The learning process

Cambridge, 20th December 2000
I was proud to recieve in the post last week my official Challenge Business Knife, Torch and most importantly of all, Rope. Yup, a genuine piece of rope to practice my knots on. Oh, and a huge thick training manual full of stuff to learn!

It was quite a daunting prospect, since I'm starting from no knowledge at all, yet even by the first training sail I have to have full knowledge about a variety of stuff - essentially the basics of sailing and lots to do with safety. The first read through of the material was quite incomprehensible; the glossary of terms was hidden right in the middle, so until I'd got to that I was having to try and guess what all the words meant by context - not the easiest of tasks... However, now knowing my guy from my sheet and my tack from my clew helps a lot! I've managed to read through the whole lot, and have to start focussing on the bits I have to understand first.

One of the other jobs that needed doing was to fill out a form with some measurements needed for kit; including such delights as arm length, shoulder width and hat size. I'm now waiting for my yellow challenge jacket (aparently they're waiting for new stocks to come in) which should make me fairly easy to recognise; good thing or bad? You decide!

However, one of the most immediate things were the set of dates for the first training sail; I'm now looking forward to the bracing North Atlantic at the start of March, just after next terms Lent Bumps. They run from Plymouth; the last time I was there was when my sister, Caroline, was at college there about 7 years ago. We arrive on the thursday evening and sail from friday to tuesday. I can't wait to get started now, to see if I can actually cope physically and mentally to that environment.