A summary of 2014 year’s sail training
During fourteen highly customized exciting charter legs, guests enjoyed sail expeditions to their own individual experience level and desire for adventure. Couples who had never been on a boat before found the possibility to familiarize themselves with cruising in sheltered waters and good weather, while more experienced sailors could test their limits by sailing in harsh weather or cross the North Sea.
We explored the Norwegian Fjords, crossed over to the Shetland Island and visited the tiny island of Fair Isle, made landfall in Orkney twice, we rounded the notorious Cape Wrath in 4 m waves, experienced impressive tidal streams and gale wind force, sailed the Pentland Firth twice and went through the Corrywrecken and got a full understanding for the importance of tidal calculations. In the Bay of Hanö in the Swedish Baltic Sea, we encountered the strongest winds, being a steady force 9 or 44 knots, letting us surf down the huge waves in 13 knots. None of these circumstances came by surprise. Instead, these were important parts of the sail training for the individual legs. Harsh-weather sailing is often requested by sailing guests in order to improve their gale-sailing skills and enhance their sailing experience. During all these weather conditions, we remained sailing in safety, even when pushing the limits of the crew. Sometimes, we chose to stay in port, doing theory or exploring the countryside when weather was too bad. Safety always comes first and it is part of the duty of every skipper to understand the limits and sometimes choose not to go out, even against an eager group of sailors who wish to experience “storm sailing”. Except for when we crossed the North Sea (when we checked the weather especially carefully), we always had a chance for retreat or had a “Plan B”, in case some of the crew felt that this was over their limit. None of the same happened, however, so all challenging legs were sailed in harmony with a happy crew, I am glad to report. The feeling of safety avoiding any type of anxiety stands on the highest priority level onboard Regina Laska.
I wish to stress, however, that nice, calm weather clearly dominated during 2014, which was appreciated by all of us. We had windless lazy days explored the extraordinary nature around us, took saunas onboard or talked endlessly through the night while enjoying nice meals and splendid wines. We visited numerous destilleries in Scotland with great whisky tastings later onboard.
The curriculum consisted of the modules also used in courses, such as RYA Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper, Yachtmaster Offshore and Yachtmaster Ocean, in preparation for exams to be taken.We offered legs for any type of sailor onboard – be it a cruiser or sailor – trying to give a bit of everything: Adventure without fear!
The Hebrides were especially enjoyable, where we staid for five of the fourteen legs, exploring the inner and outer Hebrides, crossing the Minch a couple of times. We made landfall on Skye, Barra, Staffa, Iona, Mull, Muck, Rhum and Islay, to mention a few of the places. We sailed into fantastic lochs and saw wonderful wildlife, including seals, dolphins, whales, puffins, guillemots and gannets. We had the gennaker hoisted almost on every leg, and, as far as I can remember, every charter guest was spoilt with at least some great sunny days, which were mixed with foggy mysterious days and the occasional gale. We trained berthing, boat manoeuvering under power and sail, as well as radar navigation. Tidal calculation was part of our daily routine in tidal waters, while understanding the weather was an ongoing topic for all. We visited great restaurants and pubs as well as had wonderful meals onboard. We crossed the North Sea in great sunshine, using celestial navigation and talked about ocean weather and ocean blue water sailing. We sailed into the Baltic and visited Stockholm and enjoyed numerous pleasant anchorages in the archipelago.
My charter guests have been most pleasant, interesting and wonderful to have onboard. They came from all corners of the world having a great variety of expectation, sailing experience and plans for the future. I am very glad to have been able to be part of their future dreams and to have helped them to become better seamen.
Many of my guests have booked for next year already, which I am very glad about.
I am always taken by surprise when participants send me travel reports and appreciative long thank-you letters afterwards. They make me vary happy! A small selection of these, I have placed on my homepage. You can reach these through my Testimonial page here.