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Slow learner

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Moet View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Moet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Slow learner
    Posted: 12 May 13 at 11:42pm
So no dumb questions, eh? Well now there might be. I have completed a beginner's sailing course (4 days over 4 weeks) and I did learn a few things.  I am now doing the level 2 course and I find that I really haven't got many issues - how to trim the sails in different winds, how to work the helm (a real mystery in terms of directing the others and what they should do when) what to do when and where and so on. I find the teaching methods used don't really work for me.  I need to understand, do it, go over the theory as to why, re do it, tlak about it again, do it again and so on. But I find I am being yelled at to do x or y as if I am already supposed to know. I possible am, as the others in my course (6 students altogether) mostly seem to know. I plucked up courage to ask the last time I was on the water - why did we do that? and while I got an answer, I felt that the answer was given in a way that I should have known it already. I'm not unintelligent but I didn't learn to sail as a child and I am finding it really difficult and might actually pull out of the current course. I enjoy what I have done but I hate feeling incompetent. I'm good at knots and I think from what I have seen so far of navigation that I will be ok at that too, but the actual sailing is starting to not be fun because I feel very inadequate. Any advice would be welcomed. Helen
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 13 at 8:01am
Thre's no doubt that different instructors have different ways of approaching things, and no one way of doing things works for all instructors or all pupils. Does the organisation have a chief instructor you can have a quiet chat to about your concerns? If its not working for you then that's clearly not a good thing.

It is a definite problem for sailing though that one has to make the voice heard above wind, waves and normally a motorboat engine if coaching from a motorboat - so a quiet word simply won't work.

Other than that, maybe a bit more background reading onthe theory would help?
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Pierre View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pierre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 13 at 8:56am
And of course, as you already have done, is ask the question on here.
There are no stupid questions. Just ones you don't ask.
Might be an idea to get a bit of a ride in a dinghy with someone experienced, and
ask as you go. Then you can see the practical application.
It sounds to me that it is a confidence issue.
Probably others on the course are thinking, "Oh thank god she asked that",
because they didn't have the guts to ask themselves.
People do yell on the water for all the reasons JimC said, and the terminology can be
confusing, so 
a) try to become more familiar the terms used
b) if it is impatient and patronising shouting, tell them to wind their neck in,
and point out that you have paid for the course and are the CUSTOMER and expect
the service you paid for.
c) Send a PM to Nessa on here... she does a lot of instructing and it will distract her from buying more boats on ebay.

Good Luck

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pondmonkey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pondmonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 13 at 9:13am
If you're someone who relishes theory and then practical application through experience (I can related btw) then there are probably some very good books to read through on your lunch hour.  

From a cursory flick through the accessible pages online, this book looks fairly straight forward:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Learn-Sail-Simplest-Start-Sailing/dp/111995276X/

As Pierre says, also get a ride on some other people's boats if you can- either on a racing yacht, or in a dinghy.  You can search for nearby sailing clubs using the 'clubs' link on this very website, make contact and see where you go.  Like many things, seamanship comes with experience and one of the joys of sailing is that there's always something new to learn.

Good luck - it's a great sport and pastime, it would be a damn shame to miss all of what's ahead of you just because you didn't get on well with an instructor on some course somewhere.  That said, I'd finish your Level 2- especially if you've already paid for it - but do take it for what it is, an introduction - nothing more, nothing less.  Your own experiences from that point onward will define what you actually get out of sailing and what you want from it.    
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iGRF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 13 at 9:30am
Alternatively, Bin it off, yottie types do try to make it seem far more complicated than it really is, and learn to sail in it's purest form by having windsurfing lessons.

At the end of the day, all it is, is a bit of cloth filling with the wind, driving a floating platform along, there's a bit of wood at the back to steer it with, you can go with the wind, across the wind and depending on the sort of floaty platform quite close to the direction from which the wind is coming.

