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Old 27-04-2006, 07:44   #1
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Is sailing for me?

I have been power boating in the Great Lakes for 15 years and think itís time to try sailing; so with that said what is the best way to find out if sailing is for me. I have investigated the ASA and US sailing schools courses, they sound great but Iím hesitant to spend $500.00 to $1500.00 to find out if I will actually enjoy sailing.
I would be interested in hearing suggestion/ideas from sailors as to how I can get some instruction and a feel for sailing without spending a lot of money up front.


And for what itís worth I have never made a disparaging remark about sailors

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Old 27-04-2006, 09:47   #2
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Having Ē...never made a disparaging remark about sailors...Ē, you should be comfortable showing up at a local yacht club on race night (about 1 - 1.5 hrs prior to start). Thereís usually someone looking for crew. Racing isnít cruising, but it is sailing.

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Old 27-04-2006, 10:33   #3
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I donno' about your local area but in Santa Cruz (calif), if you showed up on the docks at about race time Wed. night.. (Maybe holding a 12 pack?) You would usualy be picked up by a passing racing sailboat. This is how I learned to sail. (Mostly)

Gord is right, racing is not cruising as powerboating is not sailing. You may find you like it, hate it or love it. Mostly it depends on how well you fit with the flavor of the boat/crew you end up on.

Have fun!

-jim lee
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Old 27-04-2006, 11:39   #4
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I would agree with everyone that "getting out there" is the best way to see if you like it. You may not like racing but you can get the feel of a boat knowing you don't have to be in a race or with the people you meet. Then again you may like it alot. I don't race our boat but I like to go out with some neighbors that do for Wednesday night races once in a while. Boating people do tend to get along with other boating people. Our Yacht club is half power boats and we all get along just fine.

Starting with the ASA (or US Sail) courses I think is worthwhile if you decide you do think you like it. It can be frustrating if you don't start off with the basics from an instructor. It just helps you start with the best habits in mind. We took the ASA Baisic Keelboat class and it was 2 nights per week for 3 weeks plus the home study on the book related materials.

If you expect to sail with your wife or girl friend (not both at the same time) it's not a bad idea to see if they like it and take the class with them. I did that with my wife and it helps a lot. The captain never sleeps when the Admiral is unhappy. It makes certain you both like and adds a degree of comfort knowing how things work and working things together. It matters a lot more than you might think.

All your skill with power boats is most helpful for a lot of the things really are the same especially if you expect to sail the Great Lakes. All that experience will clearly be a big boost towards getting you sailing sooner.

Perhaps the one biggest difference is with a power boat you are going some place and with a sail boat you are already there. I know you can find a lot of assitance here too.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 27-04-2006, 14:33   #5
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Getting on a race boat can (but not necessarily)sour you on sailing forever. I've done alot of it and there can be alot of nonsense going on. What about reading a book and then talking to some of the people with sailboats at the dock where you keep your boat and asking them to take you out. I think most people will oblige. Especially if you bring good beer/wine/or food.

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Old 27-04-2006, 16:13   #6
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Thanks for the reponses so far. I did some Wednesday night racing years ago, the problem I had was I was given a task to do and that was it; it seemed overly serious. So I have to agree with Charlie it can sour you on sailing; and kind of did.
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Old 27-04-2006, 16:53   #7

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I second the recommendation to go to a local yacht club but, thinking about evening racing, I realize that could go both ways. Sometimes it is great, sometimes not. Someone who is going to take a pick-up crew may be someone who can't get regular crew (Cptn. Bly?) or it could be a terribly serious racer too.

It might be better to drop by, talk to some of the members or officers, tell them you are interested in sailing and just explore the possibilities. Among other things, check out multiple local clubs, because often each has a totally different flavor and you may find the deadly serious racers at one, and the casual sailors at another.

But one thing you will find: Show up at any sailing yc with a smile, and folks will talk sailing with you. Walk the docks and catch a line when folks are coming back to tie up, and they'll gladly tell you about their boat & talk sailing too.

And if the first trip isn't any fun...don't be discouraged. Every crew and every boat is different.
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Old 27-04-2006, 18:03   #8
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down here 2 days of ASA basic keelboat sailing was only about 200 bucks, a bargain for boat, instructor, and about 10 hours on the water. I used to teach it--kinda slow now post-K, but it'll pick up eventually.
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Old 07-09-2006, 14:59   #9
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I really agree about club racing - the worst that can happen is that you spend a few evenings learning about something you are already interested in with people you wouldn't usually socialise with. How bad can it be? Racing is often busy enough to give you an excuse not to talk about more than sailing to the odd individuals you decide are not gonna be your best buddies. Then move on. Sail with a different boat next week. Or at a different club. We all meet some oddballs at some point in our lives. Plus people fall over themselves to teach you everything they know if you ask. (Even if you already know it.)

Club racing also makes technical aspects of sailing have an obvious, immediate point no matter what kind of racing it is. Coaxing the best out of a boat is an excellent teaching discipline that turns out to be fun too(how often does that happen? Of course, only do it with the level of seriousness that you choose!). ... and for extra fun you're also more likely to find out what happens when things go wrong (broaching/lines parting etc) not just because everyone is manouvering and pushing things a teeny bit more than they would otherwise but cos there is all the more chance of making mistakes in relative safety (other boats; OOD; safety RIB) when you are in something that feels like an urgent situation without really acffecting life and limb (except withsome extreme skippers) and trying to think fast and get it right first time as you tack round that windward mark and the 45 footer behind you is protesting you taking their water and... so then when that inadequate-looking motor fails out in a gale on your own one - no worries cos youve done it before.

You'll also very likely meet people who would be wanting crew for cruising trips too.

It is also (nearly) free. College students note.
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:22   #10
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Try They have FREE sailing intros at their boat shows. There maybe one near you.


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