Sailing is not jargon. Sailing is not theory. Sailing is not blue blazers or jaunty caps. Sailing is a profound communion with wind, waves, water, and weather. Sailing is a connection with mariners from across time and across cultures. Sailing is solitude. Sailing is companionship. Sailing is fear and respect and joy. Sailing is passage into the vast expanses of our blue planet, and and a journey into the deepest reaches of ourselves.
Level I: Welcome to Mini Tiki
Level I is taught on our 26’x15’ sloop-rig, hand-built Polynesian catamaran Mon Tiki Mini. Mon Tiki Mini is seaworthy enough to make open ocean crossings, but small enough to be unintimidating to new sailors and responsive enough give you instant feedback when you are sailing her well. Combined with her expansive deck (a hallmark of the Montauk Catamaran Company fleet,) she is an ideal boat for beginning your sailing journey.
In Level I you will: learn to rig the boat including basic sailing knots; learn good sail trim on all points of sailing using both tactile and visual clues; learn to make basic observations of wind, tide, current, and local weather and relate them both to sailing well and avoiding danger; and basic navigation and “rules of the road” in order to become a safe and courteous mariner.
Level I emphasizes mindful awareness of the sea’s constantly changing conditions and the tactile feeling of a boat sailed well. Together these form the foundation of a prudent and joyful mariner. Depending on background and aptitude some students may master these skills in only one or two sessions, but three or four is more typical. By the end of Level I, students will be able to confidently sail most boats under 30 feet in length in protected waters in daytime conditions, and be ready to move on to Level II.
Level II: Sailing Mon Tiki Mini on Block Island Sound
In Level II you will take skills acquired in Level I and apply them to sailing Mon Tiki Mini in the waters of Block Island Sound. In Level II you will continue to hone the instincts and technical knowledge you acquired in Level I and place those skills in the context of sailing well and safely in open water.
Level II will emphasize holistic and intuitive decision making for route choice, weather, exposure, risk-assessment, and contingency planning, and add basic navigation using a GPS/Plotter, paper charts, and line of sight visual references, as well as basic VHF radio communications to your mariner skill-set.
In sailing it’s said that the shortest route is rarely the fastest route, and the fastest route is rarely the best route, and Level II will guide mariners towards a sensual and sensory-based understanding of this sailing truism. At the end of Level II students will be able to make prudent decisions about when and how to sail on larger bays, lakes, sounds including planning the best sailing for given conditions and a solid avenue of retreat in the event of unexpected weather or mechanical failure.