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Old 27-02-2016, 12:25   #1
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Best way to gain experience

Hey everyone!

I have just purchased my first sailboat! Everything i've learned about sailing so far has been from books, videos online and from talking to other people. I've also had a bit of sailing experience last summer (cruise and learn), i didn't grow up with boats but i decided that this is what i wanted for myself.

I still have a lot more to learn, for now I've just been taking the boat out every few days to practice. I was hoping to volunteer to be part of a crew but I don't know if most people would mind having a total beginner onboard. I have a very limited budget at the moment, classes would be wonderful but they're crazy costly.

Thoughts on that?
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Old 27-02-2016, 12:42   #2
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Re: Best way to gain experience

Welcome to the club! By the way I am guessing you have a 33 FOOT Yamaha not 33 inch. That is a nice boat even to learn on since it is very responsive. I learned on a Laser so I am biased toward those. They are fast, easy and FUN which is important for learning. You can bang around with it without scaring all your neighbors to death with a 33 foot boat. Then you can tow it and use it for a dinghy! Well, at least, I'd have fun with one as a dinghy.
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Old 27-02-2016, 12:47   #3
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Re: Best way to gain experience

haha whoops~

33 inch would have certainly made getting out of the marina easy!

So far I've really just been practicing getting in and out of my slip, motored into the bay for a bit. I've fiddled with the sails but i havent actually 'sailed' yet, not super windy around here this time of year.

Yea I've been told a lot of good things about my boat, so far so good! It handles well enough! The thought of opening my sails on a windy day without prior experience is a bit scary though, been looking for someone to come onboard with me and my partner to give us pointers.
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Old 27-02-2016, 13:10   #4
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Re: Best way to gain experience

For now just motoring around SLOWLY is a good plan, so you get to know your boat and how much momentum it has. If you can't find anyone experienced to go with you, you could always motor out away from the crowd and just put up the jib and just see if you can make it go! Pull it in, let it out, change your direction a lot, just to see what happens. Eventually you will see what all those pictures were talking about in the books! And it is pretty hard to get in trouble or break anything with just the jib up. And don't worry about what others may think. Those Yamahas are nice boats, I think you are in for a lot of fun!
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Old 27-02-2016, 20:31   #5
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Re: Best way to gain experience

I would love to come and sail with you but can't get away from work till late March. Me and the family are thinking of taking a holiday on the island. If we do I will get in touch. I'm definitely no expert but could help you with the basics.
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Old 27-02-2016, 20:49   #6
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Re: Best way to gain experience

I would say give it try in light winds. The wife and started sailing with no experience a couple of months ago. One sail at a time until we were comfortable. The first time we caught good wind and heeled well we both about crapped, but that feeling has gone away since we now know what to do. The slip practice is a good thing. That scared me more than sailing. I go really slow, talked to some other boaters and watched. It gets better every time you go out.

Good luck. Be safe and have fun.
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Old 27-02-2016, 20:55   #7
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Re: Best way to gain experience

Practicing reefing your sails at the dock until it becomes second nature to you, then it won't be a problem when you get some real wind.
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Old 28-02-2016, 01:03   #8
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Re: Best way to gain experience

I see your location is Sydney. Where do you keep the boat. It can still get pretty windy and wet round here.
Try joining a local club.
If all else fails are you free during the week? for an afternoon.
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Old 28-02-2016, 03:34   #9
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Re: Best way to gain experience

Generally, it's pretty easy to hitch a ride on other folks boats, so long as you have a good attitude, & communicate well. That, & bringing a 12-pack, plus some snacks along doesn't hurt.
And by this, I mean that you can accomplish it, simply by walking the docks on most days, especially on the weekends. In addition to posting "Want To Sail" notices on the boards at clubs & marinas; both Paper AND Electronic.

The other Great way to learn, is by crewing on a racing boat. Finding a ride is about as hard as falling off of a slippery log. And the people are friendly, plus there's a lot of comaraderie. Especially after the races, when everyone gathers for festivities, & to find out the results.

You'll meet a LOT of sailor this way, & it'll open up more opportunities than you likely have time for. That & when you're doing it, don't be shy about asking for whatever it is that you want to learn about. Or to step up & volunteer for jobs that are totally new to you. Just be hones about such, & then enjoy doing them/learning them, as well as the company.

Yeah, racing can be a bit loud & intense at first, for neophytes. But you'll quickly get used to that. And, FYI, the old hands look after the new guys.
The thing is though, because racers of course want to win, the boats get pushed, & ALL kinds of manuvers & gear get(s) tried & or used. Even in heavier air: So you wind up learning at 10x (or more) the rate that you would via conventional sailing. Ditto on sail tuning, trim & trimming, various controls, instruments, & tools, etc.
Plus, of course, the sailing is fast. Which, as stated in some of the other posts, above: Fast is... fun.

Regardless of what venue(s) which you chosse to use in order to learn, volunteer to do as much as you can. For any & every task which comes along. Especially the "unpleasant", & or, dirty ones.
But it also includes things like deliveries. Where you get the chance to drive a lot, learn about navigation, rules of the road, weather, lights & sound signals... pretty much all aspects of sailing. At least the on the water bits.

