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Old 22-02-2012, 10:28   #1
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Sailing is Sailing - Or is it ?

Hi. I'm new to sailing for the most part. I sailed with a couple of friends up around NY about 20 years ago for a few years on a couple of different boats (mono) in good and bad weather but not extensively and I have never owned a boat of my own or been on one for more than a week.

I spend the winters in Miami and don't really have a lot to do down here. I have always dreamed of owning a sail boat so I've been thinking more about a boat purchase lately. Plus I just went to the All Sail boat show a couple of days ago. I had never been on a really nice cat before and was amazed at how easy and comfortable it would be to live on one. I'm talking the 42 to 50 foot neighborhood. Nothing like that in my budget at the moment but I am in investment real-estate and eventually the market should come back and hopefully at that point I can get out from under a couple of holdings and probably afford a nice boat. No kids or ex wives to give it too so might as well enjoy it while I can.

I looked up one old friend whom I hadn't spoken to for many years and bent his ear for a bit talking about boats. He has been sailing the same 36 foot mono for at least 25 years now and cruised for 4 years straight at one point so he's become pretty seasoned. While I trust his advice I thought I would throw out a few things to the group and see if everyone agrees. Even though it seems like sailors rarely agree on anything from my lurking around on here for a bit

So first off he said a couple of things that made sense and one that I'm not convinced about. Primarily he said study and read as much as you can and take some classes before buying anything. That sounds like good advice. He also said absolutely do not buy a big boat right off and stay in the 28 to 36 foot range until you have a quite a few nautical miles under your feet. That sounds reasonable too.

I'm pretty much convinced I eventually want a catamaran but he said absolutely to start with a mono hull and that mono hull sailing it the only "real sailing". That's the part that I'm not convinced of. And I'm also not clear on the size to start with.

Anyone who has spent much time down here knows that if you want to stick around Miami there really isn't much to do in terms of sailing. Sure you can hit the water and sail around but there really isn't any place to head to unless you go down to the Keys. So if I'm going to be stuck day sailing in the bay or the immediate ocean I might as well get an even smaller boat and just learn how to sail and not worry about being able to stay aboard except for a cat nap. Or if I want to be able to go out for a week or 2 at a time then I need a bigger boat. Except for docking sailing a sub 30 foot boat should be about the same as sailing a sub 40 foot boat in terms of technique shouldn't it? Once I get into a bigger boat I would want to have everything as automated as possible because I will likely be sailing solo.

Then secondly if I know I want a cat then wouldn't it be just as good to learn on a small cat instead of a small mono? We don't even have to go to the discussion of the ultimate advantages of each as I have already read threads for hours on that topic on various forums and one book dedicated solely to that debate.

Recommendations for must reads on technique and cruising for the new sailor would be great. And if any locals know of any good schools they would recommend that would be helpful too.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 22-02-2012, 11:11   #2
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

modifier,

First off, welcome to CF. It appears from some of your comments that you have been lurking for awhile here, and that is a good thing. For your first post, you took the time and effort to tell us where your head is at, and because you did, others will be able to reply with information that is relevant for you. I have to assume that since you are in Florida, the itch to sail over to the Bahamas will be consuming you soon enough, it at least would for me.

There are a lot of good sailing programs in your area you should avail yourself to, that way, when in buying mode, you know better what you want. You are lucky in the fact that your area is flush with a lot of good, used boats.

Cat vs mono, is a debate that will not die. I have sailed both, and was extremely lucky my first "real" boat purchase was an old Cal 40 for around $18K about 30 years ago. I loved that boat, fast, nice lines, and for an ex-race boat, rather decent for cruising. My brother used to have a F-28 tri, so I got an appreciation for multihulls. My next boat is more than likely going to be a 10~20 year old PDQ 36, that is no longer made. If interested, I'll tell you why I chose this boat.

So, if cat is your taste, hook up with a sailing program that uses cats, then do a bareboat charter, and then go shopping. The bareboat charter is to just make sure a cruising lifestyle is what you want, not what you think you want. Good luck, keep us posted.
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Old 22-02-2012, 11:50   #3
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

I think it's wonderful you have so much time. I'd use it to develop your personal style before you get an expensive boat. There is no "best" way to cruise, or "best" boat, it really depends on what kind of vibe you like.

