One of the most popular 2-unit classes at USC is Nautical Science 001: Deepwater Cruising, or as most people call it – sailing. The class is structured into three parts — the first five weeks are on-campus lectures, where students learn everything from the anatomy of a sailboat, to rules of the sea (like who has the right of way), to old-school navigation. After the lectures are over, the class no longer meets every week. Instead, everyone breaks into groups and each weekend a different group goes on an overnight sailing voyage. The last part of the class is the final, but since I’m taking the class for audit, I don’t have to take the final!
The voyage is definitely the highlight of the class for most (all?) students, and mine this past weekend did not disappoint. Ordinarily, the trip is out to Catalina Island on the first day and back to Long Beach on the second day. Unfortunately, a storm moved in this weekend, causing 8 foot seas and water spouts, so instead of crossing the channel, we sailed up the coast a little bit to the quaint little port town of Alamitos Bay. Although rain on the first day made for a cold and slippery trip, the weather on day 2 was perfect — not too hot, not too cold, sun sparkling on the water, and great wind that pushed us all around the water well into the afternoon.
We got to learn how to raise and lower the sails, tack, steer, and plot a course using charts and a compass. Although I’m not good enough yet to charter a boat on my own, I’ve certainly caught the sailing “bug.” Hopefully I can get another chance to get out on the water, soon!