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Old 25-03-2012, 18:56   #1
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Looking to Learn More About Sailing


When I was younger, my father owned a sailboat. My ex and I had plans to do a circumnavigation. It is now something that I can not seem to let go of...but, I do not currently own my own boat. To be honest, it is also scarey to undertake this alone.

I would like to purchase my own boat and just sail the heck out of it and really teach myself to sail. Any suggestions? I live about 45 minutes from Annapolis and I love it there, so that would most likely be where I would consider docking my boat once I purchased it. Welcome to any comments or suggestions.


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Old 25-03-2012, 19:04   #2
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Re: looking to learn more about sailing

In "Maiden Voyage" Tania Aebi did just what you suggested. It would be worth it to pick up her book. I would also suggest "Adrift" by Steven Callahan to see what can happen when things go wrong. Good luck with your dreams- and don't give up, just learn more.

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Old 26-03-2012, 06:47   #3
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Re: looking to learn more about sailing

No matter what you buy now, you probably will not want to have when you are serious about sailing full time or circumnavigating, so buy something to have fun in and to learn in. Maybe a sailing club will have several boats to sail and you won't have to mantain them or have dock fee's to worry about while learning to sail and learning what you want. Your budget is usally the big factor when looking to buy a boat, so with out that knowlage it will be hard to sugest anything.
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Old 26-03-2012, 09:44   #4
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Re: looking to learn more about sailing

i would suggest a Hobie 16 to learn about multihulls... and/or an older Macgregor 25 or 26 to learn monohulls... there are lots of both of these boats available, both are trailerable, good either singlehanded or with a mate, and you can learn just about anything you need to know about sailing and make lots of mistakes on them without spending a lot of money... a hundred days of sailing on these should be sufficient training and experience to prepare you for bigger things. Find a college sailing club near your boat location and you can find eager crew or often experienced sailors to go with you. Wear a buoyant vest, secure a safety line to your boat, and sail with a partner.
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Old 26-03-2012, 09:57   #5
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Re: looking to learn more about sailing

Hi Caz -
There are always lots of people looking for crew and companionship, so you might look into getting back on the water through a sailing club or Wednesday night races or just CF crew wanted postings in Annapolis. Once you get back on the water, you'll be more comfortable thinking about your own cruising goals and boat.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:12   #6
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Re: Looking to Learn More About Sailing

I don't know how many of the cruisers will agree, but I suggest that you don't rush into buying a boat. Start with other peoples boats (also known as "OPs") to get up to speed with sailing and other aspects of the sailing life. Spend your money on a boat when you know more and are more comfortable with what you're doing and what you're going to do.

One fairly intense learning experience would be to take up the earlier suggestion of Wed. night racing, run by the Annapolis Yacht Club. Lot's of boats, most of 'em looking for crew, many of the 'em willing to take on the inexperienced and instruct, some of 'em damned good teachers.

If you like the situation, ask if you're welcome back the next week. Don't wait for an invitation; the skipper is likely to have other things on his mind. If you weren't very happy with the boat or the skipper or the other crew, walk down the dock and ask for a ride for the next week on another boat. When you find a good match, stick with it. You'll learn a lot more from a skipper who knows you're paying attention, working at it, and becoming someone he can count on.

Once you've learned a bit and earned your spurs - and prove yourself not to be a total klutz or a poison pill - you'll start getting invited back, move into the status of a regular and get included for the weekend races. And some of the weekend races out of Annapolis overnight and race back the next day, from places like St. Michaels, Oxford, St. Mary's, and others. That'll give you a slight version of cruising - not the real thing, but a start.

Once you get your foot in the door, ask the skipper what you can do to help make sure the boat is ready to race. He'll probably be thrilled to have some help and delighted to teach you what you need to know to be helpful. Maintaining a race boat isn't going to teach you to be a comfortable cruiser, but it will teach a lot about boat maintenance and repair.

You could do much the same thing in the cruising community, but you're not going to find as many easy rides as the racing affords. A lot of the cruising on the Chesapeake bay is couples and families. Strangers (or even friends) aren't always readily welcomed. Cruising tends to be a bit more private for many folks.

Annapolis offers a LOT of racing, Wed. nights from April to October, Sun. frostbites (with or without frost) November to March, weekend racing (some around the bouys and home for supper, some overnights, a couple of longer races, every other year the Annapolis to Newport race offshore), dozens of one design series, hosting for regional, national and , occasionally, international regattas. There's plenty of opportunity.

And read a lot. There are lots of books, many of them available used on Amazon and in used book shops. You can also find sailing schools in Annapolis if you want to go that route. I'm not currently spending time there, so I won't comment more about those.

Annapolis is a great place to become a sailor. It's (almost) all there at your fingertips. Got to it, mate!

And stay with the Cruiser's Forum. You (and I) can learn a lot around here. As you learn, a post now and then of what you're learning (and what you're going through to learn it) is our best entertainment.

If you go at it vigorously, you'll learn a lot about boats, about sailing, about boat keeping. You'll meet a lot of sailors, racers and cruisers.

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Old 04-04-2012, 12:21   #7
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Re: Looking to Learn More About Sailing

Look into the racing scene in Annapolis. Wednesday nights seem to be popular.

Good way to get on a boat as crew. A good attitude will go a long way to getting a position on a boat. Tell em you want to learn and are willing to do anything they need...including rail meat. Bringing a 12 pack doesn't hurt either.

Racing is the quickest way to understanding sailing. After you give it a shot and still like it, look for a good old boat that is a reasonable size to continue learning.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:28   #8
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Re: Looking to Learn More About Sailing

As a suggestion, there's the Caliber Cruising Club, based in Annapolis and it's a nice group of people, any one of whom would be glad to take you sailing and help educate you. I owned two Caliber 28s and although it's a great cruiser, beamy, well-built and comfortable, many sailors with whom I've spoken (from my wannabee stage to now) think anyting under 30' is too small for crossing oceans. For safety, go with narrow beam, a wineglass hull and deep draft, like an Alberg 32 or Luders 33. Not too much money, well-built and stable.

I'd suggest three books, Robin Lee Graham's Dove, John Vigor's 20 Smalll boats to Take You Anywhere and I've heard that Capt. Fatty Goodlander has written a similar book on boats that will take you anywhere. He's highly competent and very funny.

A little older, but of the same funny and competent vein is Herb Payson's Blown Away. He and his bride also started with no knowledge, just pure unvarnished desire. Go for it and don't wait too long.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:41   #9
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Re: Looking to Learn More About Sailing

before ye buy your own boat, sail opb until you find that which makes your heart patter pitter and you fall into complete lust for it. then buy your own.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:42   #10
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I agree with zee hag and others. It is free to sail as race crew and usually free or a contribution to diesel to go sailing on opbs.

But it is really important to spend time on the tiller as well. And as a rookie you wont get much of this when on other peoples boats. Buying a small dingy is also a good idea as a small boat is cheap, something you can sail by yourself, and the feedback is much quicker than a larger boat so you will develop better skills.

I wouldn't commit to a large keelboat at this point as I am sure your perceived needs will change dramatically over the next couple years as you spend more time sailing...

"So, rather than appear foolish afterward, I renounce seeming clever now."
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