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Old 18-09-2016, 14:03   #16
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

I think you have received some very good pointers so far. I would underscore that starting small is essential to understanding the dynamics of sailing. You just cannot feel things the same way on a big boat (by design). I am also an advocate of formal instruction with a very experienced teacher. Mine grew up on sailboats and did a solo Transat. What this experience did for him as a teacher was to set you up for things going wrong once you had the basics down. For instance, having the engine die in a crowded channel, letting you figure out the best course of action to bring the vessel under control, and then having you bleed the air out of the system to get going again. This was not on the ASA curriculum but, is invaluable in terms of real world knowledge. Same thing with experiencing a soft grounding, entering a crowded and shallow anchorage at night etc. The point is that none of this is exceptional and should be dealt with as a normal part of cruising knowledge and attitude in dealing with the "stuff" that happens. The last point I would make is you need to engage the significant other in your life early on in the process. Otherwise, you may be in for a great deal of frustration. Unless you are planning on going solo.

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Old 18-09-2016, 14:46   #17
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

Im doing the same thing, but i plan on going on one of the many crew sites and picking up an experienced sailor looking for an adventure to show me the ropes. Theres plenty of experienced crew out there keen to sail anywhere. ..

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Old 18-09-2016, 14:53   #18
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

And dont let the scardy cats put you off with baby steps and starting small. Some ppl think you need a driving instructor to learn to drive a car, i taught myself and still going strong 35yrs on
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Old 18-09-2016, 15:08   #19
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

I'm one of those education kind of guys. I took a Canadian Yachting Assoc course 35+ years ago, and then chartered a 25' boat for a two week cruise with my girlfriend the day after I finished the course. I'd recommend taking such a course if you're a newbie. Nothing like dealing with a couple of things going wrong on your first sail as captain to galvanize your mind and test your course knowledge - and then give you some more confidence. Once I figured out how to apply my knowledge consistently, a lot of things came much more easily. I don't think that you quit learning, and some of it comes from experience and some from reading or taking more courses. Your own learning style will determine your priorities. Happy sailing !!
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Old 18-09-2016, 15:36   #20
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

Best thing I ever did - bought a boat a long way from home and asked the existing owner to sail it back with me. My boat was 700nm from home and took 2 weeks, had a great time and learnt a lot. I paid his way and he had a last trip in his boat. win/win

+1 for

  • do a theory/practical course for safety
  • sign up to go on someone's race boat after you have a better understanding of what works and
  • join a local club
I think starting with a small boat maybe good advice to learn to sail but it might not be great financially and it isn't really in me so I bought the boat I thought I'd end up with. I'm pretty sure I would loose the energy if I did this in stages. The boat seems really big in the marina but outside the marina size isn't a factor.
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Old 18-09-2016, 16:58   #21
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

I think starting with a small boat maybe good advice to learn to sail but it might not be great financially
This sentiment is frequently voiced here on CF, but IMO it is invalid. If one buys an elderly daysailor/dinghy that is reasonably well maintained, uses it for a year or two w hilst continuing the simple maintenance required on such vessels, then it is quite reasonable to expect to sell it for much the same price as paid originally.

It is not at all like buying a cruising yacht... no survey, no engine oil analysis, no haulout, no bottom paint, no batteries to replace, no marina berth and so on. It lives on a trailer in your own space, usually no additional insurance required, the depreciation curve has bottomed out and the total sums involved are in the three or low four figure region.

In my case, I bought an O'Day Osprey (15 foot little sister of the Day Sailor) for 1200 USD, on a trailer. Other than greasing the trailer bearings, I did bugger all to the boat beyond rinsing the salt off for about 18 months. I then sold it in one weekend for... 1200 USD. Meanwhile I'd learned one hell of a lot about how to (and how not to) sail. About the cheapest entertainment I'd ever had!

I think similar experiences await any interested beginner.

Jim and Ann
s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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Old 18-09-2016, 17:12   #22
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

Start with the attitude that you will Never Stop Learning.

Trust your instincts and realize that whether your journey begins with a giant step or a faltering stumble....
.....its all good!
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Old 18-09-2016, 17:34   #23
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

My Dad (WWII, Navy) built a Popular Mechanic 13ft "sailfish".20 years later a 6 meter G-Cat (very fast) Last year I took the plunge with a 25 Laguna (swing keel) "trailer sailor" I was amazed at how much I never knew. And probably how much I still have to learn. I can't get enough. Its worse than being hooked on coke cola.
Don't talk about it do it!!

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Old 18-09-2016, 21:01   #24
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

I can still remember my first day in an El Toro. By the afternoon I wanted to race everyone around the pond. I was 16 and hooked. Being young and foolish, the idea of being farther out on the sea didn't phase me at all. To answer your question: It depends on the kind of learner you are. Some do very well with books, some don't.
Plenty of good replies here.
There are two things here though. Will you love sailing and will you love being on the sea for a week or two at a stretch?
Learn on a FUN small boat. We often mention Lasers because they are fun and easy and the response to actions, the education, is immediate. Now many people learn to sail and love it and don't take it farther than that.
Some want to cross oceans, buy a big boat and go. I know of someone who did that. He got out a ways, got sea-sick and decided it wasn't for him. He came back and sold the boat... at a loss, pretty big one I heard. A friend of mine bought a little boat, packed it up for Hawaii and asked me to go. 2 days later he was still so sick he decided it really wasn't for him. We came home. He continued to live aboard for years though.
Once you discover you love sailing and look forward to any chance to get back out there, then start bugging people to let you crew on bigger boats, racing on Wet Wednesdays, and some coastal hops, afternoon jaunts, ask lots of annoying questions and let the thing, the passion, grow organically on its own, at your pace, in your way, before you make the leap to bigger boat ownership. Take the classes too so you can charter bigger boats as you progress. IMO.
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Old 19-09-2016, 00:12   #25
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

Yes, read Chapman and Annapolis Book of Seamanship.
Learn dinghy sailing.
Crew in races and sign on with an experienced crew for some major passages.
Lots of other good books as well.
Mainly study and putting in the time.
Been doing this for 50 years and still have lots to learn.
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Old 19-09-2016, 09:14   #26
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Re: Learning to Sail Questions

There is some good information here already and as previously stated - the most important thing you can go is get out on the water! But - if you decide to try sailing lessons, check out our website and let me know if you have any questions! We specialize in helping people to live their sailing dreams!
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