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Old 15-07-2015, 20:30   #1
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New from Jersey - HELP!! Moving from power to sail

Hi all.

I'm new to this site, and very new to sailing. So new that my experience begins and ends with lake sailing on Sunfish as a kid. I've been on power boats a good part of my life. We currently have a Pursuit 3070 Offshore. But my wife and I have come to the conclusion that we want to be able to retire inside 8 years and sail the Caribbean.

I am hoping for some guidance on the best way to learn to sail, specifically to captain a 40-50ft catamaran. What steps would you take? Should I enroll in a sailing school? Bare charter?

Thanks in advance for the advice and look forward to making some friends who can guide me down this road to life on the water.
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Old 15-07-2015, 21:25   #2
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Re: New from Jersey - HELP!! Moving from power to sail

Hi Downshore and welcome to the forum,

Very sorry to inform you but once you have owned a power boat your brain is permanently damaged and you will never be able to learn how to sail.

Only kidding of course. A background in power boating gives you a huge head start since you have already learned many of the skills needed to operate any kind of boat, sail or power. Things like navigation, maintenance and repair of boat systems and engines (if you get a cat you'll have two engine to work on) and general seamanship.

To learn the specifics of sailing. I could take you out in an afternoon and, assuming you are reasonably intelligent, teach the basics of sailing; how to hoist and trim the sails and go upwind, downwind and tack. Then you can spend the rest of your life fine tuning those skills and expanding on them.

But back to your question, the best way to learn. That may be up to you. Some people learn best in a structured environment, others do quite well self taught but at some point, however you do it, get on a boat with someone that know the ropes and go sailing. Could be in a formal school setting, could be chartering a boat with an experienced friend or a professional captain on board.

Initially I learned most of the basics on my own, reading and studying everything I could get may hands on, interspersed with occasional cruises with experienced sailors. Of course reading all the old discussions on Cruisers Forum can't hurt.
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Old 16-07-2015, 04:35   #3
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Re: New from Jersey - HELP!! Moving from power to sail

Welcome aboard! Not much to add to SkipMac’s advice…learn and add to your experience. The “sailing“ part is the fun part. Happy cruising!
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Old 16-07-2015, 07:19   #4
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Re: New from Jersey - HELP!! Moving from power to sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Hi Downshore and welcome to the forum,

Very sorry to inform you but once you have owned a power boat your brain is permanently damaged and you will never be able to learn how to sail.

Only kidding of course. A background in power boating gives you a huge head start since you have already learned many of the skills needed to operate any kind of boat, sail or power. Things like navigation, maintenance and repair of boat systems and engines (if you get a cat you'll have two engine to work on) and general seamanship.

To learn the specifics of sailing. I could take you out in an afternoon and, assuming you are reasonably intelligent, teach the basics of sailing; how to hoist and trim the sails and go upwind, downwind and tack. Then you can spend the rest of your life fine tuning those skills and expanding on them.

But back to your question, the best way to learn. That may be up to you. Some people learn best in a structured environment, others do quite well self taught but at some point, however you do it, get on a boat with someone that know the ropes and go sailing. Could be in a formal school setting, could be chartering a boat with an experienced friend or a professional captain on board.

Initially I learned most of the basics on my own, reading and studying everything I could get may hands on, interspersed with occasional cruises with experienced sailors. Of course reading all the old discussions on Cruisers Forum can't hurt.
Thanks SkipMac. Your response is what I was hoping for. I didn't imagine it would be a huge undertaking considering my experience on power, but to your point, the mechanics of sailing, trimming, tacking, etc. is where I will need the help.

So with that understood, let me get WAYYY ahead of myself and starting getting some info on different Cat manufacturers. We would be looking for something in the 40-50ft range based on accommodations we've researched online. I know 10ft is a mile on the water, but that seems to be the fit for size and expected budget. So who would you recommend? We would certainly want a decent amount of performance so we could outrun bad weather etc, but it seems you give up on comfort when going for performance. What's the middle ground? We like the fit/finish on the Lagoons and Fountaine Pajot. I've read that the FP's are more show but don't hold up well. Is that true?

Another question... How do you stay safe from pirates? I've done research on alarm systems with noise deafening, etc., but can you carry firearms? Doesn't appear so. Why not? Are you simply at their mercy? I see for our neck of the woods that it only seems prevalent near Venezuela, which we would likely avoid as much as possible anyway.

Again. Thanks for any and all info as we put together the plan.
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