Thiago, I am enjoying reading how you are going about your learning
journey. I have a particular interest in how people learn to sail with intentions to go offshore
. (and what makes them think they are ready to cast their dock
One of the questions I often ask myself is, how can someone who is just beginning their love affair with sailing, map the learning journey required. It strikes me as fascinating that for some people having an organised plan is what is needed with lots and lots of reading , viewing and talking and dreaming, whilst others seem to think the , "just get out there and do it" is the best way to go. But how do you know where to start when there is just so much you need to know. Sailing and cruising, like most of life, teaches us that you probably know enough, when you actually know what you still need to learn and that you will never know enough.
Itís lovely to see how helpful people are when they know someone is genuinely trying to learn, especially when similar questions are often asked. It appears that you are doing what many do, and reading everything you can find as well as trying to soak in information from people who you feel are more knowledgeable others. Asking good questions IS probably the most important step in learning how to sail apart from getting cold, wet and dirty sometimes. There are some very good resources out there, but like most things worth knowing, itís a good idea to gather information from a variety of sources, and then make some decisions based on what you learn.
For some, there is so much information, and often its conflicting, that it can become overwhelming, especially when you just want to up and go. For my own learning, this is some of what I have done so far - btw my salty loveaffair/ decision that I want to go cruising started about 6 years ago.
I joined a boat club, managed to get a mooring
, am about to start on my third bout of boat fitout/restoration, (still have not sailed out the heads, maybe I just like messing about in boats?)
I have read nearly every solo sailing autobiographical book I can lay my hands on, Beth and Evan and Lyn and Larry Pardey
have a great blog sites. Read them, they will help you with some of the thinking about cruising, as well as give you the links to their books
. I think I just counted that I subscribe to approximately 50 sailors' blogs,... fuel
to keep the armchair part of my dream floating. Teresa Carey's sailing simplicity is my latest fav. But as I said earlier, you need to think through what you read, because often the adventure you read about happened some years ago, and things, people and attitudes change.
I have had the fortunate opportunity to train as a volunteer on a Tallship , so Iíve signed onto the crewlist and can sail about a small bay whenever there is a free spot available - I wish I could go more often than I have been able to so far - the first time out, I got up the mast
the topsails.. it was bliss and I decided I was happiest with a rolling deck
under my feet. ( and yet, here I am sitting at a computer still dreaming).
Also in my learning list, a navigation
course; pull apart and put back together diesel
engines, so I sort of know how they work , for the most part. Learning how to tie good knots, now thereís a pastime that keeps your hands out of mischief.
I take pleasure in helping others get their boats out of the water
when they are slipping them to antifoul and do boat maintenance
. I am a dab hand with a sander and angle grinder. You know if you go and help someone clean the bottom of their boat; you have an ideal opportunity to make a friend or two who would take you out for a sail. (Helping someone scrape barnacles
is a good way to stop being a stranger)
I get to participate in a social race
every other weekend, I should turn up to that more often too, maybe then I wouldn't be the very last to the barbeque afterwards every time. (Youíve never known danger
till you have seen a hoard of hungry sailors attack meat on a barbeque)
Offering to crew on smaller boats is usually helpful when you are just starting, so you get to know what things are called, (if you canít afford to pay for a course). Itís good to see a diagram in a book or on a website as a starting point, but if you can actually reach out and touch the bits on a boat as well, it will help you to remember what they are , and what they do. Then when you go and offer your services to those who like to race- to learn a bit more about sailing, you will know what is going to happen when everyone starts moving to the other side of the boat in a hurry with their heads down . Oh and one other thing, do wear good wet weather gear
if you crew in cold climates, because hanging your bum in the sea water for hours if youíre ballast in a race
certainly sorts the sailors from the dreamers.
Ok, so that ended up being a lot longer post that I intended sorry about that, I love this forum, because from what I have read lurking about these last few years, its generally a safe place to ask questions ; to give or get opinions. I do hope you continue to learn and keep that passion alive, and that when you do go, you know enough to look after yourself, because once you are on the water, you need to be pretty self-sufficient most of the time.