In the cockpit

Kate Giles
People with vision impairment can experience sailing. A program called In the Cockpit takes people out on sail boats. The program is run by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club and the Corio Bay Lions Club. The sailors are very experienced. I really enjoyed this year's event. Nothing else matters when you are out on the water. It was also great to hear the stories of past sailing adventures. When we got back we had lunch at the yacht club. I am already looking forward to next year's event.
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Kate Giles on 16/05/2011
Two large white sailing boats sailing next to each other

Experiencing the thrill of sailing

As I listen to the whoosh of the water sliding by, nothing else in the world matters. I am sailing the ocean wave.

Does anything else even exist? Here I am on a beautiful yacht with the wind blowing through my hair. The spray of the water on my face and the smell of the ocean is invigorating. All the worries of the world are gone.

The stories start

Now the stories start. Hey Joe, how about the time we came through the rip at midnight in a howling storm?

My God! The old girl sure did some surfing that night, replies Joe as he pats the side of the boat.

And when we sailed to Sydney and the whale surfaced not two metres from us? shouts Dan from the upper deck. Talk about up close and personal, he adds.

The old days

Stories of near misses in heavy fog while negotiating the shipping channel are always a favourite.

That was in the days before we were fitted with our new beaut equipment, says Dan.

The conversation turns to navigational aids and how far they have come since the old days of sailing.

Not only can you see what is around but how far away it is. Saves a hell of a lot of accidents, continues Joe.

Man the sails

Further chat about the wonders of modern day technology are quickly cut short. The boat's skipper yells. Here comes the change! Ready boys! Man the sails and let's go for it!

A sudden change in weather and the yacht rolls sideways, allowing the wind to do its stuff. But the cooler conditions and the unexpected rain don't deter us. This is sailing at its best.

Unfortunately, all too soon it's time to make the return journey. Let's head for home, says the skipper. I can almost smell the sausages sizzling.

Back at the club

We finish off our wine and nibbles in the boat's cockpit. Before you know it we are back at the yacht club. The bar is open and the barbeque is almost ready. The skipper and his crew join us. The stories continue over lunch and well into the afternoon.

As we leave the yacht club that afternoon, we are already looking forward to next year's event. It's going to be hard to wait.

The thrill of sailing

In the Cockpit is organised by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club and the Corio Bay Lions Club. Every year, people with vision impairment get to experience the thrill of sailing. Accomplished skippers and their crew take you out on the bay. The more courageous you are, the more adventurous they are. You can take the wheel, man the ropes or just enjoy the ride. It's up to you.

To be part of In the Cockpit next year, visit the Royal Geelong Yacht Club website (opens new window). You can also call Jan Jones on (03) 5248 8633.

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