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Old 23-01-2015, 15:28   #1
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SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Hi everyone,
I'm a wannabe sailor and would love some advice about learning to sail. I started a combination of ASA 101 and 103 last year, but stopped just before taking the exam. I loved being out on the water, but even though the material made sense, I never felt like I had enough practice to trust myself with the tasks we were learning. Pair that with money and time both being tight, and I was continually in a state of worry about what would happen/ what damage I would cause if I messed something up.

I tried again a few months later by joining a local sailing club. In many ways it was great, but I think the vibe of the club was better for people who already knew how to sail and just wanted to socialize.

So: third time's a charm, right? Somewhere in the long-term I would love to be able to charter or own a boat, and take it out on trips with my husband...but in the meantime I need a way to learn that allows me to practice and gain some confidence in my skills. I need to do it on a tight budget, and without too much spare time (lets say I could either schedule a 3-4 day crash-course over a school holiday, or grab an afternoon off once a week.)
Any ideas of options for learning and practicing? I'm located in (landlocked) Pasadena CA, but Marina Del Rey and Long Beach are within reasonable driving distance.
Thanks so much for any ideas or information. My hat's off to all you amazing sailors out there!
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Old 23-01-2015, 15:45   #2
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

You might find a more congenial way to learn to sail with other women. There are women-only sailing courses, such as "Women for Sail," (if memory serves correctly) which you can check out.

Alternatively, you can book a three-four day sailing course in a "destination," such as Florida with a sailing school (Colgate comes to mind) and bring hubby along. He can lounge during the day while you are in class and on the water and then you meet up for dinner with him each day.

It's fun and worth the investment.

Dhillen
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Old 24-01-2015, 10:40   #3
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Howdy Anya.

If one has a big budget, one can fly to a destination for an expensive course or "crewed charter."

If one has very little budget or none, your options are different.

My suggestions are based on what you outlined in your intro to this thread:
1. Southern California
2. Low Budget
3. Do not currently own a boat
4. You have already taken some classes
5. Desire to learn practical things and gain experience
6. Turned off by the social aspects of a sailing club

So my suggestions for you. You may have already heard these before many times, because they generally work and are relatively easy.

1. Present yourself as "Available Crew" (e.g. post notices on crew boards both online and at marinas) and clearly state your desire to learn, your previous experience on boats (little or much) and your past study of sailing (formal classes). Since you are married, I would also mention that. Some skippers may be looking at female crew as potential partners, so best to get that settled up front.

My Tip: Avoid telling boat owners you are a "kook" before you meet them (as in your title of your thread). Let them learn that themselves. Of course you might find you have something in common with them too. Or just say you are Dutch. On the other hand, many boat owners looking for crew on overnight cruises or deliveries do appreciate having a "cook" onboard.

"Crew" means many things. Some could be even unskilled and may be called "rail meat" (movable weight on racing boats). Others develop knowledge and skills to take on more tasks and become more valuable to skippers. Which you become is up to you.

My Tip: Document each time you go sailing. Get the skipper to write a short note about what you did or learned in a small "logbook" you keep.

Once you get some "hands on" experience, and IF you are friendly and helpful and dependable as crew, you will probably have no trouble getting more time on more boats.

2. If you cannot find a skipper willing to take you on as crew, offer to pay (a little may be all that is needed) for lessons by experienced sailors who have a boat, but don't have regular crew. These may not get you a certification, but you might learn a lot that would cost very little. This payment could be minimal.

3. Continue to study sailing, either in books, videos, or online. There are many resources available now, most are free over the internet. You can learn a lot, prior to stepping on a boat. In fact, learning before you get on as crew will make you much more valuable as a crew member, rather than a clueless crew.

4. If you have some money, you could consider renting or buying a small boat. Some boats (dinghy type boats) can be bought used for about $500 - $1,000. This could be a lot of fun. But, if you don't have the money to buy a boat or to pay for lessons, you can still get on boats (and learn) by serving as crew. Many people do this.

