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Old 23-05-2018, 06:18   #1
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Questions From a Novice

Hello,

I'm new. 50 years old, married a long time, kids grown, disposable income, looking for a hobby. I've lived on the FL Gulf Coast my entire life. I love the water and have sailed as the guest of others. I, however, have never owned a boat and do not know how to sail. A few questions, if I may.

1. How does one learn to sail?

2. How does one determine the right type/size boat?

3. Am I too old for this nonsense?

Thanks.
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Old 23-05-2018, 06:43   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Wave Dave View Post
Hello,

I'm new. 50 years old, married a long time, kids grown, disposable income, looking for a hobby. I've lived on the FL Gulf Coast my entire life. I love the water and have sailed as the guest of others. I, however, have never owned a boat and do not know how to sail. A few questions, if I may.

1. How does one learn to sail?

2. How does one determine the right type/size boat?

3. Am I too old for this nonsense?

Thanks.
1/ Go to school and take a little course or two..

2/ Experimentation.. if its comfortable and you can afford it.. its the right size..

3/ Well.. what was I doing 20yrs ago.. Oh yes.. on my 3rd year as a liveaboard bumming around Spain and the Ballearics..
Naah.. your young enuf..
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Old 23-05-2018, 06:48   #3
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Re: Questions From a Novice

Hi Dave and welcome to the forum.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Wave Dave View Post
I'm new. 50 years old, married a long time, kids grown, disposable income, looking for a hobby. I've lived on the FL Gulf Coast my entire life. I love the water and have sailed as the guest of others. I, however, have never owned a boat and do not know how to sail. A few questions, if I may.

1. How does one learn to sail?

Different people learn in different ways but the bottom line, go sailing. Also you should understand there's a big difference between learning to sail and learning boating. I could take any reasonably intelligent person out for an afternoon and teach them the basics; how to raise the sail, trim (adjust) the sails to go upwind or downwind, etc. You wouldn't be an expert but you could get around. BUT, then there's learning about navigation, safety, maintenance, etc, etc, etc. Someone said something like you learn the basics in a day then spend the rest of your life expanding on that knowledge.

2. How does one determine the right type/size boat?

Depends on what you want to do. Like asking how you determine the right type/size wife. It's all up to your likes and dislikes.

3. Am I too old for this nonsense?

I'm almost 69 and not ready to give it up for a long time.

Thanks.
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Old 23-05-2018, 06:49   #4
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Re: Questions From a Novice

Take a lesson or go down to the marina and ask around, sailing is pretty easy really (sailing well is a little harder). Lesson are more expensive and faster, but crewing may be more fun.

Boat size all depends on your sailing goals. I've never been on a boat less than 33' because they didn't meet my goals and I started at a 39' boat.

Of course you aren't too old, unless you think so.
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Old 23-05-2018, 07:34   #5
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Re: Questions From a Novice

Classes are good but to me the best way to learn is to get a small sailboat- dinghy.10-15ft. Ballasted boats do not respond in the same way giving you almost no feedback.
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Old 23-05-2018, 07:52   #6
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Re: Questions From a Novice

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Originally Posted by sparrowhawk1 View Post
Classes are good but to me the best way to learn is to get a small sailboat- dinghy.10-15ft. Ballasted boats do not respond in the same way giving you almost no feedback.


I think you might do this in stages. 50 is young if your fit. Lots of walking and sailing is a perfect way to get fit. Over weight is an issue as on any sized boat nimbleness is very important.
I think a small 25ft keel boat is perfect. It acts like a bigger yacht is more predictable. Sailing a dingy is for kids lot like riding a skate board. A day sailor with a small inboard would be best
This will teach you a lot of seamanship like berthing anchoring and the like. You can't just run it up on a beach.
These skills then open a new world.
Eating on board sleeping out overnight etc.
Then as your skills improve you can move up to a bigger boat. Likely you will have a better idea of what features you want.
Once you are about the water front you will buy a few beers and find lots of folk who will help you with your learning journey
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Old 23-05-2018, 08:23   #7
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Re: Questions From a Novice

I’m in my late 40’s and my husband and I signed up and took some classes through ASA (American sailing association). We’ve also been sailing through a membership group Sailtime. I don’t know if one’s in your area but there may be other options to regularly get on a boat before buying.
We have been sailing for a little over a year and are looking at buying a 32’or 34’ for cruising Chesapeake Bay. Maybe eventually elsewhere. We think we want to live aboard and figure this will give us some time and practice to make sure before moving up to possibly something bigger.
Hope you have lots of fun!!
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Old 23-05-2018, 08:44   #8
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Re: Questions From a Novice

Offer to crew for skippers. Start off with day sailing and then go for weekends and maybe longer. Watch what the skippers do (and you'll find they are all slightly different). Ask lots of questions.

