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Old 24-03-2013, 15:54   #1
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Learning sailing.... best approach

I would like to learn sailing (I did few courses when I was a kid but I don't remember a lot!). However the lessons are quite expensive, and I was only able to find weekend packages (sleeping on board on saturday)...

So I was wondering.. what if I directly buy a second hand boat (obviously asking an expert to advice me which one to buy) for let's say 4000-5000 euros, and ask a friend of mine to teach me the first times, or hire an instructor for few afternoons and then just practice by myself ?

thanks
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Old 24-03-2013, 16:14   #2
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

I am pretty much in the same place. I'd like to get started, but want to be very careful about how I spend my very limited money supply. The more money spent on training, means less money available for a boat. But getting a boat with little or no formal training could very well end in personal a destroyed, damaged boat, personal injury or even death.

Surely there must be some type of balance for those of use with more enthusiasm than funds. I'll be following this thread to see what the experts think.
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Old 24-03-2013, 16:24   #3
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

I would suggest joining a local sailing club, active with regular races. Go to the meetings, meet the members and volunteer as crew.
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Old 24-03-2013, 16:46   #4
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

You need hands-on sailing experience, prior to buying a boat. Visit local marinas and let the people there know that you are interested in being part of a crew. You can augment your seamanship knowledge, by purchasing and studying a couple of books on boat handling and on navigation; you can do that on your own. Re-enforce your book knowledge with hands-on experience. It will take time, but it is worth it. After a few months of sailing, consider buying a 21-24 ft used sloop for more self/shared training; 7-8 m in length. It is important to be knowledgeable in all phases of sailing; the seas are not forgiving. Good luck on a rewarding endeavor! Mauritz
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Old 24-03-2013, 16:47   #5
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

Or, buy a sailing dinghy to use for a season or two, and you will quickly learn many of the ropes. Get one big enough to put a sleeping bag in the bottom and a tarp over the boom and you can go cruising too. Just be sure to get an adequate anchor and plenty of line--it is your safety valve. A small cruiser is another way to go, but you can learn a lot sailing dinghies. Another option is to offer your services at a local yacht club, maybe joining as an associate member or something. There are often people at the clubs who are looking for crew for the Wednesday night races.
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Old 24-03-2013, 16:58   #6
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

Sailing co-ops can be the cheapest and fastest way to gain sailing experience. You essentially become a shareholder in the boat or boats, and can crew on them almost immediately. The one I was a member of had 5 Cal 27s at different places around the BC south coast, and you could book Sunday sails, overnighters, weekend and week long trips as crew, gaining experience as you go. Eventually, with proper lessons and check out, you can skipper the boats and book your own week once a year. you also gain experience with maintenence and care of the boat, since you are normally expected to participate in that as well.
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Old 24-03-2013, 17:40   #7
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

When I was 8 my father ( who was never at sea, or in a boat other than a canoe in his life ) came home one night and announced he boat a brand new 8 meter boat. The family was promptly enrolled in sailing instruction and safety courses on land. Then we went out first few times by motor. Anchored for lunch and returned. Next came the mainsail only. then eventually main and jib. Then invites on neighbors boats. Then overnights. Then night sailing. So it can be done. Just pace yourself. My suggestion is try to find a small sailing club. ( not the type of club that prefers dining and sitting on shore admiring their yachts all day instead of sailing them ) Just a group of people interested in sailing and sharing their experiences. Go talk, mingle, admire. Soon you will get connections to cheap boats they know about for sale and offers to crew until you can afford your own. It will help you decide what your personal preferences will be when selecting a boat to buy. Consider it like free test drives!
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Old 24-03-2013, 17:56   #8
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickdiviacco View Post

So I was wondering.. what if I directly buy a second hand boat (obviously asking an expert to advice me which one to buy) for let's say 4000-5000 euros, and ask a friend of mine to teach me the first times, or hire an instructor for few afternoons and then just practice by myself ?

thanks
Of course 4,000-5,000 euros does not buy as much boat in Europe as it does in America, because there is less inventory and lack of hurricanes to provide cheap salvage and repair buys, but I think you can get a decent boat for that price still, but most are in UK. There is 7.5 meter Jeanneau in Toulon for 5000 euros.
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Old 24-03-2013, 18:22   #9
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Originally Posted by Kettlewell
Or, buy a sailing dinghy to use for a season or two, and you will quickly learn many of the ropes. Get one big enough to put a sleeping bag in the bottom and a tarp over the boom and you can go cruising too. Just be sure to get an adequate anchor and plenty of line--it is your safety valve. A small cruiser is another way to go, but you can learn a lot sailing dinghies. Another option is to offer your services at a local yacht club, maybe joining as an associate member or something. There are often people at the clubs who are looking for crew for the Wednesday night races.
+1
I also recommend starting with a dinghy. That's what I did too. I read a heap of books bought a dinghy with the following qualities; mainsail, jib, jib tracks, adjustable keel, room for gear.
I then started on fair weather days. By the time I had graduated to my next sailboat I could take my dinghy out in 25kn winds. In fact one brisk day I kept the coastal rescue on their toes as I sailed for hours back and forth over the bar which is in line of site of their observation tower. I wouldn't advise this to anyone else but I tried all different techniques. Rolled once but no problems swamped half a dozen times but only quite when I was getting tired of bailing. (Who says a Heron won't surf lol )

