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Old 17-11-2008, 12:07   #1
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Greetings fellow Sailors,

I am originally from the Midwest where I was a great small boat (Sunfish) lake sailor. Now that I am in Seattle (and not able to bring my boat with me) I find that everything I knew about sailing has been turned upside down.

...docks, use a jib, travel through locks, bridges that have to be raised...

My life goal would be to eventually live on a boat and island hop. I need to learn how to sail a large boat, figure out qualification (license) requirements, take another sailing class... or two...or three. Does anyone have any advice?
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Old 17-11-2008, 12:27   #2
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Sailing your sunfish is more of a challenge than a bigger boat. Your reactions skills are quicker with a smaller boat. The larger the boat the slower the reaction. You need no license to sail, just common sense. If you want to charge passengers money to take them sailing. Then yes you need a license, and a ton of patience..............i2f
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Old 17-11-2008, 12:28   #3
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Hello and welcome,
You'll get lots of advice here and hopefully from some closer to home than we are. They can maybe suggest specific sailing schools etc.
My advice to get more experience would be to simply visit local clubs where they race - either inshore or offshore - and seek crew membership.
Most are not aware it takes a committed crew to race in a serious way - and most race skippers would love to hear from anyone (experienced or not) prepared to commit to going out each weekend on race days.
It is a surefire way to experience most weather conditions and provided you find a good skipper (ie knowledgable and sane) you should learn lots.
Back that up with lots and lots of reading plus lessons from a sailing school and before you know it - you'll maybe not be state champion - but feeling confident enough to get out and away solo.
Good luck
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Old 17-11-2008, 12:39   #4
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Hi, welcome to Sailnet. There are lot's of sailing schools in the Seattle area, I think one is called Windworks. There is also a very active racing community and informal racing on Lake Union (called Duck Dodge). Pick up a 48 North magazine at any marine store and you will have all the contacts. I'm sure some of the Seattle Sailnetters will have better advice here as well.

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Old 17-11-2008, 17:47   #5
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Hi for Australia,

Do not rush. We have taken 8 months to become comfortable with the larger boat. A lot to learn but that IS the fun. Remember if it get bad just turn down wind not fighting it is a good idae some times. Go with the flow.
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Old 17-11-2008, 19:27   #6
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Welcome aboard. The main thing that you will find is that the forces are a lot bigger. Try and find someone to go out on a daysail with on a 20' to 25' boat. Before you go read up on the different lines used on bigger boats and on how to use winches. If you understood how to sail it all applies to bigger boats there are just more toys to play with as the boats get bigger. Good Luck.
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Old 17-11-2008, 20:10   #7
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Thumbs up Welcome aboard Seattlegirl

Not to fear! We have the best of both worlds (lakes and ocean). You'll grow into the change. And yes, small boat sailing is more challenging. Going to larger boats just means more responsibility and more money. Kind of like working your way up from a tent to a motor home.

You should get your state boaters card to start. That will get you off the hook with the patrol. But do pursue more education & get out there often.

Reading charts is a must, here. You get to know the waters depth, shoals, height of bridges, tidal currents & so on. The Puget Sound is abundant with sights and sailing grounds, and then you can work your way up into Canada or even Alaska.

With larger boats anchoring is going to be a new skill to learn. The do's & don't are important to safely anchor out.

But if you hang out here on the Cruisers Forum you will have loads of knowledge to research through.

The best to you on your quest...................................._/)
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Old 18-11-2008, 02:12   #8
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As others have indicated, your dinghy sailing experience will stand you in very good stead as you move into larger keel boats.

I recommend that all new boaters take some of the Sail & Power Squadron courses (Introduction to Boating, & Seamanship & Boat Handling, & etc), through the off-season.
Goto your local USPS:
Seattle Sail & Power - Boating classes for fun & safety + vessel exams
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Old 18-11-2008, 03:54   #9
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Hi, and welcome to CF ---

John already mentioned Windworks (at Shilshole), but I'll second it. Great folks with a full set of classes from basic keelboat all the way to offshore passagemaking. Not that taking a class, by itself, will substitute for actual experience, but they are pretty good and a structured way of making sure you've got the essentials covered. Windworks also sponsors a number of other activities and keeps a good network going. We took our classes there and were happy. Now, we're almost a year into our cruising, getting ready to return to the Bahamas & Caribbean.

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Old 18-11-2008, 11:30   #10
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Aloha Seattle,
Welcome aboard! Good to have you on the forum. Seattle is a great place to sail and I'm certain you'll have a wonderful time. There are so many sailing oriented activities there. Our club here has 14 Sunfish and that's our beginning trainer. I really enjoy them.
Kind regards,
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Old 18-11-2008, 13:04   #11
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I learned almost everything there is to learn about making a boat move with the wind on a sailfish. It's a great training vehicle and a priceless learning experience that a lot of people don't have the benefit of.

Take the power boat and/or CG courses. They are relatively cheap and will familiarize you with the basics of navigation, rules of the road, tides, etc. Buy a book on racing with diagrams of the deck layout and purpose of all the strings and things that are found on larger boats. Chapters on sail control and ways to alter sail shape for varying conditions.

Check '48 Degrees North' magazine for crew opportunities. Prowl the yacht club bulletin boards or crew lists, post your own notices on the boards. Nothing beats experience for learning. As has been mentioned above, almost any racing boat skipper would love to have crew who just show up regularly to race and/or practice. A skipper will be glad to take you along and teach you the skills that he needs if he can just rely on you. One big advantage you have is you're a women. Most boats are owned by men, they would love to take you sailing just so they didn't have to put with another male's ego.

It's not to say that racing is fun, that is unless you consider spending three hours hunched over, cranking a winch, an enjoyable experience. Back in my racing crew days, often didn't see anything beyond the set of the genoa and a winch handle for an entire race. Racing is intense and the pressure is on to win. The learning curve is vertical and they'll expect you to pick up quickly on what's going on. If you can work under pressure and pay attention, you'll be an old hand in relatively short order, however. The experience learned in optimum sail control, sailing tactics with current and wind, setting up the boat, etc. are invaluable lessons that could take you years to learn on your own.

Of course there are skippers and then there are Bligh wannabe's. May take you a number of tries to latch onto a boat with a crew that you'll want to stay with. Don't be put off by a skipper and crew that are intense, however. Those are often the people who are extremely knowledgable and who you'll learn from the fastest. The beauty of sailing is there are thousands of ways to accomplish the same task. Take every opportunity to learn from as many different sources as possible.

The PNW is a great place to sail and it's a year around sport if you are hardy enough to tolerate sailing in cold rain and perpetual twilight.

Aloha
Peter O.
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Old 18-11-2008, 13:18   #12
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Originally Posted by jrd22 View Post
Hi, welcome to Sailnet. There are lot's of sailing schools in the Seattle area, I think one is called Windworks. There is also a very active racing community and informal racing on Lake Union (called Duck Dodge). Pick up a 48 North magazine at any marine store and you will have all the contacts. I'm sure some of the Seattle Sailnetters will have better advice here as well.

John
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Old 18-11-2008, 14:12   #13
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Sailnet?

Google ?
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Old 18-11-2008, 16:43   #14
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Google ?
Isn't Sailnet another site completely?
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Old 19-11-2008, 03:00   #15
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Yes, sailnet.com is a totally different site.
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