Gradually you can ask to take over bits from them - or you will be asked to do that. You will learn lots from this.

Then go and do some courses. But I think a bit of on the water experience first will help make the courses much more intelligible and enjoyable.
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Old 23-05-2018, 08:47   #9
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Re: Questions From a Novice

A crewed charter somewhere warm and beautiful might be a nice way to experience life aboard, especially if your wife is on the fence. You'll spend some nights on a boat, see the beaches from the other side, and probably get some time at the helm, as well.
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Old 23-05-2018, 08:52   #10
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Re: Questions From a Novice

Welcome to the forum!
As a full time career boating instructor, I am of course keen on people seeking professional instruction. I happen to be ASA credentialed, but USSA, RYA, etc. are all good. Try meeting your instructor first to be certain he/she is truly a knowledgeable professional.
I have taught week long ASA classes all over the Caribbean, Mexico, FL and home in the PacificNW. These experiences will set you back $1400-$2400. depending on location and school.
I'm a firm believer that NO one can "learn" seamanship in a week...bit is a great way to kick start your passion.
Email me if you'd like to chat as I can help you get started mark.brown.bellingham@gmail.com
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Old 23-05-2018, 08:54   #11
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Re: Questions From a Novice

You are never too old to do something that you have a passion for. Of course, you might not have the agility you once had, but that should not stop you. It did not stop me.

I started sailing at 50. I bought a dinghy, a flying junior. This is a fun boat, but a little too tipping for my girlfriend. You really need to hike out on the rail in order to balance the boat. This is a day-sailing boat only.

We really wanted to be able to camp also so I bought a Catalina 22 on a trailer. I think this is a really great boat to learn to sail and to do all the required maintenance and other upgrades. I also joined a local Catalina sailing club. I have learned more on this boat than I could ever get out of a class. The list goes on forever - sail trim, rigging, fiberglass repair, rebedding hardware, anchoring, motor repair, and on and on. It is easy to set up and launch. I can now do it myself in less than a half an hour, but I am not racing either. We take this boat everywhere we can get a trailer into - rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Our favorite places are small mountain lakes - no crowds. Plus the costs of everything are also a lot less than larger boats.

This is not our ideal boat. It's too small for any real long-term comfort, but it is the perfect starter boat for us. Once we retire and have more time, we will get a larger boat, but for now it is a great low cost entry into sailing.
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Old 23-05-2018, 09:01   #12
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Re: Questions From a Novice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Wave Dave View Post
Hello,

I'm new. 50 years old, married a long time, kids grown, disposable income, looking for a hobby. I've lived on the FL Gulf Coast my entire life. I love the water and have sailed as the guest of others. I, however, have never owned a boat and do not know how to sail. A few questions, if I may.

1. How does one learn to sail?

2. How does one determine the right type/size boat?

3. Am I too old for this nonsense?

Thanks.
To old at 50, no way are you to old.

Type and size unanswerable. I'm afraid only you can answer that.

A friend with experience or a school.

Good Luck!

PS, Make sure it doesn't damage the," married a long time ", it wouldn't be the first time that happened.
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Old 23-05-2018, 09:07   #13
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Re: Questions From a Novice

Your biggest problem is referring to boating as "nonsense". If you have arrived at the point where you have the time and disposable income to entertain your unsatisfied desires not doing so would be "nonsense". That said, follow the previous suggestions before committing to the major expense and then revisit your desire. You will know the answer without asking here.
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Old 23-05-2018, 09:24   #14
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Re: Questions From a Novice

I learned to sail on Choctawhatchee Bay on the Gulf Coast on a Sunfish, and later sailed with my dad on his O'Day 22 and Catalina 27. Sailing a Sunfish or Laser is a good way to learn how a boat responds to the wind because you get immediate feedback, and if you capsize, it's no big deal.

ASA courses are good as you move to a "big" boat.

And no, you are not too old. I'm 58 and plan to be sailing for a long time.
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Old 23-05-2018, 09:30   #15
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Re: Questions From a Novice

Hi Dave,
First, where are you located? I am in Fairport Harbor on Lake Erie. I'll take you sailing anytime.
Second, All your questions have been answered very well by the previous responses.
Your last statement is the one I want to address. Sailing is one of the greatest things I have had the pleasure of doing in my life. It is fun, exhilarating, exciting, challenging and once in a while, maybe a little scary. A sunset on the water is unlike any other. It can, and I promise you it will be, an incredible learning experience. I started sailing in 1980. In all that time, one thing it has never been is nonsense.
Please do your self a favor. Start as soon as you can. You will never regret it.
Ken
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