So we arrived in Auckland for a week at the Penny Whiting Sailing School, along with eight other slightly anxious nautical noobs. Its blowing 30 knots gusting 40+ and we all reflect the unspoken question – are we going out in this or heading to the RNZYS for some theory work?
Penny’s head appears from the companionway - “What a fantastic breeze – let’s get going!”
Yep, thrown in the deep, windy end alright. So out we go into Auckland Harbour – the only boat on the water and we’re sure people on the shore are thinking “who are those geese”?
What they possibly didn’t know is that we are sailing with a masterful mariner – and one who knows how to lift her students to achieve things they wouldn’t have thought possible and smile at the end of it!
Penny’s sailing school was, truly, an outstanding experience. If we thought it was a bit blowy on Monday, Tuesday brought a gale warning and gusts north of 45 knots – but we overcame! Not only did we overcome, we learned to handle a boat in truly challenging conditions (certainly not ones we’d normally encounter) yet at no time were we at all concerned for ourselves or the boat. Penny was operating well within her (and Endless Summer’s) limits and as such it was a great experience.
As the week unfolded our fledgling skills were rounded with literally hours of tacking and gybing drills – as well as knot tying, winch work, flying headsail changes, man-overboard drills and elementary navigation.
Penny has typical dry Kiwi humour – she can question any aspect of your performance just like your mother does – pointedly but always with humour. Granted, by the end of the week we were all privately terrified of getting anything wrong, but absolutely chuffed in ourselves and each other when we were rewarded with an “excellent tack team”.
Would we recommend Penny’s sailing school? Absolutely and without hesitation. Penny has more experience on the water than most of us could have in 20 lifetimes – and it shows. Sailing can easily be a very dangerous hobby for the poorly trained or inexperienced. At times learning how to do it right requires someone to tell you that you’ve got it wrong – without crushing your confidence. That’s Penny.
The course itself covers all the important aspects of sailing and boat handling – and even with a crew of 10 we all got to practice everything multiple times.
Thanks again Penny – we had a fantastic time, learnt heaps and enjoyed every minute.
Denise & Andrew
An account of the week's sailing by a student at the Penny Whiting Sailing School
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Penny Whiting was award an MBE in 1993 for her Services to Sailing, she has worked as a councillor for Auckland City, authored many books and is Chair of the Auckland Zoo Charitable Trust, as well as many other achievements. Book Penny for an engaging and entertaining speaker.
Penny Whiting provides exclusive premier charters for a one-on-one experience that will teach you all aspects of sailing.