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Old 10-01-2008, 06:45   #1
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Why did you start sailing?

After looking over a recent thread, I began to wonder what prompted all of you sailors to start sailing in the first place? Based on the ages in survey, I suspect the motivations are rather varied.

For me;

1. Lived on a dismasted sailboat for a few years while my father built a family home in South florida. 53 yrs ago. (no interest then, but it may have had a subtle effect on me.)
2. Thought I was pretty smart, but one day read the ancients (phoenecians, vikings, etc) could do some things I couldn't. That prompted me to take action and learn to sail.
3. Loved the ocean, hated paying for gas. (embedded sailing into the blood stream).
4. Liked competition, even though the idea of "Racing" at walking speeds seemed a little weird.

What about someone else?

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Old 10-01-2008, 08:41   #2
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I was just looking for a way to get me and my mates out diving, since my Dad sold his cabin cruiser. Stumbled on a 68 spencer sloop glass over ply for $3000. Never sailed before, got the honda 9.9 to push is out of the harbour, figured out wich lines pulled the sails up, and the next thing you know some wind filled the sails, porpoises were darting across our bow, and the boombox was blasting out "american woman".
Guess I was hooked after that.

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Old 10-01-2008, 11:24   #3
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See also: "What Was Your Epiphany?"
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 10-01-2008, 12:24   #4
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A memory of being rowed to a deserted beach from my Grandad's 22 footer when about four. A memory of NOT BEING allowed to go up front with my uncles to do adult things that made the boat go. Later learning to sail a mirror dinghy made by the same Grandad (maybe six by this stage) in cold but exhilarating british weather. The idea that wind could take you to places few others would see, that while not in control* of the situation perhaps you could harness and work with the elements.

Later beating people in laser races, sinking a fireball in a force 8, learning how to steer without a rudder. It goes on over the years, first island landings and night skies offshore etc. New things learnt everytime I leave land.

Now I'm about to get a big** boat I think a big driving force is the idea of getting up in the morning, brewing a GOOD coffee and going topside to take a look at a new shoreline yet to be explored.

I guess this is why I keep coming back to sailing, more than why I started. Truth is I was forced into this situation!

*Obviously control itself belongs to Neptune and his elements.
**'Big' here is a relative term, 'big' compared to a laser / mirror.
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Old 10-01-2008, 14:22   #5
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Deisel just went from $.20 to $1.20. Spent over $100 on gas for a houseboat for three days. I decided there was no way I could afford to put 5,000 gallons of anything in the tank. So I went and bought a sailboat because I love the water.

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Old 10-01-2008, 15:38   #6
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*Sentimentality alert! You don't have to read this! But it was good to write it down

When I was 12 my parents left Melbourne and came to Sydney. I was a quick kid and I found them not long later.
We had always done Sunday Drives into the country for picnics but Sydney was a huge city and that was a joke we only tried twice. I saw an ad on TV for the Boat Show and said some smart comment about if we can’t go west, south or north we should go east. I was a bit surprised when Dad and Mum actually agreed to go see the Show! Wow! That was so cool looking at all the new gleaming boats and I wanted a brand new Hood 23! But Dad, god love him and his conservative nature, then spent weeks analysing every boat on Sydney Harbour till be bought an old Endeavour 26.
First long weekend away – Easter - with 5 on board and no dinghy rained absolutely non stop! Plus we were not allowed to swim off the boat! To this day at family dinners that first Easter everyone says how horrible it was being cooped up. But not me. I loved every moment of it and had the best time.

We progressed to racing, and then racing with dad and me and a ‘real’ crew and club membership. Dad, of course, never let me do as much as the other crew as I was still a kid in his eyes.

By then I was racing 3 days per week: Friday night twilight races, Saturdays with Dad and Sundays on Moths, small skiffs.
Every day on the Ferry to school I would go past this yacht that looked so huge – the biggest winches ever - but I never saw it racing. Then I found out it raced “Offshore”. That was it, I wanted to race “Offshore” and I wanted to race on that boat. I rang the owner up – I was about 17 – and remember stammering my request – accepted – and then the next Friday night on the tender to the huge yacht ready for a 9pm Friday night start of a long off shore race! I hadn’t eaten peas or sardines since the phone call.

The first off shore race meant I never raced with my father again. Ever. By then he was on the committee of our yacht club and when I was introduced to people as “Alan J_’s son”. Then I did the World Championships (came second) in ¼ toners in an American boat, and some other stuff, and then Dad was introduced to people as: “Mark J_’s father”.

Its funny but even though I did it all and was respected for it by my sailing peers, when my father bought his first band new boat I never held the wheel until after he died. I can tell you it was the weirdest, hollow feeling taking it out the first time.

