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Old 25-03-2018, 21:39   #1
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Newbie Looking for a start

Let me start by saying that I made an account to this website a LONG LONG time ago when I was first interested in sailing. In fact, I believe back then I was looking for a way of traveling around the world for cheap.

Long story long, my desires, life plans, wants, and needs have changed a lot since then. I settled down a little more and not really looking to travel the world on a shoestring like I previously dreamed of.

However, I got my feet wet with a little sailing a while back and since then I have been dreaming of doing more. A while back I had the ability to sail an extremely small boat (sunfish) on a lake and the thrill grabbed me. It was one of the coolest things I have done in my entire life. I know this sounds silly considering the size of a sunfish but it was the overall experience that grabbed me. Since then I have been working with a friend to get more into sailing. Unfortunately, life happened and pushed my dreams aside. I am at the point now that I am ready to move myself forward and really kick this desire into gear.

Now for my dilemma? Where do I start? I know hardly anything about sailing. Most of what I learned has been that one sail on the sunfish and what I have seen on YouTube (HUGE fan of YouTube sailing videos). I live in Florida and have lakes surrounding me (not to mention the ocean) but I have ZERO friends/family members/people I have met that actually sail. How do I learn more? I don't have much money so buying a boat outright is not in my budget just yet. I'd like to learn more while I work towards that goal.

I will be honest, I have picked up a couple boats that a friend and I are currently working to restore and use BUT both are not really able to be sailed anytime soon.

Any advice for a newbie like myself would be much appreciated!
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Old 25-03-2018, 23:40   #2
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

What part of FL are you in?
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Old 26-03-2018, 01:39   #3
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, amremington.
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Old 26-03-2018, 13:08   #4
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

Thank you GordMay!

JeffH,
I am in the Orlando area unfortunately. But a weekend trip to learn what I can here and there is not out of the question.
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Old 26-03-2018, 13:22   #5
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

The following is my opinion. It is influenced by my own experience, but also after much thought on the topic.

What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice, with the sole intent to help you (and others reading this).

As I see it...

Your age, sex (M/F), level of fitness, location, ability to travel to boats, personality, attitude about learning, ability to follow orders, ability to spend money on lessons or travel, and much more will have an impact on how and where it is easiest for you to get experience sailing.

I think it matters whether you are a 14 year old teen or a 70 year old retiree, man or woman, single or married, whether you are willing to pay to share costs, whether you can afford to pay for lessons at a sailing school, whether you can afford to buy and maintain a boat, etc. These things have practical impact on what you may be offered as opportunities. For example, a young boat owner may want a young(er) crew, etc.

So, I think if you are open and upfront about those key factors it would help you get some advice that is more helpful from a group like CF.

Broad generalizations (suggestions you may receive) such as "join a racing crew" or "join a delivery crew" "buy a dinghy" are commonly offered as suggestions, but not always really fitting or likely to yield satisfaction, situations, or results you may need.

So, I suggest editing your CF profile to show the CF members who you are (you can still use a pseudonym), describe yourself more fully (rough age, sex), and show what efforts you have made so far to learn sailing, and to what efforts or expense you will go to learn, etc.

How did I learn?
I started by reading about sailing and boats when I was a boy then sailing by myself when I was about 14, and read every book I could find at the library (pre internet) on sailing, and started racing as crew when a teen, etc. Unfortunatly, I lived far from any place to sail. Then I moved around the USA and sailed for years on various boats as crew. Then joined a sailing club and then took numerous paid sailing classes at the best sailing school in the USA and learned even more. My opinion is that it is best to get some formal sailing lessons prior to buying a big boat, or even prior to joining a race crew. Others will have a different opinion.

How I learned was before youtube videos and blogs and CF existed. You have many more options for learning today.

