UKSA: Week Thirteen – and the end!

Well, here we are – at the end! Not really a whole week, but officially the end of the course. And I am shattered. It’s been a full-on week – with the pre-entry assessment, followed by the five-day dinghy instructor course.

It’s been an interesting week, looking at the different sessions that you can run as an instructor, how to deliver them, and practicing delivering them, as well as presentations and more. A good week on the whole – and ended in the result I wanted (although I’ll be honest, I never thought that I was going to get there!). Just goes to show how perseverance can pay off.

If you’d told fifteen, nineteen year old me that I would be happy standing up in front of a group of people and delivering presentations and briefs and more without feeling sick and red-faced, then I wouldn’t have believed you at all. And yet, here I am.

And so that’s it, the course is done!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three months, it’s absolutely flown by, but it’s been the best decision that I’ve made in a long time. I’m feeling quite lost this evening… but looking forward to going home for a bit to have a mini holiday, before heading back to start work! New adventures ahead….

Lessons in Perseverance

Perseverance.

It’s an underrated quality (and a long word to spell!). But it’s everywhere. WE don’t talk about it much, do we? We prefer the stories of people who rose to success “overnight”, who suddenly “made it”, who did something making it look easy.

But the truth is, under all these success stories, all these triumphs, is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. So many people start things and then don’t continue because of the hard work that it involves because they’re not getting where they want to right away because the road ahead seems long and winding. A common statement thrown about is that it takes ?? hours to become an “expert” in anything – whether that’s writing or painting, sport or any other hobby. But so often we’re not willing to put the hours in. When others make something look easy, we want to be able to do it like that right away, and get frustrated when we can’t.

Writing is a key example of this. Writing requires an insane amount of perseverance and time. It’s not all about talent, it comes down to perseverance, dedication, and a little bit of luck. Writers have to get through knockbacks, rejections, disappointments, self-doubting, negativity,  and so much more.

But there are the good times too. When a new story idea settles, or when someone likes what you’ve written. When you’ve been writing all day and the words just keep flowing. When you’re lost in the magic of a new story or are filled with endless enthusiasm for your words and characters. When you meet other writers and can talk for hours about your plots and characters. When it feels like everything’s going right.

And so, the same can be said, I have found for sailing. This really goes for any sport.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have told again and again by instructors that they’re impressed at my perseverance. Considering that I thought about giving it up time and time again, I was always kind of pleased that I turned up each day. But you know when you’re determined to crack something? Each day, I would be like, well, today was awful BUT I’ll give it one more shot. If I haven’t cracked it by X, I’ll give it up. But then that day would come, and it would be okay, and I would think, well, I might as well carry on now. Until suddenly, here we are, a few days before the end of the course, and things are coming together, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

There are challenges in everything we do, that is true, and sometimes, the hard work we do on the way there, the challenges, the perseverance, the ups, and downs, ultimately give the biggest reward at all.

Perseverance. Don’t underestimate it.

UKSA: Week Twelve

Another week over – and now the end is within spitting distance. It’s crazy, really, that three months has vanished just like that! So, this week has been pretty full on, getting presentations ready, developing sailing skills – amazing really how in a week I went from feeling pretty hopeless about it to it all suddenly clicking and making far more sense. By Saturday, I was feeling pretty confident and happy about it.

On Friday, we had a practice run for a pre-entry assessment, which took place today (Sunday) – passed the practice one, which was a huge confidence booster – and passed today, which honestly, two weeks ago I would not have expected at all!

Saturday we also tried out harnesses and trapezing, which was fun!

So anyway, now we’re on the home run – just five days to go (!) (the instructor course) and then we’re done. Wow.

 

UKSA: Week Eleven

I feel like I only just finished writing the last blog post – how has a week gone by already? Another week of sailing has disappeared, and it’s been a lot more positive, with several good days in a row. Still a lot to learn and a lot of skills to develop, and I’m still struggling a bit with it, but it has got better, which is good.

There’s now less than two weeks left until the end of the course – and less than a week until our pre-assessment for the instructor course, which is terrifying! Where has the time gone?

This week we’ve covered all sorts including spinnakers, rudderless sailing, backwards (!) sailing, starting prepping our presentations, and much more. The weather has continued to be gloriously warm, which has been lovely! Great to be outside all the time, and spent the evenings taking advantage of being able to be outside too.

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We had a day off on Friday and headed up to Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s residence on the island. Beautiful grounds, a huge house, and even a lovely private beach! Definitely well worth a visit and lovely to see.

 

 

The final push! Here we go….

UKSA: Week Ten

This time last week, I didn’t think I would have stuck at the dinghy sailing – I didn’t think I’d still be doing it, and I certainly didn’t think that I would say that I had had days where I’ve spent the day laughing rather than crying.

But it’s true!

True, things didn’t immediately improve. I think switching instructors about and having to start again didn’t help. Plus we had some windier days, which made it all a bit more daunting and made me continue to hate it.

Monday was a day where I didn’t have any major meltdowns, which was an improvement, although it was still a slightly frustrating day in some ways (and it was a gorgeously warm day, which was lovely too – the start of a really warm week – definitely into the shorts now, no more trousers till the autumn for me…!)

It wasn’t until Wednesday that I had a day when I laughed instead of crying. It felt like things were beginning to come together. Thursday took a few steps back and was a frustrating day, but Friday was a beautiful day and things finally started to go right. We were able to go down the river and the weather was beautiful! The day was topped off with some rather entertaining capsizes from me, including falling backwards out the boat and falling out the powerboat after attempting to climb back into my boat… yes, safe to say that I didn’t sail back after that!

