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Old 07-07-2015, 07:15   #1
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Hello from Chicago and

Hello all,

Been on a sailboat a few times. Although the fish got an extra meal the second time, I loved both experiences and committed myself to learning this season. (I immediately bought ginger candy, oil drops for behind the ears, and those silly wristbands so I would be prepared for the next trip. I'll laugh hard if any of those work but I wanted to take that path before moving to Bonnie. I'm pretty careful about what I put into my body.)

I've gone to the websites of a few places in Chicago that offer classes and am really not sure how to compare one against the other except based on price and other less important factors (e.g., location, parking). I'm considering the Chicago Sailing - Sailing Rental, Classes, and Charters course because I can ride my bike to the location and not have to worry about parking (which, in Chicago, is a nightmare). But I'd much prefer someone who has experience with taking classes to help me better decide how I should be approaching my decision. If you have a recommendation in Chicago (or a place I should stay away from based on your experience), I'd welcome the feedback.

What are my goals? Sure, I've dreamed like most others to circumnavigate the globe with my books, my guitar, and nothing around but water. (If you heard me play guitar, you'd understand why it's better no one is around.) But navigating Lake Michigan solo with confidence seems like a great short-term goal as I learn the different features and setups of a boat. (Someone told me that if I can learn to sail in Lake Michigan, with the wind constantly changing, it will probably be very easy for me to sail the ocean. I find that hard to believe but I don't have knowledge or experience otherwise to challenge it.) From there, I'll try sailing around the US coasts with my medium goal of getting to HI. And, from there... who knows?

I'm also debating putting up a blog to document my steps to learn how to sail, the skills I learned and experiences had while going about it, suggestions for others, etc. However, there seem to be so many sailing blogs out there and I'm not sure if it would be valuable to anyone. Based on all the blogs you've read (especially beginner blogs), do you feel anything is missing from them or wish they had discussed some aspect more?

Thanks in advance for your help and ideas. Long-time lurker on the forum, but didn't register until recently.

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Old 07-07-2015, 07:20   #2
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Re: Hello from Chicago and

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, b ohare.

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 07-07-2015, 08:04   #3
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Re: Hello from Chicago and

Welcome aboard! A lot of fun ahead for you, I’m sure!
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:08   #4
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Re: Hello from Chicago and

Howdy and Welcome Aboard CF!

You posted a good detailed introduction. Your dream and questions are not uncommon. Most of us have had the same at one time or another.

You came to the right place to learn a lot about cruising and sailboats. Also look at the free WIKI found on the tabs up on the top menu bar of this site. It has a LOT of information about sailing. Also, look at the Wikipedia articles on "sailing" as there are many basic terms defined and illustrated there etc.

As for learning about sailing schools, you are good to ask around. Talk to some students. Ask the school if they will connect you to some students.

I took a look at the website you linked. It looks like a good school site (professional looking impression). It is US Sailing certification, which is good.

Before signing up for an expensive package of lessons, I would look for the following from any school:

1. How long in business?
2. How many instructors? Are they certified by someone?
3. How many students per instructor on a boat for each class? Four per instructor is about right, as any more on the boat and it will diminish the hands-on aspect.
4. What size and type of boat is used for the first sailing lessons? I would prefer the starting classes be on a tiller steered boat of less than 26 feet long, rather than a big boat with a wheel.
5. What condition and age are the training boats? A prosperous school should have equipment in good condition. It does not have to be new, but should not be ancient.
6. What is the policy for weather cancellation?
7. Are there references from former students (blog, testimonials, etc.)?
8. When they teach are they pushing to get everyone certified, or to learn?

You asked about blogging your lessons or beginning as a sailor. I think you already know the answer.

I hope you found this helpful. Sailing is something that is a real passion for many of us. It is a wonderful, challenging activity that can keep you learning for a lifetime.

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