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Old 17-04-2012, 19:18   #16
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

Everybody is different hence the 'best' ways may vary wildly. In any case I would recommend plenty of hands-on, on-the-water learning. Remember skills complement so you can learn many different things at the same time. Seeing the relationships makes a better sailor and speeds up learning. Vary your learning - try to sail as many boat types / weathers / areas / crews as you can. Racing is a very good ground to learn sailing. Try it, you may like it. Learn the associated skills - boat maintenance, rowing, swimming and diving, water rescue techniques, basic meteorology, crew management, etc., etc..

If your country requires licensing then take the exams necessary to be legal. But try to avoid thinking in the reverse - having all the required licenses (and taking the required courses, if any) does not make one a sailor.

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Old 17-04-2012, 20:19   #17
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

We just bought our 45ft ketch a month ago, 1st boat, and started living on board right off. Learning to living-a-board is one thing, learning to sail is another. We sailed with the Genoa only which is really easy but I'm finding my priorities were; 1 learning about all OUR through-holes and pumps & valves, 2. Leaning the significance or otherwise of the many and varied noises that occur at night, 3. getting to know OUR plumbing and taking control of the smells. 4. Learning about keeping OUR diesel clean how to change the filters, 5. learning how to get OUR vessel in & out of the slip safely
Next will be getting to know OUR electricals and how to operate OUR radios, radar, sounding and navigation gear. Then there is making more efficient use of galley, storage, keeping warm or cool, etc, etc.
Meanwhile we will be getting tips from our friends on how best to use and look after the sails & rigging and we will practice on OUR boat.(BobConnie style.)
I wouldn't waste my time on smaller boats when there is so much more to learn about the one you are going to live-aboard.
Cheers, Nick
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Old 17-04-2012, 20:30   #18
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

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Originally Posted by anjou View Post
Hello and welcome

You will get the best advice here, plus a few knockers too, unfortunately, but thats human nature.

Your robust enough to pick the best and leave the rest. Sounds like you know what you want and will do it anyway. If YOU feel its right, go for it.

As for getting life in the right order and doing things the right way around, consider this....old chinese proverb

Tell me and I will forget
Show me and i might remember
Involve me and I will understand

That last line is the only way I can learn, so I have to do it hands on and practice makes perfect so maybe learning in your own boat is best for you.
+1Same here. I bought the boat and set about refining my limited skillset. Having much fun along the way, mostly very good but have managed to scare the crap out of myself a couple of times. All good
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Old 17-04-2012, 21:16   #19
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

Just my humble opinion here, but learning to sail in relatively calm weather is the easiest part of having a boat, and I'm not sure any lesson will really prepare you for handling a large sail in high winds (unless of course the lesson includes hands-on handling of large sails in high winds). Monohulls are very forgiving of poor sailors, especially if they are a typical cruising boat that has relatively small sails compared to its racing cousins.

If you are going to pay someone for lessons, pay them for lessons on pulling into your slip (particularly if, like many slips, you have a neighbor boat who does not want to be hit). Just practice pulling in and out of the slip for several hours with a vigilant pole-wielding person aboard...it can be difficult to get a hang for how a boat will keep moving a very long ways after its means of propulsion is stopped. This will also come in handy for a number of other things (pulling your dinghy up to the boat, running a dinghy up onto a beach, tying up to a friend's boat, snagging a mooring buoy, anchoring, etc.).
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Old 18-04-2012, 09:55   #20
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

I would like to thank everyone (and I am surprised i can say "everyone") for the very good advice, encouragement, words of caution. i expected more slamming, actually.

I do want to address some of what was said.

So just to let you know we did have a plan that would have gotten us started slower and more logically, At the very beginning, our plan was to take lessons to the point of being able to bareboat charter and do that for a couple of years. However, looking at the cost of that and knowing how much experience i want to have before setting out. I want to have sailed in all kinds of conditions etc and i don't think i could charter in some of that kind of weather nor afford the amount of experience on the water i want to have.

so finances changed and...