My next boat was a trailer sailer for overnight and introducing the family to sailing. Then a good stout full keel small heavy weather capable yacht that was the testing ground to ensure the family would be okay and happy to go out in open seas. Once I knew the whole family was all in on sailing we bought a boat for long distant cruising. Now I want to buy a sailing dinghy again to have as a tender and teach my 5 yr old how to start sailing on her own.

I would also say with a dinghy you can get out lots and as a beginner you will stress less and enjoy sailing more learning how your actions effect the boat with almost instant feedback from the dinghy vs a bigger boat that's slower to react. In 2 yrs of owning a dinghy I probably used it almost 300 times. Yup I just love sailing.

Last words of advice. Don't wait start now you won't retreat it, the first day I pulled the main sheet on my Heron dinghy and the wind filled the sail bending the mast and healing the boat over will be forever etched in my mind. I don't think you could get the smile off my face for a week.

Fair winds
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Old 24-03-2013, 19:29   #10
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

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Originally Posted by timbenner View Post
I would suggest joining a local sailing club, active with regular races. Go to the meetings, meet the members and volunteer as crew.
Add to that hanging out with a friend who might have a boat.

One thing I found in recently going this path before you is that it was so very useful to sail a bunch of boats to figure out what I wanted....
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Old 24-03-2013, 22:03   #11
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickdiviacco View Post
......So I was wondering.. what if I directly buy a second hand boat (obviously asking an expert to advice me which one to buy) for let's say 4000-5000 euros, and ask a friend of mine to teach me the first times, or hire an instructor for few afternoons and then just practice by myself ? thanks
Hi Patrick and welcome to CF.
It is great that you are willing to learn, but I think investing €4-5k is an expensive way to learn from your mistakes.

You can learn the theory of sailing from books or online videos and is a good start to manage on your own time .

Thinking outside the box as to what is really the education you need….
Why not visit some DIY boat yard or marina and find experienced owners of older boats who are working on them.
Let them know you want to learn and in return for free labor helping, you want a chance to sail with them.

This way you will learn the reality of boat ownership. Appreciate different styles of being a skipper and boat owner… and from those experiences… evaluate the do’s and don’ts of formulating your own style.

Then… when you have tasted both the good and bad, you will make a much better informed decision on buying your first boat…. rather than relying on ‘experts’!

This is pretty much what I did many years ago
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Old 25-03-2013, 16:04   #12
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I would also say with a dinghy you can get out lots and as a beginner you will stress less and enjoy sailing more learning how your actions effect the boat with almost instant feedback from the dinghy vs a bigger boat that's slower to react. In 2 yrs of owning a dinghy I probably used it almost 300 times. Yup I just love sailing.
+1

I have to agree. The OP did not say where they are, but a small trailerable dingy is great. We started with an 18' O'day - mostly dry, but if you want to stay dry, and have all the components, a Flying Scot (or similar) is a wonderful start.(main, jib, spinnaker). The cost of entry is low and so is the fear of running into a 1.2 million cat.(euro or us). I also found we got out on the water more.
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Old 25-03-2013, 17:33   #13
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

In a small boat. The smaller the faster you learn about the wind and waves and the consequences on boat handling.
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Old 25-03-2013, 19:20   #14
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Re: Learning sailing.... best approach

You can get lessons on smaller boats for a few hundred dollars in the U.S. These are not international certification course, but are simply billed as "Learn to Sail". It's probably put on by a local sailing club

From there, you can purchase a small sailboat and teach yourself.

If you are a good swimmer, you can just buy yourself a small sailboat such as a Hobie Cat or Laser, and go out and teach yourself. You should get a little instruction from somewhere - it could be anywhere or anyone. Boats like this are less than $1000 in the US (old and quite used). If you are not a good swimmer, do not try to teach yourself this way.

On a small boat like that there is not much damage you can do. Just don't go out in high winds until you learn to control the boat. And only practice on an uncrowded lake. Be prepared that you may have to tow the boat back to shore if you can't learn to control it properly.

Take a buddy on the boat, or to spot you from shore. Wear a lifevest. These small boats are inherently unstable, and are designed for teenaged kids. Though they are small and lightweight, it is possible to knock yourself or someone else unconscious.

Remember, the more education you get BEFORE getting in the water, the less likely you will break or lose something in the lake. Anything that CAN be dropped in the water WILL be dropped in the water. Every part, no matter how small, should be tied onto the boat in some way.

And I hate to say this but do NOT try to teach yourself on an open body of water. Stay in an enclosed lake that you can SWIM, towing the boat if necessary, until you learn to control the boat.
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