Ahoy Sailor: Learning to Sail with Mylor Cruising
I can dance a sailor’s jig after a couple of pints of Spingo. I can hoist sails and pull ropes (err herm, I mean ‘sheets’, to use correct nautical terminology). I can even man the helm if I’m told which way to point a boat. But if you’d put me on a yacht and told me to sail it I would have claimed I’m no sailor. Not me.
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Mylor Yacht Harbour
Even having racked up Competent Crew courses, a foiled crossing of the Bay of Biscay (the boat was filling with water before we reached France) and navigation theory courses at night school, I just hadn’t nailed all the skills it takes to be in charge of a sailing vessel.
Until now that is. With a family in tow – and still a yearning desire to sail off into the sunset – it was about time to ditch the G&T sailing and step up to the responsibility of being a skipper. And a Day Skipper course with Mylor Yacht Cruising was just the ticket I needed.
Five (intense) days and nights was all it took to transform me from sailing novice to sailing pro (OK so that’s possibly overstating my skills, but the learning curve was pretty steep and I’m still buzzing after my stint at sea). On day one I was merely cruising back and forth between Pendennis and St Mawes castles, recapping on points of sail and taking in the scenery. By day two I was in charge of night pilotage from the Helford to Mylor (and I can assure you the ocean is a wholly different place in the pitch black). In no time at all I had tidal curves and vectors down pat, was plotting our route to Fowey (no, you can’t just use GPS) and putting blind navigation into practise to get us back again in thick fog.
By the time I’d laid anchor and mastered a three-point turn in the marina I felt quite ready to join the weathered sailors for a sea shanty in the pub in Falmouth. But besides my golden ticket to charter yachts all around the world – and not to mention a whopping confidence boost too – I got a lot more memories and benefits out of the week than I bargained for. A few highlights included:
- Exploring the coastline inside out – its deserted beaches, gaping caves and beauty spots from the Helford to Fowey.
- Watching porpoises curl over the surface of the mercury-smooth ocean.
- Waking up to the sun breaking through the mist.
- Falling asleep to the gentle rocking of the boat and enjoying five precious lie-ins (post 6.30am) – a rare luxury for the charge of two small children.
Mylor Yacht Cruising runs 5-day Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster courses, as well as a range of RYA dinghy and shore-based courses.