I've been attempting to windsurf for 21 years, first time was in Mauritius when we got married, since then there were a few gaps taken up again on Mark Warner holidays over the years. Last year in Lemnos I decided with sheer bloody minded determination that I would crack this windsurfing lark once and for all and booked myself onto a RYA Start Windsurfing course. I passed by the skin of my teeth and I'm sure that the beach front guys just felt sorry for be and took pity on my at the last minute. I had a mention awards on the last night for sheer bloody determination rather than natural skill, but hey, I got it.
On Monday I did a refresher course with the lovely Ben who told me to get a rig out and just practice. My goodness I think that's probably one of the most scary things any one has ever said to me
"Take a rig out on your own and practice"
I'm allowed to take a rig on my own!
With no instructor?
Are you serious?
I couldn't do this on Monday as it was very windy and advanced sailors and windsurfers only. So on Tuesday I did, and yes it is scary, after 21 years its like taking the car out on your own for the first time. Just wetter.
The lovely crew on the beach offered a beach valet service, ie they go and get you the board and the sail and help you fit the UJ, or they did me. It could have been the pathetic look and pleading I did. Actually, no they were really really helpful and great for boosting my confidence, still not sure that they're completely mad for letting me do this.
Didn't do very well, severe case of 'conscious incompetence', I know what I'm supposed to do, I can do it slowly but the wind kept getting the better of me and every time the sail caught the wind I dropped it in terror......I can't do this on my own, I need help? Massive bruise on my knee the size of a duck egg, pulled something in my back and my other shin is black and blue. Managed to get out eventually but hopeless at getting back in with an offshore wind, unknown on a rescue boat came to save me and give me lift back in. Thank you Charlie. I think this is going to be known as the Lakitira Ski Lift, you know, you ski down the hill and get the ski lift back, well this is similar, you windsurf out with the wind behind you and get the ski lift back in to do it again, simples.
Today, Wednesday, I took the same rig out again, this time I came in with dry hair. Yeay, whoopee, apparently I was very loud when I got back and I've heard that most of the beach now realised that I managed to windsurf, sorry. I was so excited, got up, sailed out, turned (without falling off), the wind even caught the sail and I went fast ad didn't drop the sail in terror, I really enjoyed it, then got the ski lift aka Terry in the rescue boat back in again. I tried turning it round but the wind just kept flipping my sail up, back to where it was. Looking around all the dinghies were capsized so I had to wait for a little while but it was a good excuse to catch up on sunbathing. Terry mentioned that the waterfront staff were very busy today but he'd rather it like than the opposite as it can get very boring when there's no wind and no one needs help.
These waterfront guys and girls are just so cheery, lets face it, they've been out since May putting up with guests who probably sail or windsurf once a year at best and probably have to go over the same thing week in week out. OK they are in Kos, it's hot, it's beautiful and way better than the UK. They do it with a smile, constant good humour and never a grumble, they are complete stars.
I can now officially windsurf, it's taken 21 years but I can do it. My next challenge is that I want to be able to get back into shore again so I've booked Dave, who is apparently a hunk, for a 9am one to one tomorrow. Mike, the hunk in charge of lessons and ops says he's a hunk so we'll see in the morning. Worth getting out of bed early for, I'll let you know.
Probably one of the most vicious water games there is, no rules, jumping, grabbing, drowning, yelling, anything goes, I love it. Half an hour of water polo is the most fun and probably burns off a huge amount of calories. Bless, a new English chap joined in today, after a couple of minutes he declared "you can't do that it's against the rules!", back came the comment "what rules!", there you go. I remember a couple of years ago all women were banned from playing as it got too rough and dangerous, not quite there yet and probably around 40% women today. Couple of big Russian blokes who are a bit of pain to get round though but brilliant fun.
Imagine netball in the water with no rules whatsoever, yeay.
Kids club sailing
Small boy went sailing today, his first introduction to proper sailing and he thoroughly enjoyed it as they took the fun boats out and played pirates. Basically trying to board the other fun boats, trying to capsize the fun boats and generally being piratical, he now thinks sailing is brilliant and wants to do more of it. At what point do we tell him that getting his RYA qualification is not about capturing other Picos or Lasers but sailing them. Actually, that sounds like far more fun than just learning to sail them, maybe I should have a word with the RYA and get them to rethink the courses.
RYA 1 - learn to be a pirate, steer your dinghy, jibe and tack to get away from other pirates, capsize drill in case you are attacked and capsized by other pirates or happen upon a dinghy that's been capsized on purpose by other pirates. You have to be able to right your capsized dinghy. Learn the basics of pirate speak:
'ahoy me hearties' - hello chaps, I'm here
'Ooo arrr' - by gum I like the look of your dinghy, maybe I ought to attack you and borrow it for a short while, would that be ok with you?
'Avast ye scurvy swabs' - I say chaps would you mind awfully crewing the boat?
'Avast behind' - watch out chaps, there are some awfully dodgy hoodlums coming up on our rear
'Shiver me timbers we been hit lads' - oh my goodness I think I felt the boat rock a little, there is the distinct possibility that we have been hit by something not very nice.
'Methinks you be swinging the lead' - listen up sweet pea, I have an inkling that you're not really pulling your weight around here and being a bit of a slacker, buck up lad, stop sunbathing on deck and grab the tiller.
In order to be politically correct I must add that pirates are bad people, in no way am I saying that pirates are good fun and in no way would I ever encourage any one to be a pirate.
Tonight is karaoke night, I can clear a bar in minutes with my singing voice, the resort may be saved as the kids show is on at the same time, or it may not......