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Old 05-07-2011, 07:49   #136
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

There is something to be said in favor of a dinghy. Some people have no feel for wind whatsoever. I think the analogy to the difference between a bicycle and a Harley Davidson Fat Boy is a reasonable.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:55   #137
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

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Dan 78

That is a long drive from Germany to Kemah to make everyday.
Mifgt see you down there one day..
Getting a boat will likely come when the military decides to send me back to the US. As of now, it'll be a year away, but I don't know where I'll go yet. I can probably get back to the US quicker if I volunteer to go to a unit going back to Afghanistan again, but I think I need a break from that place.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:56   #138
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

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Getting a boat will likely come when the military decides to send me back to the US. As of now, it'll be a year away, but I don't know where I'll go yet. I can probably get back to the US quicker if I volunteer to go to a unit going back to Afghanistan again, but I think I need a break from that place.
Stay safe man.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:57   #139
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

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Jackdale,
You're an instructor, and probably a good one so it must frustrate you when posts here are derogatory about sailing courses. It must also frustrate you when other sailing schools don't do as good a job, because it reflects badly on the whole industry.
I think the tone of the OP was more aimed at the mindset that you can't do anything without a course these days.
It's my guess that you probably learned to sail before ever taking a course, as most of us did in the "old days", so you're probably better placed to see both sides than most.
My introduction to sailing was a crewing on a race boat. When I got certified, I found that that experience what stood me in good stead. Only after I had taken both the afloat and ashore certifications and taken a coastal navigation course did I feel qualified to take a boat out on my own. Even then, I did some flotilla sailing in the PNW and Turkey. Those experiences really helped to build my confidence.

In the PNW, anyone who attempts to just do it, is going experience some serious issues with tides (up to 18 feet)and currents (up to 16.5 knots), plus dealing with many charted, but unmarked rocks.

There are curriculum standards that we are expected to follow. As such I expect that more "advanced" students who come to me have met those standards.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:59   #140
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

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What Learner drivers adorn their cars so we may avoid them.




New sailors can wear one too:

Got it! Thanks Mark.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:05   #141
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

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Stay safe man.

Thanks! 6.5 years left to retirement then I'll know what the real taste of freedom feels like.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:36   #142
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

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I see a lot of you suggest starting small and working your way up. Let's say someone has 30 plus years of power boating experience of handling various boats between 16 -40 ft. They also have several years experience in wind sports such as windsurfing and kiteboarding but have limited experience sailing have only been out only a handful of times on someone else's boat but got involved with the sailing process. Would you still suggest the start out with a dingy and work their way up?

The reason I ask is that I find myself in that situation and I'm in the market for the purchase of my first sailboat. I'm not even considering a small starter boat and plan on jumping in with the purchase of a boat in the 32 - 36 ft range that suits my ultimate needs of coastal cruising in SoCal and Mexico. I knew last year that my next boat purchase was going to be sailboat so I started seeking experience. I've docked a Tartan 34 in a strong current and stiff breeze and just like any boat I've skippered before it's definitely different but not anything that's going to take years to learn. Unfortunately that opportunity is no longer available to me as I had to move from the Great Lakes to the west coast due to the economy.

I will take some lessons but but not ASA as I feel my money is better spent hiring a private captain to shadow me and identify where I'm lacking in my sailing skills.
This sounds a lot like my story. I had many years of experience on power boats ranging from 15 to 36 feet. I captained the 36 footer when I worked as a marine biologist, but didn't own it. I had taken a few sailing lessons as a teenager on the Charles river in Boston and taken the USCGA power and sail course when I was about 21. Over the years I had occasionally taken out dinghys of one sort or another, but never done any serious sailing. I still like to rent a sunfish on the local lake on a windy day. About 10 years ago my wife and I started toying with the idea of cruising when we retired. Fortunately an old friend retired before me and bought a Mainecat 30 and we got to spend 2 to 3 weeks a year cruising with him in the Bahamas. He shall now and forever more be refered to as my pusher. In any case in 2005 we decided we needed to buy a cat and learn to sail it before we did serious cruising. I had decided a cat was more similar to a power boat when under power than a mono was so I was more comfortable with the transition. I ended up with the Endeavourcat 44 which some might argue is more power boat than sailboat, but it works for me. The biggest issue I had was getting insurance. It seemed that since I didn't actually own the larger boats I had experience in most of the companies didn't count that experience. I finally found one that did. I found that the cat was much easier to maneuver and control under power than any power boat I had ever run. Having those big props so far apart made maneuvering a breeze. You just had to be aware of where the corners of the boat were and that is easy to see on my boat. All of my power boat experience transferred to the cat. The only new thing was not being able to go directly to where you wanted to go under certain wind conditions.