I've met a few people who, as they gained experience, gradually grew dissatisfied with their boat. They bought it before they had a well developed taste, or idea of what their style would be, and as they traveled far their priorities shifted and the boat no longer fit them.

So... I whole heartedly endorse your friends idea of getting an inexpensive commodity boat, to knock around on weekends, going on short trips, to figure out what kind of sailor you will turn out to be. The huge advantage of this is that Boat #1, by definition, isn't The Boat, and so it can be flawed, imperfect, and cheap. You can avoid the whole trap of putting everything on it and making it perfect before you have enough experience to know what is important to you. In fact, I'd try not to buy anything major at all for it, at least for the first bunch of short trips.

I think it's much more easy to find an inexpensive monohull, but if there is some kind of small catamaran weekender -- that would be cool to. If you believe a catamaran will be your thing, then I think there's no reason to not try and find a mini version of what The Boat may eventually be. But I don't know if there are mass produced small-ish catamarans like that, do you guys know?
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Old 22-02-2012, 12:00   #4
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

Dinghy sailing, multi or mono, is a great way to start. You'll learn sailing techniques and reactions that will serve you well regardless what boat you end up with.
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Old 22-02-2012, 12:07   #5
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

Hi modifier -

Getting a smaller boat to start with is a good idea for several reasons.
First, you would be extremely lucky to end up with the "perfect" boat the first time out. It takes time and miles to know what is really important to you in terms of boat design. Assuming that to be the case, you want something you can sell relatively easily when the time comes to upgrade. Not having a huge investment helps.

Secondly, although you're right to a certain extent that sailing a large boat is basically the same as a small one, it's easier to understand what's going on in a smaller craft. The reason for that is that when you perform any given action on a sailboat, the results are more quickly apparent in a smaller boat. Learning from that, when you do the same action on a large boat, you know what is happening (and going to happen) even though the larger size results in things happening more slowly and less noticeably.
For instance, when you change heading from a reach to close hauled, you would expect the smaller craft to increase its angle of heel, perhaps drastically. A large yacht might not heel much more for a given wind speed, but with the lighter craft experience you will know what forces are in play and how the boat is being stressed, even if the large boat is not giving you too much obvious information.

Which leads me to some reasoning some people don't agree with me on.
When somebody tells me they want to go cruising on a catamaran, and they don't have any (or very little) sailing experience, I recommend to them that they learn how to sail on monohulls. Why? For the same reason as above. Multis, especially cruising cats, insulate you from what is going on around you more than monos. I once helped deliver a largish (39') cruising trimaran with some mono sailors along. I had to get out of bed and take over for a couple of hours in the early morning because the mono sailors put the boat into irons 3x while closehauled down the coast of Florida. These were all experienced mono sailors, but they weren't used to sensing what a multi was doing. The boat didn't heel, or at least as much as they were used to, and they had a hard time figuring out what was going on. Additionally, they were sheltered by a rigid dodger/bimini combination and of course it was dark.
It didn't bother the owner or myself, but we were the only people with multi experience.
That may sound like you should go straight to a cat, but I think you are better off learning what goes on with a mono first. That way you will learn what is happening with wind, current. waves, etc. and you will be able to learn to apply that knowledge to a multi. When the wind pipes up a mono will heel and warn you to reef. When the same thing happens on a cat it won't heel appreciably. By applying what you learned on "leaners" (sorry) you will know when to reef on multis even without the same amount of sensory input.

Damn I'm long winded this morning. Hope this helps.
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Old 22-02-2012, 12:28   #6
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

I would go for a trailer sailer sized boat (whether or not you keep her in the water 24/7) - sitting accomadation for the 3 K's (Kooking, Khazi and Kip )....something around 20' (+ / -).....and when you sell won't lose a fortune.....in practice that will probably mean a monohull.

Plus - be nice to your mate and crew onboard his "big" boat (and on others - once you are "in the club" and especially on the ground will find easier to get onboard other boats. being prepared to put hand in pocket tends to ensure repeat invites )......having your own boat means your learning curve will be quicker and more relevant, and your own boat will teach you about being the Skipper that being crew for others simply won't.

