I’m hydrophobic. It is an established truth. The sight of endless ocean, even a swimming pool scares me frigid. Imagine a wall of water rushing towards you? Frozen feet syndrome. A Tsunami? Those recurring nightmares that drown you in your dreams and you jump-wake yourself to reality, thanking God it’s just a dream? Copy that.
So when I reluctantly got into one of the sleek boats Zia Hajeebhoy of Aquasail promised will not bite me, my muscles and brain were a quivering mess. Step 1, enter into boat.
Now, can you imagine mid sea transfer from small boat to yacht? The catamaran bobbing sexy on the Arabian Sea. Step 2: Two strong arms lifting me from one to another on jelly fish legs. On-board the sturdy yacht,  I was holding onto steel railing supports and sending out a prayer to the winds for dear life. Cruising is fun, I soon learnt eventually.
After a while, the sea seemed to smooth my jangled nerves, the horizon keeping time with light and Nature, and the awe of Mother Earth and her untamed beauty finally settling me down to enjoy the Achievers Regatta race that was about to begin. First time sailors most of them. I had company, it seems.
Photograph by Gavin DeSouza
Read the how-to books and the boating magazines and you might think sailing is hard, but that’s not the case. Sailing is really very simple. A skilled instructor can teach you the basics in an afternoon. Most beginners shove off on their own after just a few days of lessons. Once you’re sailing, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to learn.
To be a competent sailor, you need three basic skills: first, you must be able to tell which way the wind’s blowing. This is tricky at first for some people, but soon becomes second nature. And sailboats have gadgets to help you: there’s a wind vane at the top of the mast and ribbons or yarns (“telltales”) tied in the rigging that show wind direction; even skilled sailors refer to these aids constantly.
Photograph by Gavin DeSouza


Second, you must be able to steer accurately. This takes most folks about five minutes to learn, maybe ten for those who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. But you can’t trim (adjust) your sails properly unless you can steer a straight line.
Third, you must learn to recognize when a sail is properly trimmed. With the boat sailing in a straight line , simply ease the “sheet” (the line that controls the sail) until the leading edge of the sail (the “luff”) starts to flutter slightly in and out. Pull the sheet in just enough for the fluttering to stop, and the sail is trimmed. If you change direction, re-trim the sail; expert sailors fiddle with trim all the time.
And that’s sailing, in a nutshell. Doesn’t sound hard, does it? Now you can learn sailing too.
Photograph by Gavin DeSouza
See you at the CEO Regatta this Saturday, on February 10th at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club. I’ll be there for sure.
For registrations and inquiries, email: customercare@aquasailindia.com 
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Story inputs: discoverboating.com