Being a team player goes a LONG way towards opening up more opportunities... to learn about sailing, meet more sailors, & to invite otherr sailors to go out with you on your boat. Oh, & BTW, judgement is pretty dang rare (with regards to any/all of thie/the above) so, no worries.
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Old 28-02-2016, 09:24   #10
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Re: Best way to gain experience

You're in the perfect location for learning the ropes. Much of what you will need to learn will have little to do with actually sailing. Venture out to the Gulf Islands and Flat Tops as your time allows. Practice anchoring. Find some flotsome and practice approaching it under motor and sail and stopping the boat in such a manner that if it were a person conscious or unconscious, you would have the ability to wrestled them aboard.

Above all else, don't be a wheel hog. It is exceedingly important that your partner is comfortable with steering, docking, starting the engine, sail handling, radio communication etc, etc. the person she may have to go back and pick up out of the water may be you. Can't stress this enough. I sold a 42' ketch to a couple once and their maiden voyage was from Bainbridge Is. to Tacoma. He went over the side and she was clueless about every aspect of disengaging the autopilot, getting it out of gear, etc. He drowned and she couldn't even call for help.

Tippy-toe further and further afield. Get used to doing things the same way time and again. Done with the winch handle? Put it back in its sleeve. It's the little things like this, that you both need to become 2nd nature so that you can do it safely in the dark.

Oh, and I recommend a good wet or dry suit be kept aboard with face mask and fins because it is only a matter of time before a line goes in the prop and you'll be seriously glad you have this gear.

The rest is practice, common sense and learning by your mistakes. As I have told all my sail trainees over the years, "if you have an inkling of a thought that you should do something... Reef, put out another anchor, shift anchorages, pull the dink aboard, etc etc. it's likely past time that it was done. Err on the side of caution... Be safe, smooth sailing.
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Old 28-02-2016, 09:57   #11
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Re: Best way to gain experience

I learned to sail on my own boats with no lessons and I dont recommend doing it that way. I made lots of mistakes and I would have gotten better much quicker with at least a half a dozen lessons in small boats. One thing I would highly recommend is to get your anchoring sorted out. The gear and the practice! Good ground tackle is very important. Best of luck. ____Grant.
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Old 28-02-2016, 09:57   #12
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Re: Best way to gain experience

MyBeloved has a bee in her bonnet about going back to Lyall Harbour and Irish Bay in August. Just around the corner from Sydney. Little late for helping you with the basics, I'm sure, but if you stay in touch via PM on this forum we could meet up and I'll "examine" you and give you a few pointers. I used to instruct "croose'n'learn"s for a major Vancouver sailing school :-). Even if we just raft up for dinner, a drink and a chat, that might be fun.

Meanwhile - just go at it slowly. You can hang a HUGE amount of sail on that boat, but for now just stick to a jib that doesn't reach back further than the mast, and the main itself. The boat will take care of you better than you can take care of it. Heel as she may, there is NO WAY you can tip her over, and heeling 15 degrees is what that boat likes. You'll lean to like it too :-)!

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Old 28-02-2016, 11:09   #13
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Re: Best way to gain experience

@rekkabell, one more thing I recommend you and all new sailors practice... Going astern. Take turns motoring in reverse for as long as it takes to master this. Practice going straight astern and turning port and starboard. Many will be the time when this is the only practical way to get out of the marina. Better to master backing in a wide open environment then when ricocheting off the transoms of all your marina mates. Read up on "P" factor and see how this affects your Y33.
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Old 28-02-2016, 11:26   #14
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Re: Best way to gain experience

They won't mind if you bring you're positive attitude. Great way to learn quick :-)
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Old 28-02-2016, 11:43   #15
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Re: Best way to gain experience

To add to what Seasick sez: You cannot make TrentePieds' stern come to stbd when going astern UNLESS you've built up enuff sternway to disengage the prop. Just so you know, if you are wondering about your boat's recalcitrance :-)

This is totally normal in fin-keeled, spade ruddered boats with "right-hand" propellers, and nothing to get in a sweat about. So instead of forcing your stern 90 to stbd without moving either forward or astern, you just force your stern 270 to port :-)

No names mentioned, of course, by my brother-in-law, retired from the RCN, tried to bring TrentePieds alongside acoupla years ago. A total hoot! Couldn't do it for love or money, cos in the navy he drove twin-screw vessels, and his own boat, long ago, was a full keeled heavy displacement Ingrid with a skeg-hung rudder. We won't mention that I set him up for a fall by asking him to come stbd side to ;-0)!

Anyway, practicing these kinds of "evolutions" is a good deal of the fun, so just give yourself plenty of room to practice. Off Sydney you'll often find a fair-sized log gone adrift from a boom. Such a log can be a make-believe "hammerhead" marina float, or even a make-believe Man-Over-Board, so use it to practice maneuvering in make-believe "close quarters" until you get an intuitive feel for your boat's response to the myriad combinations of helm and throttle, going both ahead and astern.

If we do meet up in the summer, we can play with those kindsa things :-)

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