Sailing with Pals on the Pacific

by Kristina Najt on August 6, 2018

Let’s go sailing – “Isn’t that hard?!” “Am I going to have fun?!” “What do I have to do?!” “In the ocean?!” “Are you making up words right now?!”

These are all questions my friends rightfully hit me with when I took them out sailing, for the first time.

Growing up in Michigan, I spent a ton of time out on the water (in the Great Lakes) with my friends and family. Since my parents were both big into boating (specifically sail boat racing), I naturally picked up some of the necessary skills and ended up with a life time love of being out on the water, for sailing in particular. Living out in LA, without access to my own boat (anyone want to be my boat-daddy?!) and a crew of fellow lake-life-lovers, I had to get a little creative and do a little research.

First of all, where can I go sailing at? The ocean, duh. That one was easy and lots of people do it all day, errrrday and all types of boating and water activities are very popular out of Marina del Rey. Check that off the list.

Where can I get a boat? Well turns out, thanks to my BFF Google, there are quite a few places in the greater LA area that offer a variety of boat rentals, lessons, charters and more! A few of the sailing specific places I’ve had good results from are below – check it out!

Now for the crew and a skipper… Finding a skipper; the Captain on a sail boat, was easy. I designated myself, cue the Hunger Games “I volunteer as tribute” scene. Next question, can I find some friends (with enough trust in yours truly) that would want to come out on the water and enjoy doing some sailing with me? Good news, I found them!! Three of them, thank you very much. With a crew of four, including myself, I opted for renting a Catalina 22. The Catalina 22 is one of the most popular sail boats in its class, known for ease of maintenance and safety at sea, operating comfortably with about 2-6 people onboard. Perfect for me and my, capable an adventurous but, beginner crew!

On the morning of our adventure, we loaded up everything we needed (i.e., a cooler with beverages and ourselves with sunscreen) and headed to Marina Del Rey. During our drive, a number of thoughts, all most defiantly of equal importance, started floating about my mind… “which way out of the Marina should we sail, towards Malibu or the South Bay?” “Did I forget my sunglasses? Oh nope, I’m sitting on them, typical.” “Do my friends (aka the crew) know what the jib, the mast, the mainsail and the boom are? Do they know what port and starboard mean?!” “OMG WHAT IF SOMEONE GETS HIT WITH THE BOOM?!” “There is so much traffic, ugh, I’m hungry.” “Oh cool, were almost there! We need to roll-up with a pump-up jam!”

Lucky for the world, I don’t usually subject people to the majority of my inner monologue. However, I did subject my three trusty crew members to a brief “basics of sailing and some sailing vocabulary lesson” while posing the question, “north towards Malibu or south towards Redondo Beach?” Prior to setting sail on the watery part of our adventure, (PUN INTENDED). BOOM! (PUN, AGAIN).

Much like other things in life worth knowing, sailing is something you learn best by doing. But, a little background knowledge party, never hurt nobody, (inset Fergie’s singing voice here). Am I right, or am I right?! Skipper Tina, aka me, “basics of sailing and some sailing vocabulary lesson” consisted pretty much of what I have detailed below. Can you say knowledge drop?? BOOM! (Go me, such a punster).

Port – the left-hand side of the Bow of the boat

Bow – the front of the boat

Stern – the back of the boat

Tiller – the lever, at the Stern, used to steer the boat by controlling the Rudder

Rudder – attached to the Tiller, it determines the direction of the boat by redirecting water past the Hull 

Keel – the fin-like structure on the bottom of the Hull that keeps the boat’s balance 

Hull – the main body of the boat (where the people are) that supports the rigging (aka all the parts of the useful parts of the boat)

Mast – the vertical, center stand of the boat that the Mainsail and the Jib attach to

Jib – the sail that sets ahead of the Mast, towards the Bow of the boat

Mainsail – the sail located behind the Mast, toward the Stern of the boat

Boom – the pole along the bottom of the Mainsail that helps to control the angle/shape of the Mainsail
Note: the Boom moves/swings back and forth across the boat, as necessary, so everyone aboard the sailboat needs to watch they head, (per the name, if you get hit it’ll be bad news).

As a crew, we unanimously decided we’d set sail south of the Marina, towards LAX and the South Bay; concluding that we probably weren’t going to run into Miley in Malibu and seeing airplanes take-off and land over the ocean might be cool. Spoiler alert, it was cool. Also, loud and not very climatic considering like, airplanes are what airports are for… but, I stand by our decision.

Post the cram session and thrilling decision making conversations, we headed over to our very own (for the rest of the day) Catalina 22, with our cooler of beverages in toe. We signed some rental paperwork, chatted through some rules and regulations with the rental company employees and set sail, into the Pacific!

10/10 would recommend planning a day of sailing with some friends. We had an awesome day filled with sunshine, a little bit of panicked squealing, feelings of longing for cute boys on big boats and the blissful ocean breeze. As a matter of fact, the day was awesome to the point that thought we might do it all again… and guess what!? We did do it all again, (minus a percentage of the panicked squealing).

Here’s to hoping you someday find yourself amongst an awesome crew, sailing the Pacific.

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