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Neill  
#1 Posted : 30 September 2016 07:17:03(UTC)
Neill

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 07/03/2016(UTC)
Posts: 3
Location: Bavaria

Was thanked: 1 time(s) in 1 post(s)
As a "returning sailor" (after a 30 year pause) I spent two weeks on the El Rubicon and achieved my Day Skipper.

Logistics
Debbie asked if she could help with my transport arrangements. I (cheekily) asked her to organise a transfer from Faro to Ayamonte, a hotel in Ayamonte, a hire car for a trip to Gibralter, another hire car to go to Portugal and a transfer back to Faro via ferry and train. She did it all without one word of complaint.

Catering.
Superb! No matter where we were and what we were doing. Three tasty and filling meals a day appeared prepared by the Debbie/Shane catering team. The variation was endless and it all tasted great. I think you honestly have to take the price of full board and lodging at a great eatery off the price that go-n-sail charge to arrive at the "real" price of the course.

Accomodation.
Real duvets and comfortable beds & [censored]ows coupled with the hard days work made sleeping easy. The boat has plenty of space for the maximum of four people on board (three of us and Shane) and is clean and well organised. A cabin for each student is a great luxury.

Sailing
Most reviews never even mention the sailing or just pass it off as the way to get from one meal to the next. This in unfair. Shane explains things very clearly but doesn't labour any points. Once he has explained a manouvre he lets you learn by doing it under his supervision. I marvelled at his patience and willingness to explain everything and anything. I learned a lot while all the time feeling I was having fun. Shane had to continually remind me that this was a sailing course and not a holiday.

Ideally you need to understand Shanish. This is a form of feedback based on mild understement and gentle hints.
"Are you certain about that bearing of 124 magnetic" means "if that church is at 124 we are parked on the mountain behind it"
"A quick dab of reverse power about now" means "stop going backwards immediately before we park in the neighbouring cruisers cabin"
"Noticed anything interesting off to port recently" means "we just sailed straight past the Ayamonte outer channel buoys and the next thing this way is Cape Trafalger."

Pretty much the only thing Go-n-sail can not control is the weather, but they know how to make the best of it. In no wind conditions we were learning how to control the boat under power, in low wind how to coax every tenth of a knot out of the sails, in strong winds how to eat soup. In very strong winds we learned how to hold on and reef.

Taking two weeks gave me a chance to enjoy the little extras that the time allowed. I particularly enjoyed the "advanced night pilotage". In strong winds you career heavily reefed between the lobster pots that appear at random on your port or starboard bow or dead ahead. You are looking for a candle powered safe water buoy, the light on which blinks feebly every 10 seconds. From there you aim 315 degrees magnetic for the non existent leading lights while searching for the starboard lateral buoy that flashes three times. Of course you think it flashes twice because that is what the charts and guides say. Before the constant green light that is also switched off and after passing the non existent white light you find an anchored yacht with a red strobe in the channel that is simulating the harbour entrance. Once in the marina you try to berth in a 20-25 knot variable wind. On evenings like this you are glad Shane i[censored]ard.

I also learned a lot about tacking strategies. A TTT (tea time tack) allows you to set a heading in to the blue yonder and thus give you a relaxed tea break. Later, once the tea has worked its magic, you need a TPT (toilet pump tack) which puts you on a starboard tack and thus the toilet sea [censored] under water. POT (photo opportunity tacks) ensure that the wind blows the British Ensign in to a prominent position when phographing ex-colonials on the helm.

Summary
A fantastic rwo weeks. I had fun. I learned loads. Go-n-sail have everything going for them. Thank you Debbie. Thank you Shane!
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