Sailing Lessons

Currently, we are stuck in Suburgatory (Have any of you seen that show? Pretty cheesy, but has enough of it’s moments to make it worth watching), but we know where we are going and fully committed to the journey that will get us to a live-aboard life. In preparation for that day we have looked into several boating/cruising schools. I told y’all in my last post that we decided to give sailing a try. I don’t know how he does it, but my husband – the researcher – finds some interesting things and some great deals on the internet. During his quest to compare and contrast sail power vs motor power he came across this school:

Dauntless Sailing School

He had sent me the link while I was at work. (You should know that I have limited time at work to “research.” I am a sign language interpreter, and I primarily work as a video relay interpreter. I am basically on the phone and staring at TV for 85-90% of my time at work. I can give things a quick look on my 10 min breaks or during the few seconds I have in between calls, but I generally don’t get to go very in depth.) So I gave his email a quick glance and clicked through to the Dauntless Sailing School site and did a gave it a once-over. I could see that it was a sailing school and the overall feel of the site was professional and friendly – it was also late in the season for sailing and the classes were being offered at a discount.

I emailed back to my husband and said something to the effect of: “Looks great.” And then added in my special sarcastic font:”So where is it… Chicago? Ft. Lauderdale? or what?”

His almost instant reply was: “Oh, it’s about 5 minutes from our house.”

WHAT?? Turns out that our particular brand of Suburgatory houses a very popular location for SAILING. Geist Reservior – Who knew!?! We obviously didn’t. So on the way home from work I gave them call, and spoke to the owner of the school, Todd Bracken. It turned out that he was indeed discounting his sailing lessons for a limited time, but all of his classes were full. He would be willing to create a new class for us on Saturdays if we could rustle up at least 2 more folks. In the meantime, he would keep us on his waiting list for the spring.

We talked to a few folks, but though interested, Saturdays during football season weren’t a good fit. So we chalked it up to slim chances and prepared ourselves for the 6 month wait until spring. Then a couple of weeks later I get a call from Todd!

Todd: “Hey, Debra! Todd Bracken here from Dauntless Sailing School. I was wondering if you and your spouse were still interested in sailing lessons.”

Me: “We are, in fact, but since we weren’t able to rustle up anymore folks….”

Todd: “Well, I have another interested party. I typically only create a new class with a minimum of four people, but I’ve decided to make an exception in this case and will do it with three. We’ll be meeting on Saturdays at 1pm.”

Me: “Fantastic! We will be there!”

Now let me introduce s/v Dauntless!!



She is a C&C 27, and we had a TON of fun sailing her! In addition to fishing and teaching, Todd also likes to race her, and he has done a few extended cruising trips.

He’s got some stories, and he’s a pretty funny dude. If you have the chance to meet him you should. Better yet, do one of his Evenings of Sail – a nice, romantic, relaxing evening (read:booze cruise) here on Geist Reservoir! We took my parents out one evening after a sailing lesson when they just happened to be in town visiting and had a great time!

We brought chicken, cheese & crackers, fruit, a couple of bottles of wine and of course my dad had his staple – Lone Star Beer – carried with him all the way from Texas because you can’t buy it here in Indiana.

So now we’ve sailed. And we liked it. But we still have a few years before we can cut the lines, and there’s not much room here for a large catamaran. What ever will we do?? We are searching to buy a smaller sailing vessel, that’s what! We’ve decided that for the next few years we will fart around here on Geist and improve upon the skills Captain Todd bestowed and have a new activity for us and the kids, too!

Sail vs. Power

When we first made our decision to start our eventual transition to the cruising world, we were sure that some kind of engine powered boat would be the way to go. A trawler – this would be the ticket. Some kind of pilothouse perhaps? Yes! Large cockpit up with the helm perfect for dining and hanging out together. Down and inside the other helm would be great for staying warm and dry if the weather we not to cooperate. And even underneath we might be be fortunate enough to have standing engine rooms – very convenient when the need for maintenance rears it’s head. Oh but wait, the draft, and the fuel consumption. Hmmm…

Then we saw how much more economical catamarans by design would be, and the newer designs of the interiors on a lot of them show the cabins and berths to be a lot less tomb or coffin-like than before. Maybe we won’t have a bath tub, but many designs are really quite cozy looking and with a dodger or even better, and enclosable cockpit, this would be great! Oh, but yeah, the fuel costs. It still takes a lot to fill those tanks. Hmmm…

No. Sailing would not be an option. Who wants to be out in the rain and wind should we happen upon a squall messing with a tangle of ropes, huge swinging sheets? Yeah, I didn’t know anything about sailing, but by god it looked complicated – too much work I tell you!

Evan was not quite as deterred. He is the researcher. He continued to do his magic and after a while was able to point out the pros and cons of each method. Now granted we’ve been doing our monthly date night for a year at Barnes and Noble. Sitting in the cafe with lattes and a huge warm cookie, pouring over the latest issue of Latitudes and Attitudes and Passage Maker. Eventually we added Cruising World, and our time has been both enjoyable and educational. 

Well, we were finally – though I don’t remember the exact moment – convinced that perhaps sailing was something that should at least be investigated before ruling it out. I determined that I was telling Mom that I didn’t like broccoli because it looked gross when in truth I had never even tasted it. I was judging without a real trial. 12 Angry Men, anyone? Ok – fine. Time to do some more research. We added Blue Water Sailing to our pile.

Cruising forums, cruising mags, endless Yacht World searches had given us a wealth of information. We both have had a lot of experience on boats. “Cruising” we realize is a different animal and is still new to us, so we still don’t know what some of this information we have means – but by George, we have it! We have found ourselves discovering something “new” only to remember some ad or article or blog post about this subject and go running back to re-read and say, “AH!! So THAT’S what they were talking about!” or “Oh wow! I knew that important, but this really puts it into better perspective!”

We are also now following several blogs as well. They are all sailing blogs. Go figure.

We even took sailing lessons, y’all! And you know what? It wasn’t NEARLY as complicated as I thought it would be! More on that in another post, but for now, I’m curious as to your opinions. Toss in your two cents, we are curious!