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Old 20-07-2006, 12:11   #1
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Learn Ocean Sailing

I'm looking for advice on a good ocean sailing school in North Carolina.

I am recently retired (well, semi retired anyway) and would like to learn to sail. I prefer a live aboard sailing school that will provide me with a basic cruising license on successful completion. Not that it really matters I guess but I think I'd like to learn on something that is about 35 feet in length.

I have absolutely no sailing experience so any advice will be appreciated.

Are there some books I should read before attempting the school, etc.


John Jones

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Old 20-07-2006, 17:32   #2
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check out OPO

Look on the web for Offshore passage Opportunities.
fair winds,

Amel Super Maramu
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Old 22-07-2006, 13:34   #3
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Raleigh -- check out ASA _ American Sailing Assoc. -- as they have a few schools in your area -- I stared out with zero knowledge of sailing or sail boats and they taught me well. 1st class is just basic and i mean basic sailing but classes 2-3 can be taken together and they are liveaboard.
good luck
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Old 22-07-2006, 15:35   #4
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I'd also join the US Power and Sail Squadron. They have lots of classes and you'll probably have many oppurtunities to sail. Classes are just the begining, experience will teach you SO much more.
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Old 23-07-2006, 02:05   #5
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I enjoyed the ASA classes (which will vary greatly with the school and instructor) but the books suck. The "newer" editions are late 90s. You might try "The Complete Sailor" by Seidman as a supplement for the sailing 101 text, lots of graphics and well written. "The Annapolis Book of Seamanship" by Rousmaniere is a classic and would be great as a second read to expand on and further develop the basics found in the "Complete Sailor". For cruising skills I found Nigel Calder's "Cruising Handbook" to be really great. There are lots of great books out there but these three rate particularly high on my list.

Strygaldwir is right though, actual sailing, in particular with folks who know what they're doing (which are incidentally rarer than the other type) is the best teacher. I recommend: read a little, sail a little, repeat.

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. -- HG Wells
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Old 23-07-2007, 12:38   #6
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I must suggest that reading would be a great help before you get out on the water. If you go to any local book store, grab a copy of The Complete Sailor. It helps me alot with basic terminology. I am about to start my sailing course next week, actually. I have never sailed a day in my life, but I am sure i will pick it up quite fast. I am gifted like that

In a couple weeks I will be posting my progress up here on the boards. stay tune to that
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Old 23-07-2007, 12:57   #7

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John, you will probably find it simpler and more effective to take a Basic Sailing course then Advanced Sailing course, typically each 3 days on weekends in 24' boats. It is simpler to learn "just the sailing" part, without the bigger more complex boat. And then, either pause to practice more sailing (and perhaps look into racing and spinnaker sailing, because every cruiser becomes a racer when there's only one opening left at the marina you are trying to reach for dinner<G>) before moving on to the really expensive course, i.e. cruising aka bareboating which is usually a week spent on board something in the 36-42 foot size. That will usually presume you know the basics of sailing, and while you will be sailing, it will concentrate more on systems, seacocks, anchoring, navigation, etc. All very different from the basics of learning to sail a boat and trim the sails. (No reason to use the big expensive boat to teach those basics.)

"a basic cruising license" No such thing in the US. If you have certifications from a major independent school (like Offshore Sailing School) or from the ASA, they will be accepted to some extent by any large charterer. But without sailing experience and a log book to show, they may still require you to go out with one of their captains for an hour to prove you can handle their boat.
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Old 23-07-2007, 13:06   #8
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Search US Sailing & ASA

RP: I'll put a vote in for US Sailing because that's what I've experienced but know others happy with ASA too.
Here's link to US Sailing web page that allows you to search for certified schools
Find a Place to Sail

ASA version
Find a Sailing School - American Sailing Association

Each has a step approach from basic keelboat to Ocean.....but agree with HS on starting with the basics.
Yes, books that were mentioned will help supplement the course material provided by each school
Good Luck!!!
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Old 23-07-2007, 19:03   #9
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I have to agree with the crowd. ASA or US Sail both have an established series of classes. If you really want to ocean sail then I would suggest you complete the whole series. There are a lot of ways to learn to sail but jumping off a cliff into a long ocean passage isn't the easy way. I would be leery of any skipper that would let someone with no experience aboard on an extended ocean passage. If working your way up does not seem like fun then I doubt starting out on a long trip would either. It is supposed to be fun but it helps with some knowledge and experience under your belt to actually enjoy it.

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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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