Over the weekend, we started with another instructor, who we now have for the rest of the course. Was apprehensive about going out again – and back to double handed boats. Wind was quite rough Saturday, but Sunday was much better – and another day with lots of laughter. Today, was another lighter day and another day of laughter – two in a row, an achievement I feel! Plus, I’m impressed that I’ve actually turned up every day. I might even be beginning to enjoy it?

Watch this space….!

The Mist

The mist lies heavy over the river

only the horn of a ship

slicing through the water can be heard

as it moves stealthily through

like a burglar in the night.

 

the mist lifts and the tide rises

life continues, the boats

go up and down, the mist

has floated away over to the mainland

out of sight, and we forget

it was ever there.

Morning [Creative]

 

Waking up to smell summer in the air,

dry heat rising from the earth

the birds sing

the river is at low tide

sunlight sparkles in the shallows.

People are dead, night-time terror

screams ring through the air

chaos reigns, everything plays out in slow motion

while summer pokes her head

through the door, sees death

and destruction strewing the way

and bows away for another day.

UKSA: Week Nine

Wow, time really is flying, and there’s less than a month to go now! Last week began with our SUP instructor course, which was good fun and I felt like I learned a lot. Tuesday, did a morning of work experience, helping out with a kids SUP session – challenging because of the strong winds, but fun nonetheless. Wednesday saw another careers session, with lots of information about the industry and progression, which was all really helpful.

Then, Thursday we started dinghy! It was good to get back to doing something after a couple of quieter days – it’s funny how quickly you get used to being active all day, and how quickly you can become restless and fed up.

Our first day of dinghy we had very light winds. We went out in double handers, which are fun because they’re that bit bigger. We practiced some capsizes, then had a go at sailing around. Friday we headed down the river again. Winds were a bit stronger and it was pretty stressful – there’s a lot to remember and think about, and it all gets a bit confusing. The boom smashed into my head in the afternoon as well, which wasn’t next fun.

Over the weekend we moved into single handers, and the winds picked up too – a bad combination for me! Struggled over the weekend to get to grips with it, finding it extremely stressful and not much fun at all. I’m yet to understand why anyone enjoys this – give me a windsurf or a paddle board any day!

But onwards – we’ll see how it goes today. This is certainly one of the most challenging parts of the course for me. It’s frustrating because I get it, I know most of the theory as most of it transfers from windsurfing, but I just can’t make it work. I hate dinghy’s and the boom and the scrabbling around. It’s going to be a long few weeks….

On the plus side, some exciting Daphne du Maurier goodies from the Fowey Festival arrived for me, including a brand new documentary and a new biography, signed by the author.

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Definitely what I needed on a such a hard week. And the book is so beautifully written, it’s incredibly inspiring.

UKSA: Week Seven and Eight

Week Seven

[didn’t post so posting late!] The days have all begun to blur into one and I don’t even know what day it is anymore.

The days have all begun to blur into one and I don’t even know what day it is anymore.

Last week began with a day off, and it was nice to recharge, do some writing, and catch up on bits and pieces. Tuesday ended up being a theory day as there was very little wind, and we worked on our presentations. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were all days back on the water, and after some previously frustrating days, things improved again and I had some really good days, which I was really happy about – including finally, being happier in those stronger winds and speeding around in the harness – so some excellent days.

On Friday we had to pack up all the intermediate kit, as Saturday we were back to beginner rigs and back to basics, in preparation for our instructor course, which started on Sunday. Funny to think that that goal point, which seemed so far away last month, is now here!

Week Eight 

Windsurf instructor week! So, pace changed a bit with windsurf instructor week. Back to basics, but we were also learning about how to teach, practiced running sessions and coaching each other. It was a really interesting week, with lots to think about, and I learned a lot, not just about how to teach and explaining the basics of windsurfing, but about my own windsurfing too.

A hard but fantastic week, with presentations, lots of practice sessions and simulator work, and much more. We were lucky to have some beautiful days too. The week ended with a moderation day, and I was delighted to pass. I am now officially a Start Windsurf instructor! We celebrated with ice cream.

Sad to leave windsurfing behind, we moved straight onto SUP (stand up paddleboarding), which I also really enjoy. We had a few days messing about on the river, taking some trips and practicing some paddle skills. Then it was rounded off with a SUP instructor conversion day, which was good fun and interesting to see how our skills learned in our windsurf instructor week transferred over. So a successful and very happy couple of weeks!

BAD LUCK COMES IN THREES

They say that bad luck comes in threes

and there were three of you

when I got home. Three rooks waiting

in the house, your mess an omen

like we were living in a du Maurier story.  

The first of you, I found, splayed out on the floor

wings stretched out, black eyes glassy – staring

you were light to lift, easy to remove

and I thought my job done.

 

The second was still breathing, sitting perched

in the window, staring out at the great beyond.

you didn’t move or flap as I approached

and when you were gone,

I thought that we were done.

 

The last was harder to find. Just a wing

poking out from under a shelf

hidden in the shadows and I don’t know

how you got stuck down behind the case

your body wedged awkwardly

so that we might not have seen you at all.

Even after you’d gone

I sensed you still, lingering, watching, your eyes

fixed on me, following as I went on living.