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Old 23-07-2010, 13:49   #1
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Very New Sailing Addict !

So, before you go laughing at my naivete, let me preface this by saying that I only want to say hello! Please do not laugh me out of the forum.

I am super green to sailing, but am completely in love. Having only recently moved to Maryland I find myself increasingly drawn to the water (duh!) and just started sailing courses. I have had friends who live aboard in the SF bay area and loved going out on the water with them.

So my ultimate goal is to buy a large boat to live aboard (and sail the world- bwaaa haa haa- oh yes, it will be mine) but for now I just need to get some experience. I was reading some posts about buying a dinghy to practice on- any recommendations? Do you think one could be hauled by my Jeep Liberty (4 wd, but limited towing capacity)?

Thanks in advance! Happy sailing!

Oh yeah- and I really aspire to be one of these on the forum who updates everyone 2 years later with a picture from her boat Girls gotta have a goal, right?
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Old 23-07-2010, 14:18   #2
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I'm a big advocate of starting by sailing dinghies. It's cheap (compared to a big boat), you develop excellent skills that will only serve to help you later, and you learn a lot about the water. Bigger boats can abstract away a lot of the finer points of sailing. Over ruddering, the effect of tides, and poorly trimmed sails can stop a dinghy dead in its tracks as where on a big cruising boat it will still plow through the water (although slower than it should, out of balance, and with increased wear on rigging). Basically, small boat sailing builds excellent habits and seamanship. Although not a dinghy, I'd qualify smaller boats like the J80 in there to some extent as well, although you still want to be on smaller stuff when possible. If you can sail a dinghy in 25 knots of wind, you'll find 35 knots on a cruising boat to be a joke.

You might want to look for some local yacht clubs or sailing clubs that let you use their boats at a discounted rate. There are some deals like that around here. For something like $1000/year, you can take out dinghies for $10/half day, and J80's for $40/half day.

You can also just go get a little dinghy of your own, like a laser or an el toro. I don't know where in MD you are, but here's a little dinghy on craigslist. That's a bit more than I'd personally spend (I picked up a rather mint condition el toro with sail rig for $350), but it's beautiful and has a trailer:

10' Oxford Dinghy w/ Trailer

You either need something small enough to throw up top and strap down, or something with a trailer. Or find a good rental situation, which can really be a good deal (you have zero headaches and can move between boats figuring out what you like).

No worries on being new. If you meet anyone who seems superbly confident about being on the water, run the other way.
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Old 23-07-2010, 15:00   #3
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I'm a big advocate of starting by sailing dinghies. It's cheap (compared to a big boat), you develop excellent skills that will only serve to help you later, and you learn a lot about the water. Bigger boats can abstract away a lot of the finer points of sailing. Over ruddering, the effect of tides, and poorly trimmed sails can stop a dinghy dead in its tracks as where on a big cruising boat it will still plow through the water (although slower than it should, out of balance, and with increased wear on rigging). Basically, small boat sailing builds excellent habits and seamanship. Although not a dinghy, I'd qualify smaller boats like the J80 in there to some extent as well, although you still want to be on smaller stuff when possible. If you can sail a dinghy in 25 knots of wind, you'll find 35 knots on a cruising boat to be a joke.
GREAT advice

we learned on smaller boats (catalina 22's - not a sunfish, but still small), and just recently went back out on one after having sailed our 36 footer for the last year. everything rebel said is right on - any mistakes are amplified and obvious when you go small.

sounds like you've got the right idea and are off to a great start.
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Old 23-07-2010, 15:07   #4
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Welcome, and here's to your dreams.

IMHO, without exception, dinghy sailors make better sailors than yacht sailors!! Their less pompous on the whole, too!! Don't buy a dinghy until you've crewed on a few, in a few clubs. Once you find a club with people you like (and people are different all over), then buy a dinghy that you can race there (probably there's one for sale that's already there) - since most dinghy clubs have class racing, so it's pointless buying one that doesn't fit in!!
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Old 24-07-2010, 13:35   #5
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Aloha and welcome aboard,
What boat is your sailing instructor using? Any chance you could find one of those cheap.
Your Jeep will pull anything up to a Catalina 22 or something similar with very few problems but I'd start on something smaller like an FJ, Laser, 420, or Sunfish. I think you'll be much happier if you start by joining a club that has races, start looking for the kind of boat that is the most popular small racer and get involved with the club. You'll find a lot of like minded people.
I think the El Toro or Sabot is a good trainer for kids but personally I can't bend that much or move around that fast anymore. I'm certain you could.
Good to have you here!
If you or your family is military then the Naval Academy at Annapolis has a great training program all the way up to open ocean racing and cruising.
kind regards,
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Old 24-07-2010, 13:42   #6
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Muy bueno advice. Unless you've moved to Frostburg, there will be a sailing club a stone's throw from home. Heck, maybe even near Frostburg!
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Old 26-07-2010, 07:15   #7
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Thanks for all of the replies- I have read some really great advice!

I really like the idea of a rental- as soon as I can find a club that I actually like.
No, Drew- not Frostburg- LOL! I am near Baltimore, but Annapolis isn't far either (where my courses are).

Thanks, guys for all of the sound advice. I think I can speak for all of us newbies that we truly appreciate it when you seasoned experts take the time to reply and offer advice! Thanks!
Anna
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Old 26-07-2010, 09:33   #8
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It's definitely a sickness.

I bought a 25 footer in November, sailed in the winter, crewed on a racing boat during Frostbite races, crewed on another boat for Wednesday night beer can races, the whole time, refining and fixing up my own boat, sailing the shizzle out of it.

Now I'm pouring money into outfitting an asymmetrical spinnaker and a new stove for the galley.

I missed the Screwpile regatta, but the Good Old Boat regatta, Governor's Cup and the race to Oxford are coming up.
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Old 26-07-2010, 15:21   #9
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Welcome Anna! I will not laugh at you, I'll cheer you on thouugh. What part of MD?
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Old 27-07-2010, 06:58   #10
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Thanks, Gadagirl. I knew the ladies would have my back!

I am near Baltimore, but I prefer sailing in Annapolis. Where are you located?
Hmm, perhaps this should be a pm.....

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Welcome Anna! I will not laugh at you, I'll cheer you on thouugh. What part of MD?
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