4. Don't give up.
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Old 24-01-2015, 11:01   #4
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Hey Dhillen and Steady Hand - Thank you so much for the ideas and tips. Steady Hand - I love both the ideas of working as "available crew", and of finding someone more experienced who could teach on their boat for not TOO much money. Where would I look for both of these? (I'll happily list as available crew on the Crew Positions forum here, but there must be other places I'm not aware of as well.) And finding someone willing to teach privately might just be my personal holy grail...where would you look for a teacher?

Thanks so much for the advice!
P.S. I like being social on a boat (sailors are awesome people.) The particular situation in the club I joined was just a little awkward.
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Old 24-01-2015, 12:03   #5
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Where to post "Crew Available" notices?

Anywhere you think sailors will see it.


I hope to encourage you.
I have enjoyed thousands of miles of sailing as crew for a wide variety of boats (mostly in races and mostly offshore). So, being "crew" can be a good way to learn, practice, and experience many different kinds of boats, sailors, and types of sailing (casual, cruising, racing).

Online "crew" sites exist but may be more focused on delivery crew (longer voyages) and may require paying a fee to join.

This site (CF) has a place to do the posting for free.

Other possibilities:

Your Local Area:

1. Yacht Clubs (generally have bulletin boards)
2. Sailing Clubs
3. Chandleries (boat supply shops such as West Marine, etc.)
4. Marina bulletin boards
5. Local sailing magazines (in San Francisco it is "Latitude 38")
6. Local "Lessons" type magazines that feature classifieds. You know, those free magazines that feature classifieds for anything one wants to learn or hire.

More than local?

1. Boat "brand" type forums (e.g. Catalina Owners in Southern California, etc. )
2. Racing "Class" type sites or forums (e.g. one design racing classes have newsletters)

I hope this helps. Good luck!
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Old 24-01-2015, 15:19   #6
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Marina del Rey (and many other harbors) has a great chapter of Women's Sailing Association.

Women's Sailing Association of Santa Monica Bay
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Old 24-01-2015, 20:56   #7
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

TN, that's a very considerate suggestion. Well done, sir.

Anya, once the other ladies get a chance to meet you, and realize you're happy to help out at haulout time, and crew on a learn as you go basis, I think it'll work out quite well.

Best of luck with it,

Ann

PS. Before I ever met Jim, a woman friend got me started crewing on sailboats. Now, we've been cruising for longer than people's lifetimes used to be.
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Old 24-01-2015, 21:04   #8
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Anne--thank you. They are an amazing bunch of women, dedicated to sailing and particularly to helping new sailors learn and become involved.
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Old 29-01-2015, 08:23   #9
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

You have lots of great information and suggestions here already. Especially from Steady Hand. Honestly - that's about how I learned. But - if you decide to splurge and do a destination trip - we would love to answer any questions you might have!


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Old 29-01-2015, 14:47   #10
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Hi everyone,
Thanks again for the suggestions...work got pretty crazy and I couldn't even log into the forums for a few days, but things should slow down a little this weekend...I'm looking forward to following up with the Women's Sailing association.
If you have any other ideas on where to let people know that you are available crew, send them along. Thank you so much for all your ideas!
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Old 19-04-2017, 08:57   #11
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Another kook looking to gain sailing time

Your post was so similar to the one that I posted a few months ago that I had to reply. I am an older guy that is retired now and I too went down a perhaps similar ASA path that you did with marginal results. I was not real keen on the idea of ASA training to begin with, mainly becasue I learn faster if I am self taught or if I just go out and do what ever it is that I want to learn and pick it up with a hands on approach. Interestingly enough, I grew up in the Pasadena area where you are from now, actually Sierra Madre. It sounds like I have run into some of the same sort of difficulties that you hve encountered in trying to get experience sailing. My next attempt to make some headway with sailing is to trade my work skills as a woodworker (guitar maker) and or fix it guy for time on the water. It would either be that or try and crew somewhere. Only thing is that crewing at my age is like trying to get s job at my age, pretty tough thing to do these days. Have you ever attempted to crew locally? And also, do you have any skills that you could trade for experience on the water? Whatever the case may be, I wish you the luck that I too am going to need in order to get there. It feels a bit odd to be to be able to purchase a sailboat, but not have the skills to sail the bloody thing, at least not just yet! John
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Old 20-04-2017, 11:18   #12
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Try the new "Go Sailing" app. It's specifically for connecting skippers with crew members, free on the App Store, sponsored by ASA.
Time on the water is key to gaining confidence!
Martin
San Diego.
PS if you're down San Diego way, I'd be happy to sail with you and offer some coaching along the way
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Old 20-04-2017, 11:33   #13
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Hi Anya and welcome to the forum.

