Lara Gonzalez-Ruiz

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This is the article I wrote just after my first Nationals, sailing with Dave in Norwegian Blue:

Learning to Sail in a Cherub? I wanted to learn how to sail because I had seen how much fun my boyfriend got from sailing so Dave agreed to buy a boat with me and start to teach me how to sail. My experience so far had been one trip out in a boat called a GP14. I was expecting sunshine, bikini, sunglasses and relaxing. Instead I got to hang my feet under a strap and hang over the side (“that’s hard work”, I thought). Next I got a trip in Dave’s dad Avon scow, and that time was much easier. We had to choose a type of boat to sail. Not knowing anything about boats Dave decided we should go for a Cherub. I was told this was based on 2 important factors, how much we could afford and Dave’s boredom tolerance level (both of which where on the low side). Dave showed me few photos from the internet and his explanation was: “a Cherub is cheap and fast”. So we went to the dinghy show to see the different type of boats. After seeing many different boats we went to the Cherub stand where I met someone who seemed genuinely excited to talk about her experience with Cherubs. Having nothing else to go on I decided to settle for a Cherub. It was a year to the day that we finally got to buy a boat. One trip to London to see an orange boat called Norwegian Blue? Owned by Lucy the very person who had help convince me that is was fun at the dinghy show, and Will, all happy to explain how wonderful his light carbon rudder was, whatever that was. The next Saturday was our first trip out. I stood and watched how a boat was put together. What had I done? There was a whole new language to learn and to understand. The lucky thing of that first day was there was hardly any wind so everything was like the time I “crew” the GP. I had my first go at trapeezing and it wasn’t as easy as I though. “Clip on, step out” …I understand these words, but how? Push out, oops! loose balance…and repeat. Down wind was easy, pull 2 ropes, hand another to Dave and that’s it. Then he told me the big sail at the front will be my job one day. The rudder came off and I knew that was not good when we capsized for the first time. I didn’t find it so funny! what’s funny about being freezing cold and with the boat upside down?!! The following times we went out there was a little more wind and I felt so unfit! No strength at all in my arms and my legs were aching. But trapeezing started to become easier and I felt less scared to be out on the wire. Regarding the spinnaker I found it to be hard work taking it out, I had to stop few times while pulling the halliard but I was ready for a fly, and I found it amazingly cool! The feeling of being on the edges of the boat, out of control, trying to keep my equilibrium, while the boat is going faster and faster and being all water splashed was very exciting, scary and funny at the same time. After more practice we went to Castle Cove on the weekend for our first blast. We found a bunch of friendly people and there was lots of wind, so we went out but without trying the kite, that would have been too much! Sunday luckily for me the wind was milder :O) so we decided to participate in my first race and Dave’s first Cherub race. We took a look at the race from the distance, I was all excited and ready to trapeeze, clipped on stepped out…. ooops! fell in the water…uhm…“clip on would had been good…bye bye race”…at least I had a slight feeling of what racing was? After Castle Cove, we went out sailing as much as we could. Dave joined me on trapeeze and we tried upwind, down wind again and again with more wind, more speed and it was so cool, what a fantastic feeling. Even our first pitch pole capsize was fun!?!! Am I getting loopy? ;O) Just in our first open meeting in Weston I felt adrenaline all over my body, I felt so competitive! I enjoyed having other Cherubs around doing the same things, i.e. racing, trapeeizing, capsizing, up again and keep going, that’s great, I love it! more wind please, more wind! Then The Nationals in Wales, what a holiday we had! lovely weather, meeting new people and sailing for 3 days! wish there was more wind though. Best new comers, what more can I ask for? More wind! It feels great to have the opportunity of learning what sailing is, what to be a crew is and the best of all to do it in a Cherub. I can’t wait for more nationals, open meetings or anything…just can’t wait for more flying! Mind you, very often while I trapeze and we blast and blast, still comes to my mind, what? Is that real?

fleet-20060801b.jpg This is the New comers trophy we won at the 2005 Nationals and maybe one of you will win this comming Nationals in Largo Bay, Scotland!

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