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Old 05-08-2008, 07:54   #1
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Intro

Hey Cruisers,
My name is Matthew, and I am an aspiring cruiser living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I've been saving up money with by brother for a blue water boat, and will likely be asking questions about buying at some point over the next few years.

Right now though, I'm wondering what the best way to learn to sail is. I'm in my early twenties, and am quite limited in my budget. I have sailed a laser dinghy quite a bit over the years, and a catamaran off and on, but have never sailed on bigger boats for an extended period.

Anyone have any suggestions on a good way to learn, and experience several boats before I go looking for my own?

Thanks,
m
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:19   #2
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Greetings, and WELCOME aboard Matthew.

The Halifax-Dartmouth area has several yacht clubs*, where you might find crewing opportunities on race night. Yacht Clubs are also great places to meet fellow sailors, and learn about local opportunities.

*Dartmouth Yacht Club: Dartmouth Yacht Club
* Shearwater Yacht Club: SYC - The friendliest club in Halifax - Home
* Armdale Yacht Club: Armdale Yacht Club - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - Offering a complete range of facilities and services while meeting the needs and expectations of todays yachtsmen and women, their families, friends and guests.
* Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Club: Home
* Chester Yacht Club: Welcome to the Chester Yacht Club
* Lunenburg Yacht Club: Lunenburg Yacht Club

The Canadian Power & Sail Squadron offers a wide variety of excellent courses and seminars:
Halifax Power Squadron (CPS): CPS Halifax Power and Sail Squadron
The Halifax Squadron serves the Halifax, Bedford and St. Margaret's Bay areas of Nova Scotia
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Old 05-08-2008, 13:19   #3
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Hi Matt,
Gords given you some sound direction. Some could be worried about rocking into a yacht club and seeking a sailing spot - but please be aware you'd be welcomed on most weekend racing yachts provided you simpy arrive for each race and are prepared and able to learn.
Racing is undoubtably (to me) the best way to fast track experience in all conditions as well as getting the max performance out of a craft.
Go for it - good luck - and enjoy
JOHN
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Old 05-08-2008, 13:39   #4
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Thanks for the advice!

One question:
Is it acceptable/polite to poke around a club for events or sailing spots without becoming a paid member?
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Old 05-08-2008, 19:33   #5
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Aloha MJ,
Welcome aboard! This forum doesn't charge.
Our club (Na Hoa Holomoku of Hawaii Yacht Club) has one day a month where we invite everyone for lessons and encourage them to join. Since we have quite a few boats in inventory and all need repair it doesn't seem fair to me as a volunteer who devotes countless hours to boat maintenance for folks to just hang around, use our boats and join in races or events and not pay dues.
That's just my opinion. Our club dues are $50 a year.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 05-08-2008, 21:29   #6
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I would second swagman's advice. Racing is a grat way to learn on other people's boats.

Most sailing and yacht clubs will have a website. The website will usually list the regattas and "formal" events coming up. Lot's of the events will even have an online crew listing application for boats and crews to find each other.

Pitching up at the clubs in person may have mixed results. Decent (friendly) clubs would let you post a crew looking ad. We have twilight races every two weeks and encourage non-members to show up and join in available spots.
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Old 06-08-2008, 05:58   #7
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Re crew memberships of clubs - it is not normally mandatory but most clubs do offer such and as Skp John says, it is usually a nominal annual amount and it is fair to share costs.
I suggest you pop round to a number of clubs to see which ones are simply the most welcoming, and maybe look to take crew membership once you've got a spot you are happy with.
Good luck
JOHN
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:41   #8
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Thank you gentlemen,
Very helpful advice.

And SkiprJohn -
Point taken. If I'm going to benefit from one of the clubs, I will make a point to make my contribution.

I will let ye all know how it goes.

Matthew
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