Living the Dream
I just finished what most sailors would consider a dream job. I was offered a chance to teach sailing in the Philippines for a new start up resort. After several E-Mails and phone calls I committed to 2 months teaching 6 guides to sail high performance catamarans. These guys had no experience sailing and I only 2 months to get them competent enough to take tourists out on F-18 style boats.
After 4 flights and 2 days of travel I arrived in Manila and caught a flight to Puerto Princessa. Then I boarded a bus for El Nido and 6 hours later I was in my new home for the next couple months. Beautiful White sand beaches, clear water, along with warm temperatures gave me a great feeling about this decision. After a couple texts I was in touch and went to my cottage and then on to Silaga the resort. I was shown around by the owner and we talked about the teaching and sailing program. We discussed his expectations and how I planned to achieve those goals. We then began to rig 3 boats and get some schedule for the next week.
Monday I began the classroom part of the training and introduced the guides to the boats and we covered all the parts of the boat. As the week went on we covered safety, sailing in general and read from several books about cats. With my boss gone for the week and completely green guides we spent all week on the beach till we had a second skipper for safety.
Week two we started sailing with the guides acting as crew on the boat as I drove it. We did this all week with 2 guides at a time sailing then we would switch off and take a different 2 out. We were also beginning a sail making and boat restoration project at the same time. Two of the guides were chosen to work the sail loft and the other 4 were taking boats apart for a full inspection and restoration. By the end of the week I was letting the guides drive with just the tiller and controlling the main myself.
Week three we were down to 5 guides as one of the guys went home and we had to work with what we had. We started letting the guides drive and run the main at the same time with me using an emergency main dump set up if there was a problem that needed correcting. The guides were progressing nicely and I needed to only help a few times and make fewer and fewer corrections. By the time week four rolled around we were taking two boats out and guides were soloing one boat while I sailed as a passenger on the other boat with the other guides. All the guides had been trained in flip recovery and they began to need to use it. We also began to put the spin up when I was on the boat. With almost perfect conditions every day we were getting a lot of time on the water and the training was going good.
By week 5 we were running both boats with spins and the guides were getting comfortable with the boats and their abilities. We had our first injury when one of the guides tried to ride the hull during a capsize and fell on the hull. He hurt his ribs and he was done for the rest of the time I was there. We also booked our first clients and took them out with a guide and chased them with a second boat for safety. Things went well and the guides began to learn the second part of their job acting as a guide. Week six was sailing every day and staying out all day and jumping from island to island. We also booked our second and third tour while continuing to push the sailing program.
Week seven saw us with the last tour of my time there and the four remaining guides solidly sailing every day. We continued keeping both classroom and practical sailing going along with some distance sailing. We were down to the end of my time there and with one week left to sail we got the Wildcat out and moved to three boat sailing. We went into my last week and my wife was there to join us. With the four guides running the Tigers we sailed the Wildcat all over the bay. We did both distance and in bay sailing and with my regular crew we could really show the guides how an F-18 performs when sailed right. After week of this it was time for us to leave. We graduated 4 of the original 6 guides and have one partially trained. Soon the resort will go live and people from all over the world will be able to sail F-18’s in a tropical paradise at El Nido Adventure Sports. We are looking forward to going back and sailing one of the 7 boats they have available.
F-18 5150Member Since 08 Apr 2009
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