One thought, isn't saying SoCal Kook kind of redundant. Us eastcoasters kind of assume the kook is the standard for California.

Seriously, just remember we all had to start learning somewhere. I have never heard of anyone that was born an expert sailor.

I agree with the previous suggestions to find a way to sail as a volunteer crew. The options available may depend a lot on your life and commitments. If you have job and/or family then you will need to find short term opportunities closer to home. If you can take a few weeks off and can travel that opens a lot more doors. For example on the east coast there is an annual pilgrimage up and down the coast. Cruisers in the NE head south in the fall to escape the cold, back north in the spring to get out of the hurricane zone. There are pretty frequent opportunities for crew on these trips.

Good luck and happy sailing.
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Old 20-04-2017, 12:00   #14
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by anyaJ View Post
Hi everyone,
I'm a wannabe sailor and would love some advice about learning to sail. I started a combination of ASA 101 and 103 last year, but stopped just before taking the exam. I loved being out on the water, but even though the material made sense, I never felt like I had enough practice to trust myself with the tasks we were learning. Pair that with money and time both being tight, and I was continually in a state of worry about what would happen/ what damage I would cause if I messed something up.

I tried again a few months later by joining a local sailing club. In many ways it was great, but I think the vibe of the club was better for people who already knew how to sail and just wanted to socialize.

So: third time's a charm, right? Somewhere in the long-term I would love to be able to charter or own a boat, and take it out on trips with my husband...but in the meantime I need a way to learn that allows me to practice and gain some confidence in my skills. I need to do it on a tight budget, and without too much spare time (lets say I could either schedule a 3-4 day crash-course over a school holiday, or grab an afternoon off once a week.)
Any ideas of options for learning and practicing? I'm located in (landlocked) Pasadena CA, but Marina Del Rey and Long Beach are within reasonable driving distance.
Thanks so much for any ideas or information. My hat's off to all you amazing sailors out there!
If you make it down to San Diego, I'll take you out on Mission Bay if I can ever get the boat in the water.
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Old 06-06-2017, 16:53   #15
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Re: SoCal Kook wants to learn sailing

Hi Anya,

I'm in a similar position, in the fact that I am trying to learn. Although I am a 51 year old male, and I want to do this on the cheap. Saving my money for when we retire in 4 years and buy a boat.

I've looked up and down SoCal and found the best, and cheapest option to be Leo Robbins Community Sailing out of Ventura (probably take you about the same time to make MDR missing the traffic if you take the 210). Here is the web site:

Leo Robbins Community Sailing Center

In order to take the ASA courses you must first take a couple of other courses that are pretty inexpensive (relatively speaking) - they are about $125. Per course. I'm starting the July series and it's 4 weeks for 4 hours each day.

I met several of the instructors at a recent open house a couple of weeks ago and they all seem pretty easy going.

I'm obsessive compulsive, so I spend all my nights learning everything I can through reading or watching youtube videos. I was able to take the helm of a 14' on that day and felt pretty comfortable with what I had learned so far. Now it's all a bout hands on.

I don't plan on asking to crew until I at least have 101 under my belt so that they know I'm willing to put in the time and effort to learn.

They also offer semi-private lessons for $45 per person, or private lessons for $70.

Anyway, hope this helps you with another option. Good luck!
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