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Old 26-01-2019, 01:46   #1
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Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

I am pretty much decided, but I leave some room for reconsideration.
Having some limited 40 years ago in youth skipper school decided to come back.
Now..
I plan to buy a sail boat 30-35 feet in Mexico - not agree for a dinghy to learn.
I am going to have liability insurance only. I plan invest into the purchase as much as I can easy (some kind) walk away with no tragedy if I drown her - it is life and chances always high when you are beginner.
I am not interested in getting other boats for charter and not interested to make sailing as my professional career.
Attending multiple classes in unrelated fields thought me they are waste of time - especially if the classes are "in classroom". Dumb questions, attempt to expose yourself as smart student.. you name it. I can do pretty well with theory over internet sources. Practice is the key.

It seems to me, to hire local experienced sailor makes it more cost efficient than attending even "live aboard" school. I am not talking "next slip guy". There are delivery skippers, members of local sailing club doing racing on the regular bases. There are always guys locally with good sailor reputation.. Of course, you get what you pay for. I am aware of it. 3 courses of formal sailing training sets me back for 5-6K . I am assuming for 6K I can get much more training on my own boat and on my own term. No?
Any advise, even start with a dinghy on a local lake , will be taken with appreciation and respect. Thank you.
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Old 26-01-2019, 02:20   #2
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

I learned most things in my life by myself--motorcycling, piano, horse riding, skiing, billiards, scuba diving, how to renovate a house and a VW bus, how to fly a cesna, and yup, sailing. The only reason I basically tested out of some sailing courses to get my licenses is to a) be able to charter if I wanted to; b) in the Med some countries like to see creds of at least an ICC even on private vessels; and c) insurance requirements or at least better rates. I'd say learn everything you can with books and online, and sailing with friends, and take the ICC test. Then go sailing A LOT. Put in 10 hours a day at anything--doing, learning, reading, watching, thinking about, failing and then learning some more--and you'll be good at it soon enough. Be smart, start small (not necessarily the boat, but the weather, the conditions, your humility) and you'll be fine.
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Old 26-01-2019, 02:30   #3
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

+1 to the above with emphasis on starting small in conditions that are appropriate to your skill level. Sailing is easy. All of the skills you need to keep your boat afloat and serviced and safe are the harder bit.
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Old 26-01-2019, 02:57   #4
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

Join a regular race team, we have a weekly race meetings at our club that is not very serious so teams are happy to take out new people and show them.

This forum is very helpful, ask any questions, people will help

YouTube is ok as well.

You will probably find people at your club or marina who will come out with you on your boat for a couple of hours occasionally
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Old 26-01-2019, 06:04   #5
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

If there is a small lake nearby, you can start leaning now on your own with a sunfish, laser, or Hobie Cat Catamaran.

The cost could be as low as $1,000

You can also learn by crewing on race boats, but it's a very slow way to learn and you have to be patient.

I learned by buying a Hobie 16, sailing it a couple times until I could make it go where I wanted it to then started racing immediately as Skipper. (on my own boat)
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Old 26-01-2019, 06:47   #6
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

There are Meetup groups all over the country. They are for like minded people who want to meet up for everything from knitting to sailing. It's free and you can't beat that. Just go crew on a boat.
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Old 26-01-2019, 07:55   #7
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

The way it words around here is you can:
a) take a group course for ~$1500 (my least recommended)
b) charter a boat and hire a private instructor (~$2000 + ~$300/day)
c) use your own boat and hire an instructor (~$300/day)
d) buy some books and try and do it on your own (optional instructor)

The group classes just aren't worth it to me. You just don't get your money's worth. Since we didn't have a boat and had to fly in for courses c) and d) were out so we (mostly) went with option b) for most of our training. It allowed us to learn what we wanted, focus on specific skill and have a check on things we were unsure about.