Finances: because of the following, we feel we can spend money we have been hoarding to buy a boat sooner than we originally had anticipated (not a lot of $ so we are looking more in the late 70's and early 80's for a solid boat that might need some upgrades and some muscle and love)
  • 1st daughter's undergrad was full-ride and she is about to enroll in med school so her tuition is covered and she won't need us anymore (or at least our money)
  • 2nd daughter is finishing her 4th class year at coast guard academy (she won't need us anymore (or at least our money)
  • Son is jr. in high school and is interested in and good at robotics and computer. i don't worry about him

We had lived in a 20 ft travel trailer for a while before my wife and i were married. trust me, we know how to live cheaply and in tight spaces. we are not picky and can make many types of spaces our own and work for us. we have had a number of fights over a separate shower!!!

I already have located and am planning on taking a diesel repair class at our local tech center, so i should be able to take one apart and put it back together within a year or so

Wife will be upping her first aid etc

While i enjoy my work, i am in a position that within about 3-4 years i can renegotiate for a 9 month contract and have 3 months in the summer. shortly after that, if all goes well and we decide to take it to the next level, i would be able to retire, sell the house and cruise (for as long as we decide to)

However, I still don't know the answer to this question. What would ASAa certification (at any level) get us over hiring an old sea dog who is willing to teach us? Does ASA get better insurance rates? do some marinas require some certification? etc Right now it seems that a combination of a couple of levels of ASA training to about 103 on a smaller boat and then private on our own boat would be best.

Again thanks for all the replies so far. i hope they don't stop coming.

BTW we are looking at anywhere from 35-42 ft and haven't completely decided on type-sloop, cutter, ketch. pros and cons to each. might just let seaworthiness and overall value make that decision. and no, i am not asking for that discussion to come up again! i have already read enough about that on this and other forums to last a lifetime!!!!!
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Old 18-04-2012, 10:16   #21
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

ASA cert gives you education.
It's does nothing for insurance
Not needed for chartering either.
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Old 18-04-2012, 12:07   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar
ASA cert give you education.
It's does nothing for insurance
Not needed for chartering either.
concur - ASA cert did not make a difference to our insurance company - apparently our insurance rates will go down once we have owned the boat for a few years without making any claims! Since we were first-time boat owners becoming full-time cruisers right away, our options for insurance were pretty limited. Your options might be better, the way you are proceeding.
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Old 18-04-2012, 12:21   #23
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

As to insurance for the boat, since you will own it outright, just go with the liability that is required in most all countries at a fraction of the cost. When you insure the boat for replacement value, the insurance company will put restrictions on when, where, and crew requirements. As to health insurance for you and the better half, if you are out of US waters, don't bother, as medical procedures are affordable and you will be able to pay out of pocket. Only in the US do you need coverage due to most all procedures being very expensive.

As to the boat, a good solid (and fast) boat can be had for $40K, ready to cruise. Sure, you will be taking showers on deck, but for the most part you can have a comfortable boat without breaking the bank. A Cal 40 comes to mind. Yes, they are quite old now, but in their day were cutting edge and very fast down wind.

Good luck and have fun. Keep us posted.
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Old 18-04-2012, 12:35   #24
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

Agree with above, see below:
ASA classes to save money forgo.
Rent an old salt with lots of seatime
And enjoy your boat in harbors sublime.
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Old 18-04-2012, 12:35   #25
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

ASA 101, the basic, will teach you how to handle sails, safety and basic rules of the road. I recommend you at least take that one. I like old salts and consider myself to be one but a lot of time old salts have some bad sailing habits they pass on to new sailors. Old salts like me who have taught sailing courses would be a good source.

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary courses will get you a break on your insurance. They are $40 bucks where I am. They don't give you hands on but do give you a lot of great information that you won't get in a 101 class.

If you find the right boat at the right time and what you consider the right price then I'd recommend going for it. Everyone learns differently and I've always liked to have my own vehicles to learn about too.

I had a friend who just outright bought a Cal 2-46 with never having had sailing lessons. He did have some powerboat experience and was a private pilot. He got a few pointers from the owner and hired an experience crew to help him through the waterway and headed south. He came through the Caribbean, through the canal, over to Hawaii, did the South Pacific and ended up back here in Hawaii.

There is no cookie cutter best way to learn.

Yes, you can do it.

