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Old 12-12-2016, 13:07   #1
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Sailing theory online course

I am reading a basic sailing book for beginner (no sailing experience) and planning to attend some online theory courses before attending any practical courses.

Having done some search on this Training forum, it is suggested taking the theory ebooks (The Navigation Handbook, The Weather Handbook, Day Skipper Shorebased, RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Notes) on RYA website.

1. Is it necessary to do the Celestial Navigation course, although I know I can use the GPS system on the boat? Still thinking whether I should do it or not.

2. Do I need to have any qualifications to sail in Europe, USA and Caribbean on my cruising boat (I haven't had her yet and hopefully it will be soon!). I was thinking it would be better to go sailing on my own boat more often rather than attending all the expensive Day skipper courses.

Any suggestions would appreciate.
PS. I am in the UK.
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Old 12-12-2016, 15:40   #2
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Re: sailing theory online course

Having tred to read books on sail trim, etc., it was my experience that it's very hard to learn the theory before the practical knowledge is gained. Do a search on the forum about advice given to others as to whether to take a class, read a book or just sail (big boat vs small boat). Lots of pros and cons for each option.
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Old 12-12-2016, 16:37   #3
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Re: sailing theory online course

I'm guessing that a lot of the stuff will make more sense to you if you're getting a chance to try it out & practice it (on the water), while you're studying it in books, or online. This was definitely the case for me when I was learning some advanced levels of sail trim, & rig tuning.

If you're in decent health (relatively nimble), & have a passion for learning this stuff, then most racing boats would take you on. And you'll likely learn more there, & faster, then you would most other ways. Though learning the the basics, & some theory will definitely help if you choose to go this route.

Celestial is handy to know, though it's easy to forget if you don't use it. Albeit it's easier to learn the 2nd time around What you choose to study will also be influenced by how much time you have, & if much of it is spent on the water. So that if you won't be on a boat anytime soon, then you might spend part of your winter studies on celstial. Since much of it can best be learned indoors. With brief jaunts afield to try out, & practice what you're learning. The jaunts not necessarily needing to be on the water, or even near it, if you have an artificial horizon for the sextant.

I'm also wondering about (other) free sources of instruction in things nautical. Since in the US you can take courses via organizations like the Power Squadron, or sometimes even at local colleges, or sailing institutions.
You might check & see what possibilities there are at or via the RNLI. Including becoming a volunteer.
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Old 12-12-2016, 16:57   #4
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Re: sailing theory online course

From previous discussions, I would say that I am more inclined to "book learning" than probably most people here.

That said, it's hard to learn much from a theoretical course if you have absolutely zero experience - you may find yourself just reading a bunch of words you don't understand. As we were approaching certification courses not long ago I saw my wife go through that, and she had a bit of experience. If I had not been around to explain things to her the theoretical before practical would have been a complete waste of time.

I personally find that after a bit of practical experience I can read, take theoretical courses, etc., and then know what to expect and what to try when I get on a boat for the next practical level.

To make a long story short, you need to understand how you learn. Different approaches work for different folks.
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Old 13-12-2016, 09:21   #5
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Re: sailing theory online course

Sailing for Dummies, 2nd Edition
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Old 13-12-2016, 09:22   #6
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Re: sailing theory online course

Go sailing first and see if you like it! No point in boning-up on a load of theory if you find you don't actually like it. Find someone with a boat, or do an "Experience Sailing" or "Introduction to Sailing" one-two day course.
All the RYA stuff is good but Day Skipper is too advanced for a complete novice, start with the practical ones above. No qualifications are necessary to sail in the UK, (under 20 metres I think but don't quote me), other European countries are more strict.
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Old 13-12-2016, 09:47   #7
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Re: Sailing theory online course

Aden:

This is how you learn to handle a boat and trim your sails:



All the other stuff is for later!

You are in the UK. The UK is chockablock with good sailing clubs that you can join for cheap, and for that matter with racing dinghies like this Wayfarer, and the smaller Enterprise, that you can buy for cheap. The clubs have boats that you can use for free of for a small fee, and most importantly they are full of experienced people who'll be just itching to make a sailor of you.

Once you get into one of these little ships all the stuff you'll be reading will have half a chance to make sense to you. Else you might just "blind yourself with science". I know whereof I speak. I've taught hundreds of uni students to sail in Enterpises, two of which we built ourselves.

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Old 13-12-2016, 10:33   #8
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Re: Sailing theory online course

A most enjoyable and informative read, and pretty too... Jan Adkins, The Craft of Sail. https://www.amazon.com/Craft-Sail-Pr.../dp/0802772145
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Old 13-12-2016, 10:41   #9
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Re: Sailing theory online course

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aden View Post
I am reading a basic sailing book for beginner (no sailing experience) and planning to attend some online theory courses before attending any practical courses.

Having done some search on this Training forum, it is suggested taking the theory ebooks (The Navigation Handbook, The Weather Handbook, Day Skipper Shorebased, RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Notes) on RYA website.

1. Is it necessary to do the Celestial Navigation course, although I know I can use the GPS system on the boat? Still thinking whether I should do it or not.

2. Do I need to have any qualifications to sail in Europe, USA and Caribbean on my cruising boat (I haven't had her yet and hopefully it will be soon!). I was thinking it would be better to go sailing on my own boat more often rather than attending all the expensive Day skipper courses.

