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Monday, March 4, 2024

“Sailing Uncharted Waters: My Thrilling Journey Without Prior Experience”

Sailing Uncharted When brainstorming a day out with friends, the usual choices often revolve around malls, arcades, or parks. However, my recent escapade in Dubai offered a unique alternative – two hours of sailing in the azure sea, courtesy of Wind Rises, a company committed to making sailing accessible to the masses in Dubai.

Navigating the Basics: A Briefing for the Uninitiated

Accompanied by five friends, we arrived at the Port Rashid bay, where an initial briefing introduced us to the basics of sailing. With none of us having prior experience with sailboats, the technical jargon presented a challenge. Concerns about safety arose, especially from a friend who couldn’t swim – what if the boat tipped over?

Assurance in Stability: Sailing with Confidence: Sailing Uncharted 

Reassuringly, our 19-year-old instructor, Ross Mackinnon, explained the boat’s design, emphasizing its stability. Fitted with a keel bulb, the boat remains upright regardless of wind intensity. With life jackets secured and complimentary sunglass straps in place, we set sail, completely ignorant of sailing intricacies.

Sailing Dynamics: From Downwind to Upwind: Sailing Uncharted

The 28-foot boat utilized a motor to reach the open water, where Ross demonstrated unfurling the main sail. One person manned the tiller, steering the boat, while the rest of us assisted in various tasks. As we sailed downwind, my turn arrived to unfurl the Gennaker sail – a moment of exhilaration as the sail caught the wind.

Thrills of Transition: Maneuvering Through Tacks

After an hour of downwind sailing, we transitioned to sailing upwind, lowering the Gennaker sail and hoisting the jib sail under Ross’s guidance. Tacking maneuvers and shifts in balance became part of the experience, adding to the thrill.

Ross’s Expertise: Navigating the Seas with Skill

One remarkable aspect was Ross’s ability to discern subtle changes in water and wind directions, adjusting the tiller accordingly. Starting sailing at the age of 10, his expertise was evident as he skillfully navigated the boat.

Expanding Horizons: Wind Rises’ Mission in Dubai: Sailing Uncharted

Having recently arrived in Dubai, Ross acknowledged the city’s appeal but noted the need for the sailing community to expand. Recognizing sailing as an expensive sport, he emphasized Wind Rises’ efforts to make it more accessible to the public.

Sailing Opportunities: Trips, Races, and Inclusivity

Wind Rises offers sailing trips starting at Dh300 per person or Dh1500 for a boat, conducting trips four times a day. Additionally, weekend sailing races, inclusive of beginners with an instructor, provide an opportunity for enthusiasts to engage in the sport.

Return to the Jetty: Flush with Excitement: Sailing Uncharted

Returning to the jetty, our faces flushed with excitement, we understood the allure of sailing. The unique experiences of managing sails, steering the tiller, and navigating the boat left us eager to plan a return for a weekend of racing.

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