Knowing everything about a sailboat or navigation, is not necessary to begin to sail, or enjoy sailing.
I started sailing “feet first” – crossing the Atlantic before I knew anything about sailboats. I have learned to teach other women how to enjoy learning to sail by just feel and intuition; using my own experience as an example.
So writes Captain Christy who runs a sailing charters for 4-8 in the Greek Islands
Join a women only crew 7-15 June 2012
A good attitude, open mind, willingness and cooperation do more for feeling at home living and traveling by sailboat than anything else.
I did not learn among women, and my first big experience was with a rather rough captain with a nasty temper… which taught me to bring women to sailing “gently”. I would not want to put people through some of my experiences, although the great majority of sailing experiences that I have had have been on the positive side and all sailing experiences make you a better sailor.
Putting a women at the helm shortly after she has come aboard, showing her just how “doable” it is, without fear, without feeling pressured, giving her that full feeling of traveling under the power of the wind, is one of the most satisfying things that I do. Carrying on with showing women how to live the life of the sea gives me even more satisfaction and after 10 days of just enjoying sailing, most women leave with a good solid knowledge of what it is to handle a sailboat, and they have done it under no pressure, and just enjoying their holiday.
I have made so many friends from my crews, it is now hard to keep up. Sailing brings out the best, we usually get to know each other well and part with a great feeling about the trip as well as the people that made up the crew. Some of my trips have been really a memorable “human experience”.
I find that everyone learns better, in a relaxed environment. There is always time to perfect one’s skills and learn the more complicated things about sailing, but no one comes on a sailing holiday thinking that they are going to go home and sail their own boat, so why make it anything but enjoyable? I try to involve every lady that comes aboard, to the level of their capability, urging them to push their limits just slightly, without fear.
We live in a very protected world these days, people are often afraid to go beyond their normal comfort level, but you have to expand your limits a bit if you are going to really appreciate and take advantage of an experience like this.
I have now taken over 800 people sailing in a period of 18 years, sailing about half the year each year, and with between 4-8 people aboard; I have seen everything, and lived on board with a great variety of people, sometimes it is challenging, but mostly it is rewarding.
Sailing with a group of women tends to put ladies under less pressure to “perform” – that stress is something I try to take OUT of their sailing experience. Learning to work the lines, helm, move freely on deck, and to understand the principles of sailing is just a pleasure, an experience to be enjoyed, there is no need to feel worried about it or think that someone is going to expect you to know anything. I surely don’t, I just lead the way to a great experience, I give each crew member the possibility to “use the stage” that I provide for them, what they do on that stage, is up to them. Some people come to just sit back and let others sail the boat, there is nothing wrong with that either.
The great feeling of freedom that sailing gives you, the way it puts you directly in contact with the forces that govern our earth, does something to connect you with what is real, what is important about life.
At this point in my life, I cannot even imagine not sailing for 6 months each year, it is just too special.
Sailing in the Greek islands also gives you the possibility to adventure as much underwater as above it; there is NOTHING dangerous in the waters in these islands, day or night – it is a wonderful environment to be totally relaxed in, and be able to enjoy all aspects of the life that living on a sailing boat can offer.
Sailing is the focus of my trips, but being in direct contact with the people and culture of these small Greek islands is just as important and I like to give people plenty of time to enjoy each island, each anchorage; being in really special and non touristy places is part of the joy of sailing.
I am known as Capitanissa Cristina – in the Greek Islands, but I was born, Christy Herman, in a small farming town in California some 50 odd years ago…many changes and many a wind shift later, has blown me to the island of Leros, by way of Italy, where I spent many years apprenticing and building a life as a fine arts print maker, later a wine store owner, and “Under the Tuscan Sun” style, restorer of Tuscan colonica houses, long before the book came out…this work was an endeavor that I loved as much as the printmaking. Along the way I learned and practiced the craft of beekeeping, which I hope to take up again, along with the print making, in retirement if that ever happens! Until then, I sail in the waters of the Aegean between the islands of the Dodecanese with Pwyll, my 44′ Jeanneau sailing sloop, from May to October. Between sailing trips I work on a 100% sustainable home building project along with my fiance, Michael there on Leros Island our home base.
The roof is on…the walls are slowly being filled in, it is a 10 year project. My fiance backs me up and helps keep Pwyll running smoothly. We currently live on Michael’s yacht, a 1938 classic fishing vessel built in Leeds, Scotland. In the down season, for about 5 months, I spend time in California with my sister, producing a hand care product that I invented in 1990 made from bee’s wax and olive oil, and in Italy, where I keep a foothold in a small country abode in Umbria, and spend time with one very loved kitty by the name of Missy, the carousel comes around and every spring we put Pwyll back in the sea and ready her for sailing in May.