Any suggestions would appreciate.
PS. I am in the UK.
Where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, is sailing. Not a thing wrong with reading but get some practical experience under the tutelage of some old salt. Chat up some old guy at the dock that may just be looking for a crew for the day, his kids are to busy. You may even find a friend.
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Old 13-12-2016, 10:43   #10
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Re: Sailing theory online course

Aden, I took a few sailing lessons on little sailboats back in the early 80's when I was in the US Navy....lots of fun, got really wet. Life got in the way (war type stuff, getting married.....wait! is there a difference? J/K) and didn't get back to sailing until the late 90's. I believe in setting examples, so here is mine...and it's a bad one (i.e., THIS is NOT how to learn to sail on your own):

Owned powerboats for years, restored a couple of wooden wrecks, er, boats and got the sailing bug again. Decided to buy a small sailboat. Now, I already had all the Navigation stuff down (my job in the Navy), a few certifications from the USCG and the US Navy, even knew all the nautical terminology for everything on my....powerboat! (What? Sheets aren't just for beds....really?)

Bought some books on sailing and started reading up. Now me being a technical type, sailing pretty much looks like simple geometry, right?. So once I had memorized everything in the books I went a purchased an O'Day 21 for $2000 (Best $2000 I had invested in years!).

Well, I head up to the boat with my books to sail her the 22 miles, single handling, to where my remaining powerboat is tied up at a private dock. A bit of an effort to get her out of the marina and then I learned that wind and waves don't play by the same rules of geometry that I had read in the books. A planned 3 hour transit took the better part of 12 hours. Spent the better part of the season on that boat trying to remember how to sail (if I really every understood it in the first place). Lots of good learning experiences that I wouldn't want to repeat (broken tiller, broken rudder, a knockdown, a near broach, taking waves over the stern, not to mention electrical and mechanical problems with guests while under sail). Not the way one should learn sailing, although each of those experiences taught me something valuable that I didn't know before, either the realities of what can happen, or drove home some point that I had read in a book somewhere. For me, all good learning experiences....but I don't recommend my particular methodology for gaining sailing enlightenment.

Books are good, You Tube vids are good, but nothing beats hands on experience. Everyone learns in their own way.

For you, IMHO, Trientepieds' advice is as good as it gets when it comes to learning the basics for where you are at. Good Luck!
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Old 13-12-2016, 11:14   #11
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Re: Sailing theory online course

Have a look at this. Excellent animations and explanations. A quick way to learn I think.
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Old 13-12-2016, 11:18   #12
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Re: Sailing theory online course

As most all have said, the real thing is what does the most. Use the internet to find someplace nearby where small sailboats (maybe single sail) for two (you and an instructor) are available to rent. Save the necessary p, find an instructor (or a friend who sails), sail for a few hours or a day learning to actually use the rudder, the sails, and how to tack, come about, keep the boat upright, to get from point A to B and as importantly from B to A. You will also see the actual parts of the sail and how to use them. Surprise, as also previously suggested by others, the parts will come together and you will want to sail still more. Enjoy!
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Old 13-12-2016, 12:33   #13
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Re: Sailing theory online course

Find a local sailboat for sale, preferably a very expensive one. Tell the broker you want a sea trial. That'll be your first sailing lesson...free. BTW, don't forget to bring your GF.
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Old 13-12-2016, 12:52   #14
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pirate Re: Sailing theory online course

It would help a lot if you said where you are.. S coast, Midlands, Jordie land.. you may get some of the Brit members offering location specific advice.
They used to run RYA Theory courses in night schools a couple of hours a week from Day Skipper right up to Ocean YM.
For what you want to do you don't really need Celestial.. few use it these days.
However basic navigation from an experienced person would help you a lot as just reading about it won't always make much sense.
Day Skipper is the most basic though I'd recommend you get the Coastal Skipper ticket.. even if just Theory as it'll boost your knowledge and confidence base that bit more.
Check out your local Council for any courses they run.. they used to cover a wide range of subjects in the past and at a pretty low cost.. the teachers are RYA instructors.
Best wishes..
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Old 13-12-2016, 12:55   #15
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Re: Sailing theory online course

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aden View Post
I am reading a basic sailing book for beginner (no sailing experience) and planning to attend some online theory courses before attending any practical courses.

Having done some search on this Training forum, it is suggested taking the theory ebooks (The Navigation Handbook, The Weather Handbook, Day Skipper Shorebased, RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Notes) on RYA website.

1. Is it necessary to do the Celestial Navigation course, although I know I can use the GPS system on the boat? Still thinking whether I should do it or not.

2. Do I need to have any qualifications to sail in Europe, USA and Caribbean on my cruising boat (I haven't had her yet and hopefully it will be soon!). I was thinking it would be better to go sailing on my own boat more often rather than attending all the expensive Day skipper courses.

Any suggestions would appreciate.
PS. I am in the UK.
Hi Aden

I would strongly advise you get out on the water - practice informs theory which in turn improves practice. In addition I strongly advise you do an RYA Day Skipper course and try and find one that covers both the theory and practice. I did a one week Day Skipper course many moons ago in Dartmouth UK. It was very useful.

If you have an RYA Day Skipper Certificate you are then entitled to apply for an International Certificate of Competence (ICC), which is free if you are an RYA member. This then allows you charter yachts if you so choose and I believe some European countries insist that skippers of yachts have an ICC certificate (though how they check I don't know). An ICC doesn't make you good. That comes from experience. But having an ICC does mean that if you want to go and bareboat in a hired boat in warm waters you can be skipper and learn from your mistakes rather than having to watch someone else make them.

Oh and unless you are going to cross the Atlantic without GPS, personally I would save Celestial Navigation for later.
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