Your mate has some good points, albeit not so sure about the 28-36' thing - probably more applicable if you were going more places / further afield than you appear likely to (at least initially). But I would definately hold off on the buying "the boat" until you have discovered what is actually important to you first hand.

Your first small boat does not have to be kept until you buy the big boat - maybe have one eye on going a bit bigger in a few years time, maybe on a small (30') Tri - for whizzing around to get yer multihull kicks .
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Old 22-02-2012, 12:31   #7
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

Modifier, apart from those with more bias than experience, no one is going to suggest that the only true sailing is on a monohull. Prior to buying anything, why not join a yacht club and crew on as many boats as possible? Then, once you have gained some experience, consider chartering both monohulls and cats in the size range that you are considering.

Dinghy sailing is indeed a great way to 'learn the ropes': the boat will respond so much more quickly to changes in wind strength, wind direction, gusts, cousre, sail trim etc. than any midsize multihull or ballasted monohull, giving almost instantaneous feedback. Many yacht clubs also have sailing programs/courses that would enable you get experience in a dinghy, as well as crewing on larger yachts on race nights. Further, since the dinghy fleet are often one design, it will give you a good opportunity to gauge your skills against others who are sailing comparable boats.

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Old 22-02-2012, 13:43   #8
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

If sailing a 36' sailboat is sailing, then sailing a similiar sized catamaran is also sailing. If your friend doesn't agree, show them these and let them know that THIS is sailing...

Sailing Fans Gather in Record Crowds | YachtPals.com

One hull or two hulls doesn't matter, your still sailing. Catamaran's are just another form of progression, just like the move to fiberglass boats, GPS..etc.
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Old 22-02-2012, 13:47   #9
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

My first boat was a Hobie Cat. Since then I've had mostly monohulls. When it comes to cruising boats I am a dedicated monohull guy--don't like the big cats. Wouldn't ever buy one. Have sailed on 'em and have no desire to ever do so again.

But to say that only monohull sailing is "real" sailing is just patently absurd.
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Old 22-02-2012, 14:35   #10
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

It's all sailing:
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Old 22-02-2012, 15:35   #11
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

[sarcasm ON]
Your friend is correct. Real sailing only happens on timber boats with oakum caulking and at least three masts all square rigged. Further, real sailing does not use electronics indeed even that johnny come lately sextant is not real sailing. The cross staff is your friend. Real sailing involves a crew of at least 30. [sarcasm OFF]

What an intensely silly statement.
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Old 22-02-2012, 15:49   #12
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

He's entitled to his opinion, but catamarans ARE "real sailing."
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Old 22-02-2012, 16:16   #13
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

If it floats, has sail and costs too much its a sailboat.
If it matches what you sailing plans are and you can afford it, its the ideal sailboat for you.
Everything else is BS
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Old 22-02-2012, 16:26   #14
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

As 44's video shows fantastic sailing with no, one, two and three hulls
at costs from $1000 to $$$lots
They are all sailing but the windsurfer cant stop for a coffee.

What else you do onboard is up to you. My wife made me chose a Cat for the big trips but i have little cats and monos for fun
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Old 22-02-2012, 16:39   #15
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Re: Sailing is Sailing, or is it?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, modifier.

There’s no wrong way to get started, once you’ve progressed beyond the beach boats (mono or multi), you’ll most likely find small monohull cruisers your next logical step. As your experience and budget grow, you can reasonably consider cruising multihulls.

Multi's seem to mostly jump from affordable beach cats, right up to 1/4 million dollar cruisers,; with little between.

Quote:
Originally Posted by msponer View Post
... I whole heartedly endorse your friends idea of getting an inexpensive commodity boat, to knock around on weekends, going on short trips, to figure out what kind of sailor you will turn out to be. The huge advantage of this is that Boat #1, by definition, isn't The Boat, and so it can be flawed, imperfect, and cheap...
... I think it's much more easy to find an inexpensive monohull, but if there is some kind of small catamaran weekender -- that would be cool too ..
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamif27 View Post
Dinghy sailing, multi or mono, is a great way to start. You'll learn sailing techniques and reactions that will serve you well regardless what boat you end up with.
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