Sarah Gaynor (@gaynordesigns), our contest winner for “free classes for a year” will be documenting her nitty gritty class experience with us for the next twelve months – here’s her second Dabble class!

When I signed up to take a boating class I had to fight off two different urges:

  1. To wear an entire boating themed outfit, complete with anchor-patterned shirt
  2. Saying, “Is it yar?” in my best Katharine Hepburn impersonation

Thankfully for my instructor and fellow Dabblers I managed to refrain from doing both. 

So bright and early Saturday morning, in my finest rubber soled shoes, I made my way to Diversey Harbor to learn boating basics.  First, our instructor Peter showed us the boat engines and explained the basic mechanics. As Peter took us through safety and cleaning, you began to realize the amount of work and care it takes to properly maintain a boat. We learned where to get fuel, how to get a dock, and where you can store boats in the off-season. After all that came the really fun part, we got to drive the boat. 

Now on Friday night, in my excitement to drive a boat the next morning, someone corrected me and insisted I would be “steering” or “piloting” a boat. In my defense Peter also said, “drive” so I’m going to go with it. We first started in the harbor; the boat has two engines so each engine had it’s own shifter and throttle. With skill you can steer the boat without using the wheel at all and just use the shifters. Each Dabbler got a chance to turn the boat in the harbor; we got a feel for using the twin engines. Honestly, I was nervous to be behind the wheel of a 28 ft. boat but when I got up for my turn Peter was right there to help me out.

After our time in the harbor we headed out onto a very choppy Lake Michigan. Fair warning if you get seasick, best to not take the class on a very windy day. We went to an area of Lake Michigan by Navy Pier and each got a turn driving the boat around.

I don’t know the exact miles per hour, but we were definitely moving. And it was a blast! At the start of the class, when you’re beginning to understand the true costs of owning a boat you question if it’s really worth it. The docking fees, cleaning, insurance, gas and off-season storage really start to add up. But after just about 30 minutes cruising around on the lake you understand completely. 

– Sarah Gaynor, @gaynordesigns