Jack Sailing. I love sailing by Daryl Geary proprietor of Jack Sailing (part 1)
By Jack Sailing, Mar 2 2015 10:30AM
I first experienced sailing at the age of 10 as a boy growing up in Torquay. We would spend most of our days down the harbour. Me & my mate Toby used to ask people if we 'can have a go on your boat mate'. This got us into all sort of scrapes which has left us with strong memories, near death experiences, basic sea survival instincts and the knowledge of the awesome fun you can have on the water.
One particular trip we got a ride on a 22 foot power boat. The Londoners, had 'picked it up on the way down' (we found out later). We set off to Paignton on a beautiful flat calm summer’s day. To our surprise the owner deliberately ran the boat up the beach. This was all in the plan, as they had ordered a surface riding prop from the local Mercury dealer in Preston earlier. There and then the owner fitted the prop on the beach.
From there we headed for Brixham at great speed and with a grin. Look at us we thought, aren't we lucky! On our return from Brixham harbour the wind & sea state had increased a lot , and we didn't feel quite so lucky as we set off back to Torquay. The owner didn't know how to handle the sea state and it was too rough for this type of boat anyway. Irrespective of these facts we returned to Torquay at speed, bouncing from wave to wave, from wave to wave. Toby and I had no choice but to hang on to the rail around the foredeck for dear life, and grit our teeth until we were back into the harbour.
With all the different types of boats I went on, I always preferred sailing boats right from the start. I seemed to know where my legs were!
Whilst travelling in Australia I bought my first boat, a Vaucluse Junior, going fifty fifty with an experienced dinghy helm. We took on a bit of a project as the boat was made of ply and needed restoring before we could go on the water. I had never been on a dinghy, let alone a hair raising skiff before!
Sunday, Double Bay, Sidney Harbour, our first sail...
At 3pm a fresh breeze arrives. Once I got on I realised I had to sit and balance myself on a thin plank of wood, no wire or harness! As a complete novice to dinghy sailing that took some practice, with lots of UN-PLANNED dunking. As well as falling off I also used to get off. This thing was scary!
The hardest bit was when you needed to go out on the plank. It was easy to miss. To tack, or gybe, you had to pull yourself in on the jib sheet and somehow take the plank with you to the other side, only to find it not under you on the next tack! The planks also moved fore and aft so it was easy for a wave to push it aft before you sat on it!
On Sundays we used to rig up next to the 18foot Skiffs. These were radical and I wanted a go on one. This unfortunately never happened as I continued on my travels.
But after my adventures in that marvellous harbour, I vowed to myself that when I returned to England I would take up my passion for sailing.
My plan was to live in Brighton and commute to London for my job and continue to sail. Things didn’t work out that way and I found myself stuck back in London.
But the sea was calling me and as soon as possible I returned to Torquay. Then my chance came at a party in 2000. I was telling some people about my thwarted passion for sailing and they said to get myself down to Torquay harbour on Wednesday nights as people were always looking for crew. At last I was back on the water, crewing on a Cork 1720.