Life is short. You should be the one at the helm.
— Captain John

Last month we had a fun "Learn to Sail" weekend on Direction. A local sailor called me and said her friend Doug just bought a 24 ft. sailboat- but didn't know how to sail. Learning was on his bucket list, and she suggested that instead of years of trial and error (and smashing into things), that he come down to Charleston from Indiana for a 'Learn to Sail' weekend on Direction. She asked if I'd be willing to do a teaching charter. I love teaching, so of course I said yes.

As many of you know, I was a former instructor at the Marine Institute where I taught kids who were on probation or parole how to sail. Some of them had never even been in a boat and were terrified of the water - but with the right instruction they gained skill and confidence. So yes, believe me - whatever your fears or phobias about the water or boats - we can overcome it. Been there, done that.

We had great wind for Doug's sailing lessons - in fact, one of the best sailing weekends we had this year in Charleston.

With winds at steady 10 knots gusting to 15 to 18, we had plenty of power. Doug brought a couple of friends along and they all learned lots about sailing safety, how to use the radio to hail other boats, the marina and the Coast Guard, some essential knots, sail trim, how to steer the boat under sail and power, and what it feels like to heel over for speed.

Saturday and Sunday we started early and sailed until early afternoon. We knocked off in time for the crew to clean up then go enjoy doing tourist stuff in Charleston. I hear that mainly involved eating oysters and sampling local brews.

I think one of the things everyone who sails on Direction enjoys is being the one on the sailboat cruising around the harbor instead of the person standing on the pier, waving at sailboats and dreaming. After all, life is short - you should be the one at the helm - or at least the one relaxing on the foredeck with a beverage.

Doug enjoyed a nice weekend in Charleston, plus he went home confident enough to take his own boat out with his kids and guests aboard.

The nice thing about a private sailing class - whether it's a day or a weekend is you don't have to share tiller time with a bunch of other people. I've also seen people hold back questions in group classes because they don't want to be the novice. In a private sailing class the whole point is to be a novice - you get to ask all the basic questions you want in privacy. You're just going to learn more, and learn faster in a private class. Direction is also a stable, solid boat who has seen her share of newbies. You can trust her.

I love teaching people to sail - if you'd like to learn or just brush up on your skills - fall and early winter are perfect sailing conditions in Charleston. Send me an email today and let's go sailing. Remember today's lesson: Life is short. Take the helm.