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Old 15-04-2018, 16:25   #1
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Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

Hi,

I have "small water" boating and canoeing experience. I have handled a power boat in calm water, and a canoe in waves up to two feet. I think I've learned the most about watercraft by handling the canoe in water that was too big for it, and having to constantly stay on top of things.

I'd like to learn to sail, but won't be able to get onto an actual sailboat for a little while. The eventual goal is the take a 30' sailboat far offshore in three years or so. Before I can get onto a boat, I have two ideas as to how to learn. I'm wondering if either is worth it. I can buy a remote control sailboat. This will allow me to get some feel for and handling in rough water. What's nice about this is that a 20 knot wind on the local lake will produce "rough water" for a remote control sailboat. This won't give me a feel for long distance cruising with current, though.

The second, and in a lot of ways easier option, is a sailing simulator called "Sailaway". I'm wondering if this would do more harm than good, teaching unrealistic/false techniques. I played a "bass fishing" simulator years ago, which was absolutely unrealistic. Were the "techniques" actually employed, they would not work. Furthermore, they did nothing to address any of the real aspects of fishing. Would this, or any other, sailing simulator be just as worthless? thanks.
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Old 15-04-2018, 18:51   #2
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

Where are you that you can’t hitch a ride with somebody local?
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Old 15-04-2018, 19:12   #3
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

"Simulators" are fine for a lot of things. Learning to sail ain't one of them. Is there any reason that you can't buy something like a secondhand 420 dinghy on a trailer, keep it in your driveway and sail it on a local lake?

There is absolutely NO satisfactory substitute for getting in a boat and just DOING it :-).

Dinghies like the 420 float in 18" of water, so just stay in the shallows, and go at things gently. It'll take you half an hour to figure out what to do. After that when you are sure you won't capsize 'er, take 'er out in deeper water, and just play around for a while. Once you got the flavour of it, you can refer to sundry YT instructional videos to learn more "stuff" about boat handling. A 420 is actually a 2-man dinghy, so you can invite someone knowledgeable to come with you and show you.

You can prolly buy a secondhand 420 for about the same that you would spend on an R/C toy.

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Old 15-04-2018, 19:48   #4
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

You have to learn to sail by the 'cheeks of your arse' not with a video game!
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Old 15-04-2018, 19:53   #5
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by music321 View Post
Hi,

I have "small water" boating and canoeing experience. I have handled a power boat in calm water, and a canoe in waves up to two feet. I think I've learned the most about watercraft by handling the canoe in water that was too big for it, and having to constantly stay on top of things.

I'd like to learn to sail, but won't be able to get onto an actual sailboat for a little while. The eventual goal is the take a 30' sailboat far offshore in three years or so. Before I can get onto a boat, I have two ideas as to how to learn. I'm wondering if either is worth it. I can buy a remote control sailboat. This will allow me to get some feel for and handling in rough water. What's nice about this is that a 20 knot wind on the local lake will produce "rough water" for a remote control sailboat. This won't give me a feel for long distance cruising with current, though.

The second, and in a lot of ways easier option, is a sailing simulator called "Sailaway". I'm wondering if this would do more harm than good, teaching unrealistic/false techniques. I played a "bass fishing" simulator years ago, which was absolutely unrealistic. Were the "techniques" actually employed, they would not work. Furthermore, they did nothing to address any of the real aspects of fishing. Would this, or any other, sailing simulator be just as worthless? thanks.
Howdy!
Welcome Aboard CF!

Since you are new here on CF, it will help others help you if you give us some more information.

1. Where are you located?
2. Are you an adult? A teen?
3. Do you have the funds to travel to take sailing lessons, or to charter a boat, or to buy a small boat?

Those things matter when making suggestions that could help you.

If you are a young student (a teen) there are some limits on what you might be able to do (and so the suggestions some might make would not be appropriate).

If you are an adult and have enough money to buy a boat, or to buy sailing lessons somewhere, and money to travel, that opens up more possibilities.

If you live far from the ocean or lakes, it may prevent you from sailing locally, as it did me for many years. But, if you are old enough and have money enough, you could possibly learn to sail elsewhere.

