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Old 07-11-2011, 21:42   #1
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Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

I know most of you will probably roll your eyes at me but my husband and I are heading offshore sailing in May next year and I still don't really know how to sail properly. I mean in terms of setting the sail angles and tension right to get the most performance out of it and get to where I want to go as efficiently as possible.
We live on board our yacht and do get out on it a bit but have so much work to do on it that it doesn't leave much time for playing. My husband wants us to buy a wee sailing dinghy so I can learn sailing theory through using that but I really don't know when I would have the time to use it as we are busy enough as it is already.
So, as he recently decided a playstation 3 with move controllers was an essential boat item (this is where I get to roll MY eyes), I wondered whether there were any sailing games that I could have a play on and get a decent idea of sailing theory. Ones that are actually realistic, not just a game.
Any ideas? Or am I being ridiculous and are you all going to side with him?
Thanks either way!
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Old 07-11-2011, 21:54   #2
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Yeah, I don't think so. Best be is to MAKE the time and get out on the water.
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Old 07-11-2011, 23:11   #3
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

I looked around for sailing simulators a while back. I seriously doubt you'll find anything for the PS3, but there are a couple for PC. None of the ones I found were very good, however, and I ended up not getting any of them. Nothing beats real life for practice, anyway.
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Old 07-11-2011, 23:22   #4
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

Get a sailing dinghy and take it out by yourself. You'll learn more from that than a Playstation and you can actually use it while you are out cruising.

My wife didn't really get sailing our boat despite having sailed with me for thousands of miles, much of it as the watch captain. She signed up for a sailing class at the community center in the area where we were then anchored. A morning of sailing theory, practice righting a capsized boat and then a couple of weekend sessions sailing against the other novices in the class and the light came on. You just don't get the feel for what a sailboat is all about on a big boat. On a small boat, every input gives you almost instant feedback.
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Old 07-11-2011, 23:29   #5
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

I guess you're talking about sail trim.

Many sailmakers websites have trimming guides you can download for the basics. I recall North and Quantum had some decent ones. These will give you a grounding on the theory of sail trim.

The ability to trim comes from experience. And I'm afraid that has to be real life experience. Sail trim is such a 'feel' thing that the sailing simulators that are available, while they do teach you tactics, don't improve your ability to trim a sail very much.

Sailing your wee dingy will help, but then you have two boats to look after and even less time.

My advice would be to read the trim guides and then get on a race boat for the experience.
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:23   #6
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

Read this: First You Have to Row a Little Boat by Richard Bode.

You will find that it will not only help you with your question, but will also help you with lots more.

Bill
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:29   #7
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

Set one weekend aside for yourself. Take private sailing lessons on that weekend -- just you and the instructor. You will learn more on that one weekend than from playing any electronic game. It doesn't need to be a small boat. I learned on an old 38-ft Morgan with a wonderful captain/instructor. But it must be done with just you and the instructor for you to benefit the most.

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Old 08-11-2011, 03:21   #8
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

Step number one is to get competent in handling your own boat.

When we started to learn sail trim we used whatever was available.
We read. We sailed dinghies. We cruised the bigger boat (at 21 foot it looked huge). We raced. We replayed the Norths videos on trim so many times they got worn out. Had they had electronic tools then, I would have used them also.

All of these resources proved of value in giving us the confidence we needed to move on but no one thing was more important than the others.

The vital component was the desire to leanr - which you appear to also have. If the sail trim of most cruisers we see is anything to go by, lots don't.

So no eye rolling. Congratulations to you for the question, and good luck in learning more.

IMHO a low cost starter is to get a local sailmaker out with you on your own boat and getting his advice on how to set your own rig and sails. You can easily stick down measurement guides on the deck and ensure at least you've got your own sail plan set properly thereafter.

Step two, the gaining of knowledge on why it is being set the way it is, using one-on-one intruction without hubby involved is going to help also. It's a bit like car driving lessons. Sadly he's not going to be the best one to to help you out.

IMHO racing on a good skippers boat each weekend will ensure you get out like it or not.......and you will probably learn a lot more from the race crew than you could from playing alone with a dinghy. Practically you'll learn quicker if you've someone to advise when you are not doing it right. Just make sure its a good skipper and crew so you do get good input. Easy to pick as the boats at the front of the fleet are usually the best...........

Step 3 is putting it all into practive yourselves out on your boat. If you've not had time before you head off, then don't go until you've found the time. Easy really, eh?

Best book? Probably North U Trim. At circa $40 it is a great reference tool to keep on board.

So good luck and trust you have fun whilst learning. The curve you're on is probably one of the most enjoyable parts of sailing and fortunately for us all whilst the learning curve does flatten out with time, it never stops!

Sail safe.
JOHN
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:37   #9
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

Check this out....

www.virtualskipper.com

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Old 08-11-2011, 04:46   #10
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pirate Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

Yes you most certainly can learn Sailing Theory Virtualy....
Then you can go out and learn Sailing Reality....
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:46   #11
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

On the other hand, my wife didn't (and still doesn't) know diddly about sailing the boat. She loved being on the boat, but never had any interest whatsoever in learning how to sail it. Nonetheless, she stood all her watches on our sail to Bermuda. I was sleeping in the cockpit, and the autopilot was doing the steering.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:32   #12
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirabilis View Post
My husband wants us to buy a wee sailing dinghy so I can learn sailing theory through using
Get the small sailing dinghy....store it on board. With a dinghy you will learn the feel and interaction of water and wind and will quickly learn how to trim your sails, often on a larger boat the "feel" is absent at the helm but if you have experienced it you automatically sense where your rudder is and know what to do with the sails. Spend just an hour a day sailing the dinghy and your skills will be so much better honed. the plus side is when you do get away in may you will have two tenders, IMHO a necessity if you are going to anchor a lot. Also good for snooping around the anchorage looking at other boats.....you have to tack and zig zag so you can get close without being obvious.....often is the first step in making new friends.
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Old 08-11-2011, 16:52   #13
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

You will not get a feel for the boat with a PS#. The biggest factor is helm time.
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Old 08-11-2011, 17:21   #14
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

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You will not get a feel for the boat with a PS#. The biggest factor is helm time.
What do you mean with a PS#? Pocket sailor or Play Station?
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Old 08-11-2011, 21:22   #15
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Re: Can I Learn Sailing Theory Virtually ?

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What do you mean with a PS#? Pocket sailor or Play Station?

sorry PS3 - kept my finger on the shift key too long.
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