+1 on crewing
for others. Way better than a class, if you ask me, particularly if you don't crew for just one person. Move around. Learn from different boats and different folks. Then get yourself an inexpensive trailer queen that doesn't need any major work, and get out on the water
every weekend, rain or shine. Try to get something that you can overnight in. An old boat can usually be sold for nearly what you paid for it, so if you don't have to fix anything major, and you aren't paying for a slip, the net expense of owning your first boat can be pretty modest. Look for something 22 to 26'. There are exceptions, thouhg... a West Wight 19 would make a nice first boat, and you and your wife can overnight on it in a pinch. Just don't try to do a week long cruise
together in a WW-19 or you will probably be ready to kill each other by the time it is over. A small boat is easier to manage and easier to learn on. After a year or three, if you are still gung ho about sailing, look for an upgrade. Sell the trailer sailer and get a small cruising boat. A Catalina
27 or a Cal
2-27 would be good as a minimum. Both are great boats for light cruising and both can be had pretty reasonable. This will be your intermediate boat. Do a few coastal cruises, maybe go see the Bahamas
, and learn what it is you want and need in your ultimate boat. Learn how to fix things when all you got is what you got and you are three days sail from anywhere. Learn how to deal with nasty weather
. Learn how to do advanced maintenance
chores and modifications, and how to do all the paperwork that comes as part and parcel of cruising. Once again, if you get a boat that doesn't require major cash to get it ready to sail and keep it that way, you shouldn't be out too much when you sell and do your hopefully final upgrade to your Oyster. By then, though, you might be not quite so set on that particular builder
. Experience might change your preferences.
The main thing is to get out on the water now, and not wait until you can do it full on with bells and whistles. Don't let it just be a dream. Do the thing for real.
Some folks would say add another preliminary stage in there, and buy a dinghy
. Nothing wrong with that, either. A good dink will teach you a lot of the elemental basics of sailing physics at the cost of an occasional capsize
and dunking. Personally I don't think it is a necessary step but you will have a lot of fun sailing around in a dinghy
and even a new one doesn't have to cost a lot. Once again, though, an older one will depreciate less.
Baby steps before running marathons. Take it in bites. Commit a little bit of time and money
early on. Make it part of your life and not just a plan. You know what a plan is? It is a list of events
that probably ain't gonna happen LOL! Get on the water now, not ten years from now. Otherwise, it might never happen.