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Old 15-05-2016, 12:30   #1
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Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Hi all. I've always been interested in sailing but I have never had the chance to follow that dream. I'd like to start gaining some experience and spend time on a ship so that I can take steps towards my goal. I don't know where to start. I live in Southeast Florida, in the Ft. Lauderdale area. I've looked into sailing schools but I'd like to know what other options I have to learn. If anybody has any suggestions or tips on how to start down the path to cruising I would really appreciate it. Thank you
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Old 16-05-2016, 06:31   #2
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

I would take a basic dingy sailing course then look into crewing on other boats while shopping for your own.
I'm not a big fan of long lists of courses some people suggest, put the money into your own boat. When you feel you need it then take some navigation courses.
Sailing is quite easy in reality, but it takes experience to be ready for anything that might pop up. Courses can't really teach this. In general most new sailors I've met who have gone the multiple course route think they know far more than they really do.
Learn the basic points of sail and the rules of the road then have at it.
Don't get too hung up on your first boat, it won't be your last. Get something fun and responsive then figure out what YOU want in the next boat.
I really suggest dingy sailing at first, you can't hide from mistakes.
People are always looking for people to crew that have at least some experience, check out the local racing scene. Be honest about your skill level, listen and be on time, also bring some treats! You will get invited back.
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Old 16-05-2016, 09:10   #3
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Siberian about covered it. Getting started with dingy sailing will help you learn a lot. Start reading everything you can. Get out on the water - racing is a great way to do this. Sailing clubs can also be a great way to meet other sailors and get out on the water.

I would argue that if you find a good school with great instructors - you can learn a lot! But nothing makes up for time on the water where you get to put that knowledge to the test. Sailing school can help you avoid a lot of mistakes and give you a big head start - but you will really become a sailor out on the water!

Let me know if I can help you with any questions about sailing schools.
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Old 16-05-2016, 10:02   #4
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Rent... rent.... rent some more before buying.

The more you learn before buying the more likely you are to end up with a boat you'll actually use.
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Old 16-05-2016, 14:42   #5
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Thank you all for the info. I found a intro to sailing coarse that covers sailing in a Sunfish. The school is also affiliated with a sailing club so maybe I can get involved with that.
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Old 16-05-2016, 14:46   #6
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Sailing for Dummies

A really great book, seriously.
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Old 22-05-2016, 07:00   #7
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

if your ultimate goal is a life-aboard on your own vessel.. would a week long competent crew course be enough to get you in a position to start shopping around?

buying process seems overwhelming as a newbie, but with lots of research and a good surveyor is it reasonable to jump right into a 35-45' vessel?

if not, can anyone suggest how much training should be had before shopping?
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Old 22-05-2016, 12:30   #8
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Joel,

First learn to sail. To me this means a lot of small boat sailing, likely racing locally. Most yacht clubs have weekly OD racing (Friday evenings is popular) that are open to the public. Find out what is being sailed locally and jump in. First by asking to crew (just show up at the dock) and later by buying your own boat (whatever is sailed where you are). All up cost for this should be in $2,000 range.

Once you have done this for a year and are reasonably capable of getting around the race course on your own then go take a liveaboard class, charter a bigger boat, and get some big boat experience.

You can really only learn to sail on small boats. Big boats dampen the feel of what's happening so much it gets lost in the noise.
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Old 22-05-2016, 13:15   #9
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

I used to teach sailing, and really did not like instructing on Sunfish. The problem is that they are so over-sailed that you can make them go when you're really not doing much right. Various dinghies force you to sail right or they just sit there or flip over. That said, I know no better path than dinghy training for the basics, and then crewing for a good skipper on something bigger.
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Old 22-05-2016, 16:45   #10
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Joel,

I would say that the more sailing experience you get, the more you will know about what you want in a boat. Remember - your first boat will probably not be your last boat. I would suggest taking a class and then get out on the water as much as you can.

A 35' - 45' boat is definitely doable as your first boat - but you won't learn as quickly on a big boat and it can be cost prohibitive to get out and sail on a bigger boat.

That being said - lots of people do it! The important part is getting out and sailing.
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Old 23-05-2016, 04:17   #11
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

sounds like good advice.. thank you..

I think i'm over anxious to get something i can live on, as i'm currently living in Thailand, but don't have long term visa status.

I know of some friendly "open to the public" races coming up that i will try and participate in.. and am still waiting to hear back from three sailing schools about classes..

any thoughts on far to go with classes?

a lot of the schools have internship programs, but i've talked to some interns who are feeling a little used.. so i might have to research how to find a good crew position instead.

if i can find a dingy that would be a nice way to spend my days.. i imagine i could find a mooring for it, as my only vehicle is a scooter :P

thanks for the help, i will stop looking at the live-aboard classifieds and focus on getting on the water.
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Old 23-05-2016, 18:48   #12
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Thinking about your hopes causes me to realize that learning to sail, which I did more than 60 years ago in an Optomist Class dinghy (the most widely used trainer in the world) is only a small part of your task. You want to cruise and live aboard. That means learning pilotage, some navigation, motors, weather, electrical systems, docking, anchoring, radios and other electronics, multiple sails, and in fact any of the topics you find in threads in Cruisers Forum. That doesn't mean that you have to be strong in all; the threads would not be there if there were not cruisers with questions, but it's not just a business of learning to sail.
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Old 27-05-2016, 02:22   #13
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
Thinking about your hopes causes me to realize that learning to sail, which I did more than 60 years ago in an Optomist Class dinghy (the most widely used trainer in the world) is only a small part of your task. You want to cruise and live aboard. That means learning pilotage, some navigation, motors, weather, electrical systems, docking, anchoring, radios and other electronics, multiple sails, and in fact any of the topics you find in threads in Cruisers Forum. That doesn't mean that you have to be strong in all; the threads would not be there if there were not cruisers with questions, but it's not just a business of learning to sail.
Good points tkeithlu!

currently looking at a Zero-to-Hero program that gets you your Bareboat Skipper qualification. Doing 10 days live-aboard and 1 day in the classroom..
not sure if anytime is spent on Dinghies, although the school does have a few

also forgot to mention i know how to Windsurf.. so i understand the basics of the wind, jibing, tacking..

Any recommendations on material to study to before class starts?

thanks for your input!
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Old 27-05-2016, 06:29   #14
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

Sure. Chapman's Pilotage, but earlier editions are better than recent, and for cruising boats, Nigel Calder, Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual. If you get serious about off shore, download for free a copy of Bowditch the American Practical Navigator. It's out of copyright, but still the bible. At present the DoD prints it for the Navy. A copy is on this laptop. There are others - I'm a bit out of date on some of this.
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Old 02-06-2016, 06:23   #15
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Re: Interested in Learning, Don't know where to start

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
Sure. Chapman's Pilotage, but earlier editions are better than recent, and for cruising boats, Nigel Calder, Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual. If you get serious about off shore, download for free a copy of Bowditch the American Practical Navigator. It's out of copyright, but still the bible. At present the DoD prints it for the Navy. A copy is on this laptop. There are others - I'm a bit out of date on some of this.
Awesome thanks! i have Nigel Calder's book, still have a bit to go there..
also just got 200 pages to study from the school i'm going with..
JavaYachting.

The 10 days live-aboard course i'm doing is on a 39' Cat.. which is what i requested.. but as i'm concerned with being able to find a 'pocket cat' in my 50k-80kUSD budget.. i'm starting to second guess my choice to be taught on a Multi-hull... it sounds like if you learn on a Mono most skills can transfer to a Multi...
If i learn how to sail on a Multi, will most skills transfer to a Mono?
thanks
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