Since then I’ve raced in Key West, trans Med, trans Atlantic, done deliveries in Turkey, cruised the Great Lakes, Nova Scotia, LA, Brazil, Argentina and tried out for the Olympics in Solings…. But still wish my ol’ dad had confidence in me in the sport that he sparked my passion.

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Old 10-01-2008, 15:47   #7
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it just felt so good - like we were doing sixty
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Old 10-01-2008, 15:50   #8
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Hey Gord May,

I went to the interesting epiphany thread, wasw a related question but not the same.

What lead you to sailing, in the first place? vs Why did you decide to cruise? How about you, what lead you to sail vs one of the other many ways to spend time on the fluid?

I am finding this very interesting, Ya'll.

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Old 10-01-2008, 15:57   #9
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Originally Posted by pogo View Post
Hey Gord May,
I went to the interesting epiphany thread, wasw a related question but not the same.
Yea, I agree. My ephphany to go cruising now was completely different.

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Old 10-01-2008, 15:58   #10
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MarkJ I love it. Great story.

I suspect your pop was as proud as a peacock over you. Cool way to get started.


PS I had my son sailing when he was about 4yr to 10 yrs and now he'sold enough to say not interested, he wont get on a boat anymore...just doesn't seem to be the adventurist type.
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Old 10-01-2008, 16:17   #11
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When living in Toronto, bought a canoe .Took my newly wed wife on our honey moon to Algonquin Park for a six day canoe trip . It rained every day she was all wet ,everything was wet and she liked it. We are still married .Once in local newspaper there was an add ,somebody had a sailing kit for a canoe , fifty bucks .Total investment of $300 including the canoe got me into sailing . The problem was ,I didn't know how to sail ,so every time I tacked ,I flipped the whole rig and had enough of it .
Years later,moved to British Columbia, had two kids here and when they wers 4 and 8 sign them up at the local yacht club for sailing lessons . it was their last they of the course when i skipped work ,walked quietly to decks to see how they were doing .I had tears in my eys when looking at my four year old daughter and her eight year old brother rigged a little opti ,hoped in it and sail across the whole Okanagan lake and back .I was so proud of them ,but didn't want to be left behind ,so I signed up for dinghy lessons . Before even the course ended ,I was a proud owner of a 14' Taser dinghy .I'm also crewing on the bigger keel race boats ,but nothing can bit a sail in the storm in my dinghy .
That was over a three years ago when my kids took those sailing lessons ,and in 247 seven more sleeps will be all going to Florida and start our life time adventure in our Tayana ,cruising the coast of Florida, down to Cuba ,Caribbeans and beyond . I'm hoping for the circumnavigation, but we'll see
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Old 10-01-2008, 16:52   #12

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Like many here, I taught myself how to sail when I was a young man in a borrowed harbor dinghy. No yacht club involved.

I think what got me started was a visit to Newport Rhode Island in 1976 to see the Tall Ships sail in.

Absolutely awe inspiring.
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Old 10-01-2008, 17:13   #13
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I have no where near the time or experience as most of the people here but any and all chances I got to go on my friends boats back in the US and Europe, I would go eagerly. I never felt a better pleasure then just being on the water, hearing it, smelling it, etc..

I grew to really appreciate it more since I have always been land locked and lived in huge cities. So I always longed for the freedom of the waters and just wherever the winds took me.. Still a few years away from owning my own, finally but I am counting the days until then.

Also getting excellent water time with a local cruiser as well which is outstanding whenever our schedules and weather matches up!!
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Old 10-01-2008, 19:30   #14
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Also a rookie compared to others here, but I grew up in the water in Michigan...everyone I knew had power boats...I had a hydroplane I had built and a couple of power boats in high school and college for water skiing, and one weekend I spent $300 in gas in about 1975 (A lot back then!) for my boat and Dodge van to drive from Salt Lake to go boat camping on Lake Powell. Realized I could no longer afford my water habit, and I came home sold both. Got an 18' Chrysler Bucaneer day sailer brand new, and a brand new 1974 Toyota mini truck...never looked of the best decisions I ever made. That was about 8 sailboats ago. I thought I would miss the spray of water off the bow..little did I realize at the time that spray off the bow of a sailboat results in much more "yee-hahs". I will confess my wife talked me into buying a used jet ski recently so that "the grandkids could have fun"..what a mistake...sold it, gone, good riddance. (Sold the jet ski, not the wife I mean!! (:-.))
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Old 10-01-2008, 21:56   #15
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My old man sailed boat, and was in the Marines. I sailed as a kid and was in the Navy. I've always been around boats, and hopefully always will be. I feel weird being away from the water.

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