Having met a few people and some instructors now (and having a boat) I think I would lean a bit more towards d) but I really believe some things like navigation, tides and anchoring are better learned with experienced people along and a more formal education setting. Especially with all the tidal rapids etc. we have around here.
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Old 26-01-2019, 07:58   #8
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

No reason you can't get the "formal" classes and do it on your own boat. But I would do it with an instructor certified captain and get the documention at same time as you never know, you might need/want it later.
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Old 26-01-2019, 09:19   #9
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

6k? I’ll be right down!
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Old 26-01-2019, 10:00   #10
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

As an instructor for 20+ years, I favor a good sailing school. The main benefit is that the school will be certified by US Sailing or ASA, which means it has a tried and tested curriculum that covers what you need to know for safe sailing. A private instructor may have an idiosyncratic approach, focusing on what he likes while neglecting other aspects. You will also be learning with other students, which will benefit you by taking different crew positions and skippering. Finally, you will probably have different instructors as you progress through the modules, which exposes you to different styles.


A private instructor might be useful for specific functions, such as docking in a berth, med mooring or side tie. But if you are looking to improve your general sailing skills, enroll in a sailing school.

Remember, just because someone is a good sailor doesn't mean he or she is a good teacher.
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Old 26-01-2019, 10:07   #11
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

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Originally Posted by DEAN2140 View Post
The main benefit is that the school will be certified by US Sailing or ASA, which means it has a tried and tested curriculum that covers what you need to know for safe sailing. A private instructor may have an idiosyncratic approach, focusing on what he likes while neglecting other aspects.

Remember, just because someone is a good sailor doesn't mean he or she is a good teacher.

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Old 26-01-2019, 10:15   #12
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

Learning to sail is best done in a dingy or on a wind surfer. If you have a local club getting out and doing some racing will also help. Most of it is learned from books and practice/experiment. That's wy the ding is good right=dry wrong=wet! cruising boats are to forgiving, when you get it wrong they just go a bit slower rather than tipping you in.
Skippering and crew management are different. Most of the good training programs like the RYA skipper program place the emphasis on safe management of the boat and crew, navigation, communications, emergency drills like fire and MOB. These are best done through an on water group course. Good fun, not super expensive and you get to work with other trainee skippers at your level. Day skipper is the one for boat handling and basic nav. Coastal skipper for boat management, port entry, night sailing etc. Yachtmaster for offshore/advanced stuff deliveries etc and entry level for professionals.

They are all practical courses and assume you can use a chart.
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Old 26-01-2019, 10:17   #13
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

I did a couple of official cruising courses early on. They were good, but by far the best and most extensive learning Iíve done is by getting out there are doing it.

Sailing is not hard. Itís a skill that never stops developing, but someone with reasonable ability and competence can learn the first 60-70-80% (you pick the number) in a very short time. The learning curve is steeply exponential after that. Itís a skill that never stops improving, but most people can learn how to effectively move a boat under sail in a very short time.

So, if budget is really that tight, Iíd just pick a nice day with a decent but small breeze (~10 knots), motor out to a spot away from all the hard stuff, set the sails and play. Sail in all directions. Change sails. Get a feel for the boat.

After a few hours youíll either know how to sail reasonably well, or youíll know you need more formal study.
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Old 26-01-2019, 10:20   #14
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

Quote:
Originally Posted by DEAN2140 View Post
As an instructor for 20+ years, I favor a good sailing school. The main benefit is that the school will be certified by US Sailing or ASA, which means it has a tried and tested curriculum that covers what you need to know for safe sailing. A private instructor may have an idiosyncratic approach, focusing on what he likes while neglecting other aspects. You will also be learning with other students, which will benefit you by taking different crew positions and skippering. Finally, you will probably have different instructors as you progress through the modules, which exposes you to different styles.


A private instructor might be useful for specific functions, such as docking in a berth, med mooring or side tie. But if you are looking to improve your general sailing skills, enroll in a sailing school.

Remember, just because someone is a good sailor doesn't mean he or she is a good teacher.
I second that, but I understand that the OP has some inner revulsion to formal training....
Anyway, my 2 cents worth of wisdom is to start by learning to sail a dinghy.
This will be worth a lot later when sailing a yacht.
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Old 26-01-2019, 11:11   #15
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Re: Formal Sailing course vs. private contract instructor

First of all, I feel very strongly about getting professional instruction, from a highly qualified instructor who has taught structured courses, and maybe made up their own courses.

Apparently being on lessons or seminars with other people is not what you wish to experience.