I fully understand how you feel, they still do it to me and I've been sailing one thing or another for near on forty years now, don't let them put you off, just modify what type of sailing you choose to learn, then progress from there. Like I said, bin it and learn to windsurf, much more fun and nowhere near as many yottie t**sers..
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Moet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 13 at 9:32am
Thanks for the posts Jim C and Pierre.  Well I don't mind the shouting - I rather like being able to yell "Fore sail ready" etc but there is a real blokey approach to things that I don't respond well to to! I like the idea of going out with someone and just asking questions all the time. I have an example of what I mean - last Saturday we got on the yacht and one guy was put on keyboards. Now for me, and I'm going to insist when I am on them, I want 5 minutes instruction about them. I can usually see which sheet is which and there is often a label anyway, but I don't know if the clutch released lets it run or stops it. Now that takes just 30 seconds to explain, but there is an expectation that we know it,. so this guy was yelled at all the time and kept getting the clutch wrong and didn't know which to pull the rope etc and there is no need for that. My way is "Just tell me how, and I'll give it a go" but I just can't understand how I am supposed to know something without being shown how to do it. And I may need more than one time. Where else in education are we supposed to just know something? It's beyond me. Yes, the language is an issue - it really is a foreign language that needs learning.


Edited by Moet - 13 May 13 at 9:44am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Moet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 13 at 9:38am
Thanks pondmonkey.  I'll have a look at the book and see if I can find others on Amazon. Tonight I've been thinking well I'll just can this course but I will rethink and maybe finish it and just be a pain for the instructor for the rest of it by keeping on asking why. That said, he's not a bad instructor and had loads of experience in long distance sailing bu teaching is really an art. I do hate the tendency of the blokes to do whatever it is I am trying to do for me (I snapped at one in the end and I said I wanted to learn how to do it). They want to get the job done, but it is a course and I want to learn.

I have to say that going out on a 10 metre boat in 40 knots in the cold on Saturday was a test for me.  I wasn't scared though but did curse like a real sailor as I helped pull the mainsail down so we could sail on the jib. It wasn't easy.
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Moet View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Moet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 13 at 9:43am
I like that expression iGRF and shall use it. I shall yell back and call the blokes yottie t**sers. BTW following an accident some years ago, I had to have a knee replaced recently, (had it put in 3 months ago this Friday) so one of my retorts is "Don't yell at an amputee!". That shuts them up for a bit.

Thanks for the supporting words.  I need that. Windsurfing is quite big here as the winds are very strong. In a bay down the road, they do that type where they have paragliding sails attached. In a nearby bay they race so fast across the bay that stopping must hurt. I think I'd need steel quads and arms for windsurfing


Edited by Moet - 13 May 13 at 9:45am
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Pierre View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pierre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 13 at 9:54am
Yes, the yelling at learners is counter productive, and the instructor SHOULD show you exactly how it works before the event. It is stupid and dangerous not to do so, especially if you are going out in 40 knots of wind.
Yes sailing blokes can tend to be a wee bit up themselves. Sid the sexist rules on quite a few boats, along with Captain Bligh delusions of grandeur. He had done a lot of long distance sailing and was a sh*t hot navigator. Sadly, his interpersonal and man management skills weren't quite up to the job.
Irony, standing your ground and asking questions is the way ahead. It is team work on a yacht that makes it go well and gives everyone time to do things smoothly and well.
Oh, and hopefully there will be a feed-back form to fill in at the end of the course. It might help them  Wink

Good luck and stick with it

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iGRF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 13 at 10:07am
Originally posted by Moet


In a bay down the road, they do that type where they have paragliding sails attached. s for windsurfing


Hmm yes, lots of same sex marriage amongst that lot, but it does teach an element of what you need to know, i.e. appreciation of the wind, the direction it comes from, how you can harness it to make your craft go where you want it to, but hey, it sounds like that's not what you're doing anyway.

You are off to work in what they call a lead mine, basically all you need to do on those is learn how to mix drinks, wear sunnies on top of your head, and practise aligning the end of your nose with who ever you glance at.

Oh and yawn, practising a good yawn is very valuable for that sort of sailing..
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