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My First Sailing Experience

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This past summer I had my first sailing experience at my Camp Calvary. My mom always went sailing at her summer camps and had so much fun that she always wanted us to try it. My mom would nag and nag and nag my brothers and me trying to get us to go sailing, even when I was too young to sign up to go sail. My brothers never heard the end of the nagging though; they both decided that sailing was a waste of their time. Sailing is a double elective, so it took up two hours instead of one and I wasn’t guaranteed even one day to get out on the water.

Last summer my two friends and I decided it was worth the risk of not always being able to go out on the water, and we signed up. We all got our elective choices on monday morning and being one of the older cabins, we got sailing as our elective for after lunch. I was very excited because my mom had always talked about how much fun sailing was, and I couldn’t wait to go out on the lake. After lunch on that same day, the three of us headed out towards the boat house. Once we got there we were told that we were going sailing, so we all grabbed the necessary supplies: a life jacket for each person, the sails, a first aid, and some sunscreen. Then, everyone going sailing loaded up the van with our supplies and got inside. We left the camp’s campus and drove to the little marina in Conneaut, the small Ohio town where Camp Calvary is located. Once we were parked, everybody unloaded the van and put on a life jacket that snapped in the front and was blue and yellow; one of the sailing instructors, P.J., unlocked the gate and we all carried our supplies down the skinny wooden pathway that floated atop the water. We made our way to two small white sail boats and broke off into two groups, one group with four other kids and one instructor named Kevin and my group was my two friends, P.J., and me. We put up the sails on our little white sailboat and loaded in the first aid kit and sunscreen into the boat. Then the group climbed into the boat, barefoot of course, making sure to distribute our weight evenly. Then we attached our boat with a rope to the other white boat that had a motor, and we pulled out of the marina.

We pulled into the large, walled off area of Lake Erie because we couldn’t go out into the actual open lake since the waves were too rough. P.J. began explaining the basics of sailing to us so we could actually help him while sailing; we learned how to steer, tie a cleat knot, and move the sails, among other things. We were all enjoying the cool breeze coming off of the lake and learning the basics of sailing when P.J. decided to ask us if we wanted to try whippy-dipping. This was possibly the worst idea he could have had because after we started we couldn’t stop; whippy-dipping was simply too much fun. To whippy-dip you had to sit up on the edge of the boat, grip the ledge, and have two people hold onto your ankles. After setting up to whippy-dip, you lean back and dunk your head into to water while the boat is moving and try to see how long you can hold your breath. We had whippy-dipped at least four times, excluding P.J. of course who was steering the boat, when it was finally time to go back to the marina and drive back to camp.

The motorized boat brought us back to our places in marina. We tried to find the boat with the best name since the marina was filled with hilarious ones. We took down all the sails, and loaded the crates that held the supplies back up. Then everyone walked back towards the gate on the skinny wooden pathway, and we all loaded the van back up. Then, we drove off towards camp, talking about how much fun we had had on the water. My two friends and I learned that one of the girls on the other boat had whippy-dipped for a whopping forty seconds, setting a new camper record and coming close to beating the staff record which was forty-five seconds! It was insane, I can’t begin to understand hold you could even think of whippy-dipping for that long, but she did. Once we arrived back at the camp we returned everything to the boathouse and went to take showers; everyone in the elective was talking about how much they wanted to go back out tomorrow. We were one of the lucky electives and got to go out three more times that week, only missing a day when there weren’t enough winds.

My first camp sailing experience has definitely gotten me hooked on the sailing elective. I understand now why my mom wanted us all to go sailing so badly; it’s really fun, but can be very relaxing at the same time. I know for sure that I will take sailing again next summer and probably the summer after because I had so much fun during that week.





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