Good luck!
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Old 26-03-2018, 13:41   #6
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

We all start somewhere, depending on your sailing knowledge you might want to try an ASA 101 class or more to wet your whistle as it were. Doing so will give you the basics of sailing a keel boat. That alone is worth a lot. Then its all about practical sailing knowledge, and that is done (IMO) by getting on boats and doing it. Some may recommend crewing a lot before purchasing your own boat, some will recommend buying a twenty-five ish foot boat and go out on light wind days to start with and sail. That is what my wife and I did, we built up our skill set and now we can find ourselves out in 15 to 25 knots of wind and deal reasonably well with those conditions. So what ever way you choose to get going, do it! Sailing a great way to spend your leisure time.

Fair winds.
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Old 29-03-2018, 22:50   #7
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

You got the bug! It can be fun to work on boats, but get a boat you can sail now! Something small but even more fun than a Sunfish. I like Lasers or Hobie cats to learn on because they are so much fun you'll want to go everyday after work. If you see anyone else out on that lake with you go meet them and see if there is a club nearby. And try to race 'em, and if they sail better than you copy what they do and ask them how they do it, most folks love to talk about sailing and their boats!
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Old 30-03-2018, 19:59   #8
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

Sometimes, sailing clubs have bulletin boards where people can sign up to be volunteer crew. That's one way to start. Try to sail on many, varied, boats, so that you pick up information about what you like and don't, based on the boats' sailing characteristics. If you're lucky, you may find a mentor. That's a really good way to learn a whole lot. As you feel the need, you might want to take a course or two, coastal piloting, navigation, etc.

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Old 06-04-2018, 17:37   #9
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

OMG so much good information! Thank you everyone!

I have been super busy or I would have gotten back earlier sorry!

To answer some questions:

1. I am in a perfectly round shape so I am definitely working on losing some weight and getting into a shape that will fit better on a boat lol
2. Male from Sanford (close to Lake Monroe)
3. Experience: Exactly what I said in my first post. One time on a sunfish lol... So pretty much nothing. However, I am heading back next weekend.

My financial situation just improved so I am going to look more for classes. Since I am right next to Lake Monroe and they have a sailing club, I am going to look into joining it.

The one thing I noticed is a lot of the clubs and events I looked at are all about racing. Is this the norm? I am not interested in racing and going fast. I just want to cruise and do some mild travel.

Also one thing I haven't mentioned, which may sound a little crazy... because it is, I have two sailboats already. Both are in terrible condition and were free.

One is an O'day 272 27ft with no mast, boom, sails, engine, or even a keel. We have a 9.9HP outboard engine for it and patched it enough to turn it into a floating camper of sorts. The plan is to just use it on the lake for overnight fishing trips.

The other one is a 24ft Windjammer/Seahorse (I am not sure the exact model). This one is also in bad condition but it appears to have most of the parts it needs to sail.

I also have a YouTube channel called Workshop Wednesdays where I do mostly woodworking stuff. I haven't posted a video in over a month and I am actually thinking of turning the focus onto refurbishing the 24ft boat. While I am fixing it up I really want to learn to sail so once it hits the water, I will be good to go.
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Old 06-04-2018, 18:07   #10
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

Hi, amremington. Still no indicator of your age, eh? Ok.

I got my start crewing on race boats, and it was fun. I learned a lot from it, and so can you. Particularly, crewing on different boats, seeing skippers' styles, seeing different boats, you can get a lot of ideas. Given your lack of experience, it is an excellent way to start learning to sail, you work a little, and learn a lot, and somebody else pays the bills. You don't have to have an interest in racing, particularly, just in helping out and learning. If you are reliable (arrive on time, or a couple of minutes earlier than agreed on, on the days you sign up for), your help will be appreciated. You're starting at a relatively easy beginner level, not on maxis.




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Old 06-04-2018, 19:06   #11
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

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Originally Posted by amremington View Post
The one thing I noticed is a lot of the clubs and events I looked at are all about racing. Is this the norm? I am not interested in racing and going fast. I just want to cruise and do some mild travel.
I'd say if you don't LOVE the boats you have, sell them. And you don't want to go fast? I think you need a little time in a really fun boat! Pretty soon you'll be LOOKING for a race! And through that your skill set will go through the roof which will serve you WELL no matter what you end up doing later. AND you'll have a blast!
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Old 06-04-2018, 20:17   #12
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

Remington:


We all start from a foundation of utter, indefensible ignorance :-) In my case that was at age 6, in MyBeloved's case, that was at age 65. Age really has very little to do with it, save that a 6 year old lad fits better on a Sunfish than does a geezer of 78!