Tell us more, so more people can help you with suggestions that fit your situation.
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Bottom Line: RC sailboats and computer simiulations are not the answer to learning how to sail a boat.
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Old 15-04-2018, 20:17   #6
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

thanks for the replies. Well, at least I won't be wasting my time with a simulator! Ideally, I'd love to get a little sunfish, or something similar. I'm middle-aged with some health issues, and I probably won't have the physical strength to sail for another year, which is why I'm asking about alternatives.

Would the remote control boat be worth it, or is it just too different from the real thing?
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Old 15-04-2018, 20:28   #7
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

Unless you are on the boat, you don't "feel" what you need to. Sailing is more about being in tune with nature. You know when to reef, or sheet in or out based partly on the feel of the boat.
The way the wind comes across the sails, the noises the hull and rig makes, the sound of the water across the hull, ect...
That all sounds over romanticized, but it's just the way it is with sailing.
Think of it this way. If you wanted to be a pilot, would having a remote control airplane, or simulator time, qualify you to fly solo? They can give you an idea of what it's like, and are probably better than watching TV. BUT... Get out in a real sail boat, and you will then say(probably even out loud) "ok now I get it"
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Old 15-04-2018, 20:47   #8
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by music321 View Post
thanks for the replies. Well, at least I won't be wasting my time with a simulator! Ideally, I'd love to get a little sunfish, or something similar. I'm middle-aged with some health issues, and I probably won't have the physical strength to sail for another year, which is why I'm asking about alternatives.

Would the remote control boat be worth it, or is it just too different from the real thing?
Save your money for a real boat.

I have owned three RC Sailboats. I sailed them on small ponds (e.g. New York Central Park Boat Pond). They are fun toys, but they are not the same as YOU sailing ON a sailboat. Don't kid yourself that it would be anything like it at all.

Similarly, the computer games or simulators are not the same as being on a real boat. They are fun toys/games, but not the same experience.
___________

If you are limited in funds or mobility, you could use your time to build yourself a small sailboat that is suitable for sailing on lakes (when the water is calm) or in protected waters (ICW, coastal areas when the water is calm).

You could buy a used sailboat like a Sunfish or Laser for about $1,000. They are small, and you will get wet.

You mentioned something about physical strength. You will need to be agile enough to duck under the boom and should be able to pull yourself back into the boat if you capsize, which is very likely when you first start to learn on these boats. With Laser and Sunfish type designs, you sit ON the boat with your feet inside a small well. Other designs allow you to sit IN the boat (differently).

Or you could buy two sheets of plywood and with some simple methods and plans and a few days work (two weekends) you could build yourself a real small sailboat that you could learn how to sail. I mean the "Puddle Duck Racer." I suggest you read about it if you are limited in funds or want to have some hands on fun project prior to hitting the water.

See the photos below for examples of the Puddle Ducks and visit the website for much more info.

Puddle Duck Racer - Easiest Sailboat to Build and Race

These boats are simple. Even children can make them. So it is not beyond the abilities of most people, using simple hand tools (e.g. A power saw, sander).

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Eventually you need to get on bigger boats. Since we don't know where you live, I cannot suggest more.
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Old 15-04-2018, 20:51   #9
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

These photos show the LASER sailboats.
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Old 15-04-2018, 21:47   #10
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

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Originally Posted by music321 View Post
Well, at least I won't be wasting my time with a simulator!
Nonsense! You've been given a bum steer.

Back in 1966 or '67, I had my first learn to fly lesson. In a flying simulator called a Link Trainer. All analogue in those days. One thing I learned from that first experience in the Link Trainer has stuck with me ever since then.

Simulators are now the rule, rather than the exception.

The bridge crew of cargo ships learn how to dock (and other procedures) with a simulator.

Commercial airline pilots use simulators, including PCs running simulator software, regularly -simulators are THE way to test a pilot's ability to respond to emergencies. It's the way to learn the approach to a landing strip you've not seen before.

In various militaries around the world, simulators are used to teach skills for tank drivers, truck drivers, fighter pilots, etc. For all I know, simulators are around for submarines and other vessels.

