Having never been on a sailing vessel, Lala Koa came to us last year with the ambition to earn the Yachtmaster qualification. Now, almost a year on Lala has progressed through the Competent Crew, RYA Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper theory, diesel and radio courses and has transitioned to living on her own vessel with her 12-year-old son. Naturally, we wanted to know more!
Whilst living my repetitive, corporate life as sole provider for my family, I became addicted to watching the reality show ‘Below Deck’ which in turn led me into following peoples’ sailing journeys on YouTube. After a few months, I realised that those people living their lives sailing around the world aren’t so different to me and decided to look for a local school where I could learn to sail and found Southern Cross Yachting.
Did you have a background in boating/sailing before embarking on the SCY courses?
I started scuba diving when I was 12 years old so had spent a lot of time on boats however the first time I had ever been on a sailing vessel was with SCY on my Competent Crew course.
What initially drew you to the Yachtmaster qualification and has your end goal changed at all as you’ve progressed through the courses?
I am an all or nothing type of person so if I decide to do something, I want to go all the way, or keep going until other opportunities present themselves.
It was no different with learning to sail. I dove head first into all the courses required to complete Yachtmaster starting with LR Radio Licence (which led me to join the Brisbane Coastguard) and the Diesel Engine course which made me more confident with the purchase and operations of my own sailing vessel). I am still on my way to completing Coastal Skipper however whether I take that final step to Yachtmaster is unknown at this stage.
Having completed a variety of courses with us, is there one lesson/learning in particular that has stuck with you more than others?
The biggest learning I have had through my journey with SCY is that if I can learn to travel using only the ocean, the wind and my knowledge then I can do anything. Learning to take control of a yacht has released a lot of limiting beliefs that I had about myself.
In this last year, you’ve moved onto your own vessel at the marina. How has the transition to live-aboard life with your 12-year-old been so far?
The transition to living aboard our 30ft yacht has been liberating. We shed all of our belongings that didn’t comfortably fit on board and cleared so much accumulated clutter. We also decluttered our schedules by me quitting my corporate job to be more involved in maritime related work and my son transitioning to home school which he does on board in the navigation station.
On top of that, we have become part of such a lovely community at the marina. The type of community where neighbours regularly talk to one another, where you can’t walk down a dock without someone greeting you with a smile, and where we wake up to a gorgeous view of the morning sky through the hatch.
Do you have any advice for someone who is considering learning to sail but might be nervous to start as an adult?
Age is just a number and you are never too old to learn to sail. The sailing community is so kind and welcoming, even to newbies, and SCY has amazing instructors who instil absolute confidence in students through clear instructions and repetition. The Introduction to Sailing course is a really easy way to see if it’s your cup of tea before committing to a live-aboard course however you can’t beat the full immersion of living aboard a sailing vessel.