My early struggles was in a time long ago in a universe far away. A very common boat in that universe was the Junior Folkboat, and that was my introduction:

JUNIOR FOLKBOAT sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

A total antique by our standards. Through life I've sailed many sorts of boats, many of them as a sailing instructor, and I've taught a mob of university students the rudiments on Enterprise Dinghies built in my basement.

ENTERPRISE (INT) sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

At the same time I taught on a selection of boats from the (in)famous Catalina 27, to a 65 foot William Garden designed ketch. Now I am content with a little 30-foot "pilothouse" sloop that we picked up for a very modest sum indeed.

One of my firm beliefs is that no man should pay more money for a boat than he can walk away from, still smiling. So what you appear to be doing has my approval and respect :-)

Steady, who is a venerable fixture on this 'ere forum, gave you good advise. So did Ann Cate who, tho she is so much younger than I, has uncountable more miles under her keel than I have.

So to answer your specific question, which was "where do I start", the answer is, to use a Newfoundland turn of phrase: "You start from where you are at!"

A bloke in that same distant universe whence I came all those many years ago has a rather good YouTube blog on restoring and rebuilding boats. It's even in American English - sort of :-) Here is a link to the entire library of episodes of them. I thot you might like it, since you are rebuilding one. Now this man obviously funds his boat restoration from bux deriving from his blog. Doing it that way isn't my cuppatea, but his restoration advice is solid. here is a link:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...Gv8m8qLZzYp6sw

You say you have woodworking experience. That's the battle halfway won. The only difference is that in house building all lines are s'posed to be straight and most angles square. In boats there are no straight lines and very few angles are square. Except for that, it's basically all the same :-)

So keep working on your boat. And go to some sailing club and let people know - put up a notice - that you are available for pulley-hauley, and you'll soon be asked to do just that. Just like Ann was. And you won't stay "perfectly round" for long ;-0)!

Good luck

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Old 07-04-2018, 04:24   #13
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

Quote:
Originally Posted by amremington View Post
The one thing I noticed is a lot of the clubs and events I looked at are all about racing. Is this the norm? I am not interested in racing and going fast. I just want to cruise and do some mild travel.
Oh man, I had this exact same attitude before I started racing. Be careful if you ever do decide to race on a good boat with a good skipper and fun crew. You might just put cruising plans aside for a bit, but you'll learn a TON about sailing!
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Old 07-04-2018, 05:18   #14
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My learning started as a Junior Seaman in the Royal Navy back in 65.. we sailed Montague Whalers and 32ft Cutters with crews of 5 and 7 Viking Style.. when there was no wind we rowed.. did a couple of crossings to Ostend from Harwich.
Did not sail again till 84 when I went out on the head chefs boat when I ran a bar at the same hotel in Bournemouth.. found I had an intuitive touch as he claimed the boat had never sailed so well before.
The next year I shattered a knee in a bike accident which meant over a year in a cast and a couple or 3 ops removing/checking wires etc.. so I bought an old 7metre wooden boat for 500 in need of repair to take away the self pity and occupy the mind and body.. in between representing myself in Crown Court..
Thats how it began..
Today I've a few thousand miles and 14 boats in my wake and still dont know what the proper names for half the bits on a boat are.. till I need to know but.. I can sail and do cross oceans and seas successfully.
If you want something bad enough you'll find a way to do it.. just dont let yourself get to hung up on technicalities..
As a famous racing driver once said.. "I dont know what makes them tick.. I just drive them.. "
And dont get in debt for anything you cannot afford to lose.. be happy with what you have and screw the Joneses.. the views just the same.
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:07   #15
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Re: Newbie Looking for a start

Quote "... to take away the self pity ."

You??? That I woulda liked to see :-0)!!

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