I came to sail for the first time ever today! What an incredible experience! The feeling of controlling that sailboat was amazing! I feel like it was some type of peaceful work; the entire experience was peaceful and enjoyable, but I also learned that sailing takes a lot of work and concentration. I like that! I had never really thought about which way the wind is blowing: whether it was on my nose, on my right ear, or over my shoulder. Learning to analyze this, I was able to maneuver the sailboat without continuous “hints” from my “teacher,” John.
John was one of the most gifted teachers I’ve ever met! He started by explaining and describing every part of the Martin 16, and then as we moved away from the dock, the descriptions became more vivid. Although I am totally blind, I felt like I was seeing the seals sun bathing on top of the buoys, the birds surrounding a small fishing boat, waiting for something to eat, or the various types of “traffic” that passed us throughout our short voyage. I learned how to tack, how to move the boat so that it hit the small waves at a 45-degree angle rather than sideways, and how to pull the sail in when it begins to flap in the wind. John never stopped teaching during those two hours of sailing, and I could have learned from him all day!
From the moment I arrived, I felt very welcome, and enjoyed meeting so many people, who definitely have a passion for sailing. Thank you for allowing me to participate in this sailing experience and for providing such a gifted volunteer to assist me. Thank you for keeping this program going, and now that I know what life-changing experiences occur there, I will definitely recommend that my friends and clients come and join the fun and learn how to sail. I will also spread your mission and goals around in order to find people who will donate to this wonderful organization, so it can continue to thrive. I am eager to return and sail again–hopefully with John! Again, thanks just aren’t enough!
Karen S., Challenged America Participant