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Old 28-01-2009, 04:57   #1
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Absolute beginner books for Ausssies?

Never really sailed before, but like the idea, so about to join the local sail club (Henley Beach, SA) and do the weekend "learn to sail for adults" course. Have also booked a one week RYA Competent Crew holiday/course with Sunsail in the Whitsundays for May this year.

As a total noob, I wonder if it would be good to do some pre-reading before I turn up to these courses. I know that with many things, the Australian way can be somewhat different from USA/Europe. I've searched for recommended books for beginners on this forum, but they seem to be swayed towards the US authors. Are there differences in sailing rules/practices/techniques, and if so, are there any "sailing bibles" for Aussies? A book that covers the basics and advanced stuff, and can be kept forever....

The other question of course is whether I should read anything at all. Would it be better to just turn up to these two courses and enjoy them? They are after all designed for absolute beginners....
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Old 28-01-2009, 05:41   #2
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Sailing for Dummies...



Sailing For Dummies, 2nd Edition:Book Information - For Dummies
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Old 28-01-2009, 05:47   #3
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YACHTING AUSTRALIA TRAINING BOOKS

Hi Luan,

It won't hurt you to do a little reading before your learn to sail classes.

I would start with the basics. Boating/Sailing has it's own language. It wouldn't hurt to find an illustrated book that points out all the parts of the boat and begin to learn them and the terminology. Having a very basic understanding of sailing theory and things like safety and general rules of the road will help you follow along as they get explained in class. It takes awhile to assimilate all the terminology that is used in boating, so don't think you have to get it all at once. A good general reading will just give you a head-start.

I've also found that the biggest thing that new sailors need to learn is to know where the wind is coming from. Awareness. Something we don't normally pay attention to in daily life. A good exercise would be to start taking notice of wind direction. Look at flags, feel it on your face, back.. etc, start to develop an awareness of that key element, it will help you to develop that essential awareness level.

Have Fun and welcome to Sailing!
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Old 28-01-2009, 06:05   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions guys.

With the Sailing for Dummies book I think I'll just go to Borders and have a read. I know that for an absolute beginner these books are great, but based on previous experience on subjects I do have some knowledge on, I always find that they are lacking. Don't get me wrong, I love and buy heaps of books, I just hate "read once" books, especially those that can be read in 1/2 hour!

I didn't realize that Yachting Australia had books. I think I'll buy these simply because they are Australian.
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Old 28-01-2009, 06:19   #5
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'been sailing for 50 years now, and known JJ and Peter Isler for 20--they're members of our Club in SoCal. Rest assured, their "Sailing for Dummies" isn't a one-read book. And by some of the comments I see on this and other similar forums, it's desparately needed by more than a few.

FWIW...
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Old 28-01-2009, 06:24   #6
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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
'been sailing for 50 years now, and known JJ and Peter Isler for 20--they're members of our Club in SoCal. Rest assured, their "Sailing for Dummies" isn't a one-read book. And by some of the comments I see on this and other similar forums, it's desparately needed by more than a few.

FWIW...
Shall definitely have a read then.... any other suggestions?
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Old 28-01-2009, 06:49   #7
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I like to keep the sailing for dummies book on the salon table for guest. It sometimes is a good laugh getting it out and thumbing thru it when I have new people on board as I am about to tack. You should see the look on their faces.
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Old 28-01-2009, 12:13   #8
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SFD is a good starter book. It is sometimes daunting for a new person to sailing to deal with the arcane knowledge and verbose writing.

Some writers are too full of themselves and try to make it seem to mysterious.

1. The Pointy End Goes First
2. The Sailboat wants to stay upright
3. A good one will always want to go into the wind
4 "Tiller Towards Trouble" (That takes some 'splaining)
5 Wind is free
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Old 28-01-2009, 19:49   #9
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I've read SFD, and it's definately a once only read as you say.
Try this instead if you want to actually buy a book - The New Complete Sailing Manual: Steve Sleight: Amazon.co.uk: Books
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Old 28-01-2009, 21:18   #10
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Quote:
Never really sailed before, but like the idea, so about to join the local sail club (Henley Beach, SA) and do the weekend "learn to sail for adults" course. Have also booked a one week RYA Competent Crew holiday/course with Sunsail in the Whitsundays for May this year.
Sounds like a perfect start to me. We started with lessons and joined a sail club and saved the horror of buying a boat without knowing anything. Start out with a trip to Borders and flip through a few books. You should quickly get the idea of where they are going. Find one you like and see what you learn. At some point you might consider some of the more substantial books. These are the larger format two handers with a ton of great illustrations. Chapman's Guide to Piloting and the Annapolis Book of Seamanship come to mind. These are books for a more serious discussion on about anything. Just a great reference books on almost all topics useful by any one that sails noob or otherwise. As you branch out into other topics you may find you like some styles more than others.

As a last resort there is always Cruisers Forum. We never close, the prices are pretty good, and quite a bit of the information is really true. All that isn't true is at least entertaining. Just be careful where you step, avoid the cattle fence thread, and try not to make a mess.

You are only a beginner because you don't know what you don't know. When you are sure you know less than when you started it means you are no longer a beginner.
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Old 28-01-2009, 21:49   #11
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What he said plus the never ending gun thread(s) Sheesh or as you say Crikey!!!!
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Old 28-01-2009, 22:30   #12
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As Paul says the "Annapolis Book of Seamanship" strikes a pretty good balance between simplicity and detailed information and I still refer to it from time to time.

Amazon.com: The Annapolis Book of Seamanship: Third Edition, Completely Revised, Expanded and Updated: John Rousmaniere, Mark Smith: Books

I'd also suggest searching youtube for videos, try searching for "How to Sail" or "Sail Trim".

A week on a boat is going to give youa great grounding though!

Have fun and fair winds!
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Old 28-01-2009, 22:47   #13
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Australian Boating Manual, by Capt. Dick Gandy.
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Old 29-01-2009, 00:45   #14
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Hi Luan,

Anything by Jeff Toghill (aussie), i find his books aimed at the absolute beginner, very informative & easy to read.
I can second the recommendation on the Yachting Australia Training Scheme Books, just bought the one on "Passage Making", seems good so far.
also, The Complete Sailor by David Seidman is one i constantly refer too!,

If you read a book or two before doing your courses it will greatly improve the speed with which you pick up what the instructors are saying, if youve got an idea of the terminology.
I found it easier to learn the correct name for things on a boat at the start, eg: "pull the Jib sheet" instead of "pull the "Blue rope"", will save you from having to re-learn things again when you step onto a different boat, if you know what i mean!

cheers
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Old 29-01-2009, 01:22   #15
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Aloha Luan,
I see other Americans responding here so will chime in. Pardon. I particularly like "Start Sailing Right!" and it really is what US Sailing uses for basic courses for a reason. I don't believe there would be different instructions for Aussie sailors but I could be wrong about that.
Take if from a guy who has taught sailing for three different institutions, you'll be far ahead if you read a couple books before class.
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