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Old 01-10-2005, 17:59   #1
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Newbie Needs Sanity Check

My husband has got the sailing bug. It sounds like fun to me too. But we have no experience with sailing.
So, we are planning to take an 8-day learn-to-sail keelboat course in Florida this December.
Tomorrow we are going to look at a boat - a 1976 O'Day Daysailer. We live in Ohio, and are looking for a first boat to learn on and have fun with. It will be used in local lakes.
Our goal is to be able to do a bare-boat charter in the BVI.
Are we going about this in a reasonable way? Is the O'Day Daysailer a good boat to learn on?
Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2005, 18:07   #2
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Easy answer is yes.
If you are near Cleveland, you may want to go down to the harbor area by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on a weekend. When we were out there, we met a number of people sailing in for the weekend, and had a great time hanging out. We got an invite to go for a day sail, and lots of info on the local sailing scene.
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Old 01-10-2005, 18:12   #3
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Kai Nui-
Thanks for the reply.
We've been sailing on other people's boats - we just don't know how to do it ourselves.
We're near Dayton - not near Cleveland.
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Old 01-10-2005, 18:25   #4
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Check out my thread in the Great Lakes section. Although it would be a weekend trip, Cleveland may be a close place to get started, and several people came up with good links to sailing resources in the Lake Erie/Cleveland area.
Good luck, and go for it. It is a great lifestyle.
Oh, and for the ODay, very good boat to learn basic sailing skills. I believe you will find a number of ODay owners out there to race with if you get so inclined.
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Old 01-10-2005, 20:29   #5
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New boat Newbie

I would start with something small and safe like a Tanzer 22.
They are popular and you can sell when you want to go bigger.
You will learn more on a small boat than you will on a big boat. The worst sailors are those that started with a big boat and never got it figured out.
My opinion only.
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Old 02-10-2005, 03:37   #6
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I am a bit worried that you are asking the members of this forum for a sanity check

Are we sane and the rest of the world loopy, or have we got it wrong
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:59   #7
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Leekirk,

You have the right instincts. Taking a good sailing course, then developing your skills (and measuring your true commitment) on an easily-handled, easily-sold daysailer is a sensible way to go. The O'day is easy to pull, easy to rig and launch, and will offer countless hours of enjoyment.

Because you're taking a keelboat course and planning to charter, you may not want to get attached to the O'Day, as it seems, given your plans, you will outgrow its limitations quickly and will long for something more like the Tanzer or some other 22-24 ft. weekender. You've been on others' boats, so you already know what I'm saying.

One caveat: a 30-year old boat will need to be in good shape and carefully inspected, and depending on the previous owner's care & maintenance, require the updating or replacement of some outdated and worn equipment. Here are some areas I'd inspect carefully and ask pointed questions about:
  • the running rigging (the wires that hold the mast up and all the attachments): know how old it is, and if over 10 yrs. (some will argue with me here) plan to replace before too much more time passes
  • the pivot for the swingkeel in boats like these takes wear and is sometimes not maintained well
  • the gunions (the two metal looped straps on the back that are used to attach the rudder): if weak/fatigued, one may fail and carry away the rudder while you're out on the water. Make sure they are attached soldily to the transom of the boat, and that the fiberglass material around them is stiff and strong
Good luck, and enjoy!
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Old 03-10-2005, 14:25   #8
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do it!!!

You will learn almost everything there is to know about actually sailing the closer to the water and more simply you go. Sailing is a connection between you, the boat and the big enviroment out there. A small boat is way closer to the elements than something larger so you learn to live in the elements not float over them.

Get a small dinghy. Something around 8' and sail it. You won't need anything to launch it and sailing it only requires that you can swim because of the inevitable capsize. Experience the wind/water/boat interface. The boat will only be an initial learning experience but hang on to it. If you discover you have been truly bitten by the sailing bug. It will make a great dinghy for your cruising sailboat.

Once you know where the wind is coming from and how to take advantage of it, get a trailerable day sailer that you can easily tow. Something stable like a Rhodes 19, O'day or such. Especially nice if you can configure the cockpit as a floating tent so you could spend a week end or longer on the boat. These boats are available dirt cheap yet offer most of the complexity of larger boats even down to a spinnaker. A great source of hands on experience with everything from multiple sail interaction and trim to navigation. They will also teach you a lot about the joys of boat maintenance. Look at this boat as a throw away. Not that it will be worthless when your done, but a transition to what you are really after. The important thing is you get on the water with it. Head down to the Ohio River, Up to Lake Erie and every puddle of water in between and do it every weekend during the season. In short, Take it to any body of water it will float in, sail the sh*t out of it, every possible moment.