I cannot speak for Mexico, but I hold a U.S.C.G merchant marine officer license, 5th issue and have been teaching sailing, motor vessels safety at sea , navigation, etc for about 30 years. Add in charter and deliver skipper, and floatila leader in the south pacific , and caribbean, and california coast and channel islands.

That leaves the sometimes controversial question of private lessons on your boat.

1. You might follow thru with your idea of Private lessons by a pro on your vessel . min 3 hrs per lesson for basic and intermediate, ( sets of 3 each ) 6 hrs for advanced. Plus private seminar on Coastal Piloting and Navigation . One full weekend, or three week nights .


2. Stowing all personal gear and boat inventory. NOTHING CAN GO ADRIFT

3. Boat Systems, not just GPS ans Auto pilot and press the start button
.
* engine room, any signs of fluid leaks, check oil, trans. fluid, engine coolant,
all belts, check dip stick is snug and secure, check for leaks again after engine
has been running

4. Electronics, VHF radio procedures, fresh water pressure, check and close all
taps, shower, galley and marine head sink taps. Turn of fresh water breaker.
Visually check all Fuel and Fresh Water tanks. deck plates secure.
Top of all tanks and check that all gages read as they should.

VHF radio procedures, weather, ship to ship, emergencies, may day, pan, security. Calling and working channels. SOUND SIGNALS WHISTLE , FOG and manuevering, and distress.

5. Batteries and electrical :, Check battery water if possible, Battery Master switch, check volt meter, one, two, and both . Set battery on both for Start. ( Or engine ).


Master electrical panel check and set all breakers, Turn off those not in use..
House battery after engine shutdown.

Check all breakers and check each item itself. Wind, kt meter, VHF, wind
indicators, all navigation items, all running lights, anchor light, spreader
lights ' steaming light.

Anchor Windlass, cabin lights, cockpit light. Stove safety switch.

Stove operation, tank location and proper method to change tanks, fire fighting
and how to handle on board fires A, B, and C.

6. Check all safety equipment, Fire Extinguisher ( inspection dates , proper number,
locations and proceduress. Flare gun kit. Distress flag. M.O.B. Pole and
horsehoe, first aid kit. tool kit, bungs.

Life Jackets, condition, number of adult, child, type, easy to access location.

7. marine head operation, all valve settings for holding tank or overboard.

8. Valve settings for fresh water, and ice box drain. Emergency shut off valve for fuel

9. Knot tying, bowlines, rolling hitches, figure 8 knots, sheet bends, clove hitches,
proper cleat hitches.

10. Check ships compass with your hand bearning compass...check headings match
Also check the auto pilot heading matches up.

12. Engine Start procedures : Center wheel, gears in neutral, battery switch set,
Prop clear of obstructions, or dinghy painter. Glo plug as required, Set throttle,
start, check trans . operation. Check over the stern for coolant water flowing.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Top side: Check life lines and stanchions, and all standing and running rigging, Know the location and maybe color of each line.

Fenders and dock lines stowed .

Add in : Sail hoisting, proper tension on the luffs, foot , and leach. All, pre checks for hoisting the main sail. Know every running rigging line and what they do.

for the jib, proper placement of sheet blocks .

Then sailing, sail trim, points of sail, heading up, falling off, coming about, jibing, heaving to, getting out of irons.

Docking under sail and power.

Again , this is just the beginning if you may wish to learn to be a good and safe and skilled sailor.

There is much, much more. You choice as who you select as an instructor. Beware of the bar talk. You might ask you prospective person who says he will teach you, see if he begins with some the above .

The ocean does not love you, and it is a good plan to learn everything you can by study, on board lessons, seminars, continued reading practics and the big one, GAIN EXPERIENCE.

Who ever is going to train you, ask for a syllabus , lesson plan, of what he is going to teach you. If possible, get a pro and get his references.

All of the above and much more should be on his list that he can hand you. And, it should be structured and orderly. But, that all is if you wish to take all that into consideration .

Most people will not put in the time and effort , and that is all up to the individual.

And , one last point, even us old, really old salts, are continuing to learn, We will never know it all.

You all have the correct idea, of not listening to the mantra, ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS SAIL A DINGHY.

Good fortune, fair winds, and congrats on your new boat .

Oh, yes, and HAVE FUN !
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