Of course, the CF members who said sailing involves a lot of 'seat of the arse' feedback are right. So does piloting an aeroplane.

Anyone who suggests you can learn everything from a sailing simulator is crazy. But I've not seen anyone say that.

To say that you cannot learn anything from a sailing simulator is equally crazy.


I've not used the Steam sailing simulator, Sailaway, to which you refer (see: Sailaway - The Sailing Simulator on Steam) so I cannot talk about it.

I have, years back, used simulators the modelled America's Cup races. And one doing a round the world race.

I learned things from both. Making mistakes and correcting them in a simulator is a lot less painful than doing the same on the water.

My message therefore is: if within your resources, by all means try a sailing simulator. You'll learn something if the sailing simulator has been well devised. And if that provides a foundation for later on-the-water experience, so be it. If you don't progress past the simulator, you've lost very little and likely learned something.
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Old 16-04-2018, 02:10   #11
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pirate Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

Sailing is a basically simple game that one learns in a short time.. Monkey see.. Monkey do..
Seamanship is a lot more complex.. so I would suggest the time waiting for your fitness get back up to par you study navigation.. ropework.. the art of pilotage and reading the weather by interpreting clouds.. all the above will serve you well on your future 30ftr..
Boat handling etc can be learnt in adequate basic form in a week.. after that its just down to building up speed and confidence through repitition and pactical experience on the water..
Best wishes..
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Old 16-04-2018, 05:25   #12
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

Check out the ASA simulation game/app. Less glitz and more focused on learning some basic concepts.
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Old 16-04-2018, 05:41   #13
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

Our military flight simulators used to have full motion so much so that you had to wear your seat belt for a carrier landing.

The new shipboard docking simulators do not have motion.

Many new aircraft simulators do not have motion either, but I have had to adjust my seat on takeoff while still climbing, and I tend to pull extra hard to get the seat moving forward because in my mind I'm pulling it uphill!

That new "Sailaway" simulator does look pretty cool though



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Old 16-04-2018, 08:01   #14
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

Hm...

Having learnt to sail, having taught sailing, having learnt to fly gliders, having learnt to fly R/C model aircraft, I'm pretty certain that Link trainers must have been - back in King Arthur's time - just the cat's meow for green-as-grass airmen - scaled 12" = 1 Ft. - and must have saved many a life and much materiel. I am equally certain that controlling an aircraft - scaled 1 1/2" = 1 Ft. - from OUTSIDE the aircraft ain't the same thing as FLYING an aircraft scaled 12" = 1 Ft. Not to mention playing "Battle of Britain" on a computer screen. Flying has little in common with sailing for a host of reasons, so bei mir you can cast that "analogy" aside.

Boatie and Steady have it right. Save your bux. If you cannot get on the water right now, then LEARN the stuff you will eventually have to know to be a skipper. Boat handling and skippering are to ENTIRELY different things. Boat handling is easy. I'll teach you that in a weekend if you care to come my way and promise to work hard and stay focused. Skippering - well, you'll be on your own there, because learning to be a skipper means developing a certain approach, an attitude - what in the military is called "command presence". Along with that, there are vast quantities of "stuff" you need to KNOW, e.g. Metereology, Fluid Mechanics, Pilotage, First Aid, Naval Architecture. And while you take all that aboard via "book larnin'" you need to build actual SEA TIME. In that department, all anyone can do for you is point you in the right direction.

If you want an R/C model boat, or a simulator, there is obviously no reason you shouldn't have them. Some of us do. Just don't confuse playing with such toys with skippering a boat. If you don't want to be a skipper, but just your garden variety "deck gorilla", don't even worry about such things. There are only two things required of a deck gorilla: 1) that he be physically strong, and 2) that he unfailingly, promptly and proficiently does as he is told :-)!

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Old 16-04-2018, 08:10   #15
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Re: Learning to Sail with "Sailaway"?

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Check out the ASA simulation game/app. Less glitz and more focused on learning some basic concepts.
Lot's of good info, thanks! I intend to focus on knots, charting, etc. in the mean time. My biggest concern regarding a simulator would be learning the wrong info. I wasn't aware of the ASA, which seems like a great resource.
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