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Old 27-03-2008, 19:19   #1
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Question Questions About Sailing

Hey,

I really want to get a boat some day and I have a few general questions about sailing.

1. How common is it for a boat to capsize?
2. If a boat does capsize, is the boat basically wrecked, or is it not a big deal?
3. Is getting into bad weather hard to avoid? What happens if you get stuck in a storm? What happens if the mast gets struck by lightening?
4. Do sailboats generally require a lot of help from an engine, or do they use mostly the wind? How much gas would you usually end up using on a typically cruise?
5. Is a long sailing trip, across the Atlantic ocean for example, viable or do you mostly have to stay near the coastlines in case of a problem? (On a 30-50 foot boat.) How long would something like that take?
6. Does the age of a sailboat matter when sailing, or is it mostly the condition?

Thanks.
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Old 27-03-2008, 20:19   #2
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Welcome to the forum--I'll take a shot at your questions. Numbers one through three you can compare to the same questions asked about crashing your automobile. Four, engines are very useful auxilary power (docking etc.) but the reason for having a sailboat is to count on the wind (as long as it is blowing). Diesel is the preferable fuel for safety, economy, and longevity. My boat uses one-half a gallon per hour at 6.5 knots. Five, 30-50 foot boats cross oceans all the time (some are more seawothy than others). And six, condition over age. There are details in these threads that will answer virtually any question you have, and if not all you have to do is ask it. Again, welcome!
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Old 27-03-2008, 20:32   #3
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There is a lot of answers to the questions you ask akready here. Not all sailing is the same. I think you will find as many different sailors here as any place else you could look. How people choose to sail is what it all comes down to.

If you can find a way to sail that works for you it's a start that may change over time. No telling where you might go.
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Old 28-03-2008, 00:30   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaoskorruption View Post
Hey,

I really want to get a boat some day and I have a few general questions about sailing.

1. How common is it for a boat to capsize?
Not common at all in the big scheme of things
Quote:
2. If a boat does capsize, is the boat basically wrecked, or is it not a big deal?
You can be rolled and have next to no damage through to having lots. It certainly doesn't mean the boat will be a right-off. Being rlled would be a good story for the grandkids and would be a reasonable size deal if it happened which is not likely as a rule.
Quote:
3. Is getting into bad weather hard to avoid? What happens if you get stuck in a storm?
With weather forecasting these days getting stuck in a biggie you didn't know about would be unusual. What happens, all depends on how well you have the boat set-up and you handle the boat. I've been through 2 with winds in excess of 65kts (officially a hurricane) and only broken one sail slide ($2) total. That excludes a couple of crew who left large deposits around the boats and a few bruises. Both blows were 'exciting' to say the least but we battened down and got through fine. It's all about preparation and not panicking. Panic is an evil to stay well clear off even if your filling your undies at the time just 'Don't show it', it spreads like wildfire.
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What happens if the mast gets struck by lightening?
Again depends on boat and set-up. Sometimes it'll fry all the electrics and sometimes nothing happens.
Quote:
4. Do sailboats generally require a lot of help from an engine, or do they use mostly the wind? How much gas would you usually end up using on a typically cruise?
Use the Wind Luke It's cheap and there is usually enough around to move nicely. Motors are for harbours, recharging batteries and giving the odd nudge when things are slow or you have to be somewhere and are running out of time. Fuel use would depend on what motor and how much you used it. You can get away with very little fuel if you put your mind to it.
Quote:
5. Is a long sailing trip, across the Atlantic ocean for example, viable or do you mostly have to stay near the coastlines in case of a problem? (On a 30-50 foot boat.) How long would something like that take?
Again depends on boat, some are faster than others. I'm not sure about a trans-atlantic but someone here will. I like to keep away from coasts as they tend to have nasty things like more ship traffic, hard rocks and cellphones.
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6. Does the age of a sailboat matter when sailing, or is it mostly the condition?
Condition every time. A good condition old boat is far better than a neglected new one.

Quote:
Thanks.
Our pleasure to help someone shake off the shackles of land.

