The Better Half's Viewpoint

Just about every other Saturday last winter, Chris would return home shivering after frostbiting with Newport's Yngling fleet. He'd hop in the shower, mumbling incoherently about how cold he was. Occasionally, he invited me to sail. I thought he was crazy and always politely declined. But when he asked me if I wanted to go to sailing school in Florida for a week, I thought, "Florida, in April¿now that's more my style."In all honesty, it wasn't just the frigid weather that deterred me from frostbiting. I was unsure of my boathandling skills in a race situation and not well versed in the rules. I figured the school would give me the chance to catch up.At the beginning of the week, however, I awoke with a nervous stomach. I thought, "What if I don't know enough? What if everyone else actually read all of the books they mailed us? What if I'm the only one who doesn't race every week, or even every month?" My nerves weren't calmed when I arrived. The instructors continually referred to the week as "Sailing Boot Camp." I'm not a big fan of extreme sports or drill instructors, so I was certain this was going to be a miserable learning environment for me. After the first classroom session, we divided into boats and headed out onto the water. There I immediately began feeling more confident, and after some individual attention from my coach, I began to improve and have fun.The most beneficial aspect of the week was practicing what we'd discussed in the classroom. My boathandling skills and understanding of basic race tactics improved dramatically. I can now keep both telltales flying properly. I feel comfortable flying the chute in most conditions. And I now actually understand why we were adjusting the various control lines. I can recall some of the rules, and develop a basic tactical plan based on which side of the course is favored due to current and wind conditions. When I get that invitation to frostbite this winter, I just might hop on board.¿Susan Detwiler