind was by looking at how hard tree branches were moving, and currents by baïnes forming along the Landes coast that meant the lifeguards made us get out of the water. One thing’s for sure: For once, I’m not in control of everything, the elements now have the upper hand, and they must be harnessed to reach our destination!

My first experience on a sailing boad

THE SENSATIONS

Sailing feels like reconnecting to the ways our ancestors travelled. Don’t poke fun, I felt a little bit like a pirate when I helped hoist the mainsail! It's also really exhilarating to be at the mercy of the elements: To move forward, one must adapt to the wind and not the other way around. It’s a challenging sport that requires forethought and a lot of patience... Oh the patience! I wonderful quality that I do not possess.

 

There’s a weird feeling you get the first time out on a sailing boad: when the boat lists - meaning it tilts as the wind moves in the sails - it’s pretty impressive. I asked myself a few questions: Will the boat tip over, will I slip, and will I fall into the water? I was reassured that there was a keel weighing almost a ton under the boat preventing it from tipping over. PHEW! When it came to falling in the water, it was up to me to be careful!

 

If I had to summarise my impressions of sailing: it’s a challenging sport that can give you a hundred different sensations. As long as you go out with people who know what they are doing, you will have a great time: I'd recommend you sit on the boom and against the mainsail if you can, it's really cool!

My first experience on a sailing boad

THE BET

I’ve always been hotheaded, so even before Pierre challenged me I was showing off: "You’ll see, soon I’ll be running the boat". I would have done better to keep my mouth shut! And then, a little by my own fault, a lot by Pierre’s, I found myself in a crazy bet: In six months, I will know how to sail by myself. What I did not realise was the sheer amount of work it would require. In any case, I swore to throw myself body and soul into learning how to sail, will you come along?

First day of my internship and already a rather busy one: first time on a sailing boad and huge challenge accepted. Will I make it? Only time will tell, but I’ll do everything I can to get there! Theses next 6 months will be fast-paced between my internship responsibilities, sailing, and a bit of time in the mountains at weekends (shhhhh...)

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