Forgot one important point - I've never spoken to anyone in over 30 years who didn't say the positives always out-weighed the negatives by a country mile, or should that be nautical mile
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Old 28-03-2008, 00:35   #5
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Hi Luke,
I think Gmacs covered most of your questions. Transatlantic crossing times? Remember you pick the right season to avoid contrary weather - E to W on 30 footer maybe 25 days, 50 footer less than 20. W to E add 5 days to both.
Cheers
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Old 28-03-2008, 00:52   #6
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Thanks John, I knew someone would know.
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Old 28-03-2008, 17:20   #7
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Thanks all a lot. I really appreciate your detailed answers. I've always thought sailing looked fun, but until recently I had assumed that sailboats were for rich people (and out of my reach). I rethought that when I saw that they are perfectly affordable if you know where to look.

I definitely plan to get a boat sometime after I get out of college.
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Old 29-03-2008, 05:49   #8
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Why wait until you get our of college. You can find a nice day sailer for not much money and learn on the weekends on a lake close to your college.

My Starwind is a 22 footer built in 84. She was in the water and ready to sail. All I had to do was back her out of the slip and raise the sails. She cost me a total of a $1000.00 We moved her down to the coast and getting her ready to do some coastal cursing.

I am sure you could find others in you college that know how to sail and would love to go out with you and teach you in the process.
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Old 29-03-2008, 10:12   #9
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That's a good thought. I plan to join the sailing team, so hopefully after I learn how to sail I can get a boat. The sooner the better.

Thanks.
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Old 29-03-2008, 10:52   #10
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Originally Posted by kaoskorruption View Post
Hey,

What happens if the mast gets struck by lightening?

Thanks.
This information on lightning and boats is still current - I think.

When Bagehera, a 38 foot Beneteau on a circumnavigation got hit in the Indian Ocean, much of the standing rigging had to be replaced. Most of the elctronics were blown out. The boat was properly grounded for a strike.

Jack
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Old 30-03-2008, 21:37   #11
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Questions About Sailing
Hey,

I really want to get a boat some day and I have a few general questions about sailing.

Quote:
1. How common is it for a boat to capsize?
Under about 24 feet, the frequency of capsize is inversely proportional to the boat's length. Over 24 feet it is rare.

Quote:
2. If a boat does capsize, is the boat basically wrecked, or is it not a big deal?
If the mast has not been damaged, or the sails torn, it is more of an inconvenience than anything else.
Quote:
3. Is getting into bad weather hard to avoid?
Yes
Quote:
What happens if you get stuck in a storm?
You minimise the amount of sail that you have epxosed to the wind, keep the boat bow or stern on to the seas, stay away from shore and ride it out. You won't die (usually).
Quote:
What happens if the mast gets struck by lightening?
Usually, there will be some damage to electronics. The hull may be scorched or melted slightly. It is not easy to give a firm answer. Some boats are well-grounded, in which case the damage is usually minimal. Some boats are poorly grounded in which case the damage is more extensive. It is conceivable that the boat would blow up.
Quote:
4. Do sailboats generally require a lot of help from an engine, or do they use mostly the wind?
It's the skipper's chouce, but a lot of boats go for many days without using the engine. Usually, engines are used when the boat has to meet a deadline of some kind, or the batteries need charging. Many boats have no engine onboard at all.
Quote:
How much gas would you usually end up using on a typically cruise?
Could be any amount. usually about $5.00 worth
Quote:
5. Is a long sailing trip, across the Atlantic ocean for example, viable or do you mostly have to stay near the coastlines in case of a problem?
It's not only viable - it is common.
Quote:
(On a 30-50 foot boat.) How long would something like that take? Anywhere from three weeks to three years - depends on the route you take...
Quote:
6. Does the age of a sailboat matter when sailing, or is it mostly the condition?
It is 70 percent condition and 30 percent design. If you are going to voyage across the open oceans, buy a boat that was designed for that purpose. They are different creatures than the boats designed for inshore use. Regardless, if the boat has not been taken care of it is a danger to its crew.
Thanks.
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