OK, I admit it, I was a bit nervous about doing this adventure. I had visions of the blokart speeding uncontrollably along the beach, me hanging on for dear life or the blokart flipping over and me getting hurt or crashing into some poor beach walker……. I’ve never really sailed before and I didn’t know whether I’d “get” how to do this tacking thing I was told we had to do in order to get back.
Well, I needn’t have been nervous at all. I loved it and had so much fun! We wheeled the blokarts down to the beach, the wind was blowing in a nice brisk fashion, (that’s landlubbers language for 15 to 20 knots.) We were given as much info as we could handle without going into information overload and not remembering any of it, then we climbed in, got down low, strapped ourselves in, wheeled ourselves around so the wind was behind us, held the rope to the sail in one hand, the steering wheel in the other and away we sped. Just like that!
I could see the others flying along the beach ahead of me and into the salty mist beyond.
Talk about exhilarating, it was amazing!
Watery wet sand flew up from the wheels and splattered me from head to toe, even in my ears, before I slightly turned the steering towards the dryer sand and continued zipping along.
I knew I’d better not go too far as I’d have to do this tacking thing to get all the way back. Some of the other women were starting to come back and didn’t seem to be making much progress.
So, reluctantly I turned the kart around or tried to. Pulling the sail in hard as I turned I suddenly flipped up onto 2 wheels and before I knew it I was over on the sand, my hand and foot out of the kart to brace myself, which is exactly what we were told NOT to do. I felt like a cast sheep as I wriggled around trying to undo my seat belt so I could get out and right myself.
I noticed I wasn’t the only one either. In fact, we were told at the start that everyone ends up flipping over.
A couple walking along the beach came to my rescue and the very kind gentleman not only righted my blokart but proceeded to help me master this tacking skill.
Every time I stalled, there he was, correcting the kart, running behind me, pushing me in the right direction until the wind got my sail and I was off again, only to stall when I tried to turn again. Finally I got the hang of it, or should I say, the “feel” of it. It seems to be very much a “feeling” thing. Knowing just how much rope to let out, how tight to pull it back in, what speed to get up to before attempting a turn. Once I got it, I was away, joyfully shouting out thanks to my helper and his patient partner who had to walk by herself most of the way.
I noticed some of the other women were also confidently tacking back while a couple of others had problems with their karts and were trying to wheel them back.
I zig zagged back and forth across the beach, so proud of learning this new skill. Just about every time I turned I was up on 2 wheels, zipping along, but now I knew how to control it. Yep, no doubt about it, I was actually “living life on the edge” and loving it!