I knew the basics of sailing and the Endeavourcat has very easy to use sail controls and getting the hang of it in light winds was easy. After a few days of practice we had a great learning opportunity develop for us in the ICW in Georgia. It was a day starting out at 15 to 20 and forecast to go to 25. The ICW down there is mostly in natural river channels and presents some exciting challenges under sail. We learned quickly how to do a smooth and controlled gybe, tacking, reefing and generally everything one needed to do to maneuver the boat. Those natural channels forced a tack or a gybe every couple of minutes. All this while doing 9.5 to 10 knots. That was a fun day and at the end I was very confident in my ability to maneuver the boat under sail. The next step was to do such thing in bigger seas. I was fortunate that I keep my boat in the Pamlico sound area and such opportunities present themselves on a regular basis. I spent the next year basis inside the sound and then started going out into the Atlantic. The next year we started taking her to the Bahamas. My wife retires at the end of this month and we'll be taking off on long term cruising.

What you are proposing to do is feasible. A course or two might speed up the learning curve. Just realize that you're probably going to have to pay a bit more for insurance until you get a couple of years sailing experience under your belt.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:44   #143
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

That's exactly how I learned to sail 33 years ago. But then, I'm very old school..I teach myself everything I need to know via books and doing..
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:10   #144
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That's exactly how I learned to sail 33 years ago. But then, I'm very old school..I teach myself everything I need to know via books and doing..
As an educator, I laughed when I read this. Being an autodidact is not "old school." Going to school is old school.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:19   #145
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

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As an educator, I laughed when I read this. Being an autodidact is not "old school." Going to school is old school.
Being a life-long learner, regardless of how it is done, is just "good" school. Calgary has a the repudiation of being a city with a high rate of continuing education. The social aspect of learning with others cannot be overlooked. I use cooperative learning strategies in the navigation class by having students work on their homework together. By talking about what they are doing, they reinforce their learning.

On the water, we discuss the learnings of the the day for the same reasons.

BTW - I am also an educator. When I retired from public school teaching, becoming a sailing instructor on a more regular basis allowed me to combine two of the things that I love.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:42   #146
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

Thank's for the advice guys!

Does anybody know an over opinionated grumpy old salt that knows his stuff and does sailing lessons in Southern California? If all my years of boating experience have taught me anything is that finding one with those shouldn't be very difficult.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:52   #147
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

When I took ASA101 (and then 103, 104, and 106), I was a very experienced SAILOR. What I had no experience with, having spent virtually all of my time on freshwater lakes (not the Great Lakes) on daysailers and sailboards, was boat systems, navigation, piloting (except very basic right-of-way rules), and big boat handling. Over the last 7 years, there have been MANY situations in which I declared that every dollar I spent on formal training was worth it, in spades. Having said that, I think that a significant proportion of it would have been time wasted if I did not already know how to sail. pete
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:39   #148
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Re: What ever happened to learn by doing ? Read a book and go for it !

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Thank's for the advice guys!

Does anybody know an over opinionated grumpy old salt that knows his stuff and does sailing lessons in Southern California? If all my years of boating experience have taught me anything is that finding one with those shouldn't be very difficult.
i been looking for that for years in san diego-- couldnt find any not associated with some snotty yottie club or having some other bad attitude problem-- so i gave up on them. mebbe more in santa barbara to delta area...LOL
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:52   #149
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Re: What Ever Happened to Learn by Doing ? Read a Book and Go for it !

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OK, can I have a gripe here? Every time I see a post with someone wanting to begin sailing all I seem to see is advice on getting ASA training take lessons etc....

My feeling is get a sunfish and go for it then a bigger and bigger till ya happy... Read a book, trial and error or OPB to learn.


Have we really become a bunch of morons who can't just do it any more or am I just old and cranky??

Come on slaughter me or agree with me or what do you think.......
I have to agree - this is spot on! I didn't learn how to ride a bike by reading about it. . . the expression is learn by doing . . .

Granted mistakes on a 40' cat need to be minimized, but books and classrooms only take you so far. . .

Following seas. . .

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Old 05-07-2011, 20:07   #150
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Re: What Ever Happened to Learn by Doing ? Read a Book and Go for it !

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Originally Posted by capttman View Post
OK, can I have a gripe here? Every time I see a post with someone wanting to begin sailing all I seem to see is advice on getting ASA training take lessons etc....

My feeling is get a sunfish and go for it then a bigger and bigger till ya happy... Read a book, trial and error or OPB to learn.


Have we really become a bunch of morons who can't just do it any more or am I just old and cranky??

Come on slaughter me or agree with me or what do you think.......
I agree. As I just posted elsewhere I seem to be surrounded by racing boats and cruisers that don’t seem to ever move. The scene is getting depressing and I can’t wait till my new sails are ready so I can get back out there. In the meantime I have lots of reading to get through like “Ice Bird” and “The Long Way Around”. I thrive on the inspiration of real-time adventures and their experiences. Sure beats basically getting scammed doing those expensive courses?

Not saying I don’t want to do a celestial navigation and maybe a boatbuilding course, however, I think I would find learning everything this way claustrophobic if not just plain irritating. For me scuba diving is another ocean based pastime that is complicated by a million and one courses. The thing that disturbs me about some of the people who take this commercial road is that many don’t even have basic snorkeling and swimming skills, yet they can obtain advanced certificates. I am sure similar happens in sailing?
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