Let us know what boat you are looking at to get experienced information on the brand and design.

kind regards,
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Old 18-04-2012, 13:06   #26
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

Hi Jill and Brian,

Great that you posted! My two cents: you should do what feels right for you, and lots of people have made that approach work. And then there have been those who have been far, far crazier and did just fine. Just consider Chay Blyth - now Sir Chay Blyth - who set off from the UK in 1968 with zero sailing experience on the first single-handed non-stop around the world sailing race and made it all the way to Cape Town, South Africa on his own. He later founded his own around the world race.

But I started out sailing dinghies on sheltered waters and would advocate for trying them as well, even if you buy the larger boat straight off. See if you can find a place nearby that will let you at their dinghies - either for day rent or on some kind of membership basis - hopefully with some basic tuition included at the outset.

Dinghies are incredibly fun and rewarding. It's a bit wet and you might even capsize once or twice (at least you will certainly fill the boat with water - good practice for learning how to bail - and you will quickly get over any fear of heeling but you gain so much immediate experience on how to read the wind and what a boat feels like on all points of sail. You'll be amazed how well this knowledge scales up to a larger boat - same principles right up to the largest sloop-rigged boats - and having that in hand will allow you to concentrate on all of the other things you need to learn once you are on your bigger boat.

That sailors never stop learning is not just an abstract pretention of the sailing community - there is so insanely much to know, from meteorology to collision regulations to electrics and diesel engine maintenance to... you get the picture. No one can ever learn it all, no matter how diligent they are.

Best of luck and happy sailing!
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Old 18-04-2012, 13:15   #27
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
ASA cert gives you education.
It's does nothing for insurance
Not needed for chartering either.
Not to quibble, but....

Most insurance policies only provide coverage for a limited area, and you need a rider to cruise beyond those boundaries. Having a strong sailing resume will sometimes make it possible to get the coverage area extended without having to pay a premium or be subject to a higher deductible.

Similarly, a strong sailing resume will sometimes induce a charter company to waive requirements that you spend the first few hours of a charter test-sailing with a captain aboard.
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Old 18-04-2012, 13:17   #28
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Re: Learning to Sail on your own boat

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Originally Posted by Jill_Brian View Post
i expected more slamming, actually.
We're a nice forum, relatively speaking. We rarely slam the newbies until they've got at least ten posts under their belts.
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Old 18-04-2012, 15:57   #29
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Re: Learning to Sail on Your Own Boat

I don't see how the original question is even in the arena for a kicking - but I've been wrong before .

No idea what the ASA courses actually involve (wrong (right? ) side of the world)........but a course (or 2) to teach you navigation and basic seamanship / boat / sail handling would be a useful leg up along your own learning curve.....not only by learning stuff, but (IMO) more importantly getting a handle on your "unknowns" (ideally so you can address them before you have to ). If they give you a certificate at the end of it, then all the better .

But at the end of the day it's really about whatever approach works for you.

IMO a good idea to get some instruction on your own boat (even if it is just as a confidence booster / hand holding), but the problem with solely getting an "old salt" to teach on your boat is that you won't initially have any reference points to know whether he (or she!) is full of BS and bad habits.....or simply can get away with stuff because has the skills and experiance to cope when luck is pushed too far (folks who know stuff, whether afloat or ashore, tend to underestimate what they know or what is "obvious").

Personally I would mix up as many approaches as you can (including simply crewing / being a passenger on other people's boats and observing) both to see what works for you (as learning tools) and to understand that approaches can differ widely between boats / skippers and crew.

Given sufficient time I would suggest the small boat to start with - but that is mostly for financial reasons (mistakes are cheaper - including that the sailing / boat thing is not as much fun as it seemed!) and to get time on the water as Skipper and boat owner. However, no fundamental reason why cannot go straight to "the boat" - just have to accept that at present you don't have a good handle on what you want / need from a boat, but truth be told unless you get very specialised (bizarre?) on your starting wish list then most folks can live with pretty much anything - even if they start the new ideal boat wishlist earlier than others!

No substitute for time on your own boat (as Skipper) - how you get to the point of being able to learn for yourself safely(ish!) is different for each.
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Old 18-04-2012, 16:05   #30
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Re: Learning to Sail on Your Own Boat

D_O_J is right, for the "old salt" you could wind up with atoll or Capt. Ron, who might be one of the same. lol
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