FWIW, when I met my wife, she'd never been closer to a sailboat than a Currier and Ive's woodblock print. Before we were married, I conned her into a delivery cruise from St Pete to Norfolk and later several deliveries from SF to Newport Beach, CA along with a number of day sails on larger boats and living with me on my Westsail. She didn't mind going along for the ride but really didn't understand that much about 'sailing.' The larger boats were too intimidating, frankly, more than she could physically handle and there was always someone else about ready to jump in and sail the boat. She did a great job in the galley but didn't really get 'sailing.' After a couple of years of this, she heard the local community was offering sailing lessons in Sabots so she decided to sign up. The minimal instruction, but more importantly, actually being out on the water in that little dinghy, all by herself, turned on the light for her. She suddenly became a sailor instead of a passenger.

I've been sailing since I built a Sailfish when I was 12. Never had a lesson, just did a lot of reading and went out and did it, often not in that order. Moved up to a 26' keel boat then to a 35' IOR Type and then to a Heavy displacment cruiser. Have done the SoPac thing and sailed both coasts as well as lived aboard for a number of years. I learned everything I know about the wind/water/boat interface on that little Sailfish, however and most everything else on the 26 footer. Start small and move up.

If you want a vacation and want to do it on the water, a sailing school is okay. Personally, I think your money would be better spent on buying a small boat and sailing it. In the interim subscribe to Sail, Cruising World, Lattitudes and Attitudes, etc. and haunt the libraries and used book stores for sailing books. For the sheer love of sailing read any and all books by Bernard Moitessier. He was a bit odd but captured the addiction of sailing the best of anyone I've read.

Get out there
Peter O.
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Old 03-10-2005, 14:31   #9
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do it!!!

You will learn almost everything there is to know about actually sailing the closer to the water and more simply you go. Sailing is a connection between you, the boat and the big enviroment out there. A small boat is way closer to the elements than something larger so you learn to live in the elements not float over them.

Get a small dinghy. Something around 8' and sail it. You won't need anything to launch it and sailing it only requires that you can swim because of the inevitable capsize. Experience the wind/water/boat interface. The boat will only be an initial learning experience but hang on to it. If you discover you have been truly bitten by the sailing bug. It will make a great dinghy for your cruising sailboat.

Once you know where the wind is coming from and how to take advantage of it, get a trailerable day sailer that you can easily tow. Something stable like a Rhodes 19, O'day or such. Especially nice if you can configure the cockpit as a floating tent so you could spend a week end or longer on the boat. These boats are available dirt cheap yet offer most of the complexity of larger boats even down to a spinnaker. A great source of hands on experience with everything from multiple sail interaction and trim to navigation. They will also teach you a lot about the joys of boat maintenance. Look at this boat as a throw away. Not that it will be worthless when your done, but a transition to what you are really after. The important thing is you get on the water with it. Head down to the Ohio River, Up to Lake Erie and every puddle of water in between and do it every weekend during the season. In short, Take it to any body of water it will float in, sail the sh*t out of it, every possible moment.

FWIW, when I met my wife, she'd never been closer to a sailboat than a Currier and Ive's woodblock print. Before we were married, I conned her into a delivery cruise from St Pete to Norfolk and later several deliveries from SF to Newport Beach, CA along with a number of day sails on larger boats and living with me on my Westsail. She didn't mind going along for the ride but really didn't understand that much about 'sailing.' The larger boats were too intimidating, frankly, more than she could physically handle and there was always someone else about ready to jump in and sail the boat. She did a great job in the galley but didn't really get 'sailing.' After a couple of years of this, she heard the local community was offering sailing lessons in Sabots so she decided to sign up. The minimal instruction, but more importantly, actually being out on the water in that little dinghy, all by herself, turned on the light for her. She suddenly became a sailor instead of a passenger.

I've been sailing since I built a Sailfish when I was 12. Never had a lesson, just did a lot of reading and went out and did it, often not in that order. Moved up to a 26' keel boat then to a 35' IOR Type and then to a Heavy displacment cruiser. Have done the SoPac thing and sailed both coasts as well as lived aboard for a number of years. I learned everything I know about the wind/water/boat interface on that little Sailfish, however and most everything else on the 26 footer. Start small and move up.

If you want a vacation and want to do it on the water, a sailing school is okay. Personally, I think your money would be better spent on buying a small boat and sailing it. In the interim subscribe to Sail, Cruising World, Lattitudes and Attitudes, etc. and haunt the libraries and used book stores for sailing books. For the sheer love of sailing read any and all books by Bernard Moitessier. He was a bit odd but captured the addiction of sailing the best of anyone I've read.

Get out there
Peter O.
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Old 03-10-2005, 18:02   #10
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Depends on your age

roverhi's advice is good but if you're over 30 don't start with a dinghy. Your knees, back, everything, will kill you. Start with a keel boat. You'll learn all the same principles and it'll be a lot easier on your body. An added bonus is that most of you will stay dry.
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Old 03-10-2005, 21:23   #11
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Even though my earlier suggestion was to get a Tanzer 22, I have to agree with some of the other posters. If you want to learn to sail, one small boat, one person, one sail, is the way to do it. Lasers can be uncomfortable but that is still the way to learn. Maybe there is something more comfortable. If you think your joints are stiff at 30, your gonna 40 and then 50.
Whatever you do, go sailing.
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