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Old 26-01-2009, 22:23   #1
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How do I begin

I have been a power boater for many years, and feel very confident piloting a power boat. I want to be begin to sail with eventually sailing the Pacific, but I have very little sailing knowledge. I know this endeavor will require many years of learning, experience and planning. I am not sure how to start. What size of boat would I "need", and what would be "comfortable". What is the best type of sail boat to consider? What equipment is necessary and what is nice to have? What books are good to learn from? What classes are good to take? (I know basic navigation). I know there are so many things to learn. If you could please point me in an approximate direction to begin this journey (I know there will be many minor course changes) I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less travled by,

And that has made all the difference.
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Old 26-01-2009, 22:56   #2
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It is said the best sailors started in dinghies. I would start in a club setting. I learned to sail and sailed a variety of boats first in a club, I then knew a lot more about what kind of a sailor I was and what qualities of the boat were important to me.

If you're in the Seattle area, Sail Sandpoint is one of the facilities that teaches sailing in dinghies. Dinghies are a good starting point as you get a lot of feedback as to whether you're doing it right or wrong.

Home - Sail Sand Point

(If you're a UW alumnus, the club I'm involved in teaches in dinghies also. )

Then I would try a club like Windworks, they'll teach you cruising boat techniques, and you'll get a chance to sail some different keelboats.

If you have no interest in dinghies, just start with the keelboat clubs.

Windworks Sailing Center Home

(There are other sailing schools, I just picked some that I knew of.)

All this is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a boat and discovering you didn't know what you were buying.

If you're not in the Seattle area, most of the population centers have some sort of clubs.

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Old 27-01-2009, 01:29   #3
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Hi mermaidseeker and welcoome. This is the place on the internet to find the answers to the questions you pose. Tons and tons of experience here. The topics you covered are well answered here in history and by doing some research you will generate tons of your own questions.

Near the top of the screen is a search button. The "google" powered search, searches only this site and will return useful reading.

I agree with John - you have boat skills and you need sailing skills. Take a keelboat course, get involved. See if sailing is for you. Find a club, get involved with the groups. Do some weekday racing to learn from experienceed skippers.

After that the question of which boat becomes, "How long is a piece of string." Everyone has different needs and priorities. That's why there are so many different boats.

Look at your timeline. My plan involved buying a very small cruising boat which I have done. The max time we have spent on board is 4 days. We learn about boat systems and maintenance. We learn what works and what we miss. We learn about how this boat handles and what might be better. At then end we sell it and have invested only the cost of maintenance. I know what cruising I want to do, I know how fast I was to go, I know what sea states I will see most of the time. I am pretty sure I know what "big" boat I want.

I also like to race so recently bought into a race boat. Racing is its own reward and I can say that it is making me a better sailor. I cruise and I race, both teach skills.

Good luck and happy reading!
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Old 27-01-2009, 06:28   #4
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Sailing for Dummies

I sugggest you purchase a copy of Peter and JJ Isler's book: "Sailing for Dummies" as a starter and follow that up by sail training. There is not shortage of resources in your area. See 48° Sailing Schools of The Pacific Northwest .


s/v HyLyte
"It is not so much for its beauty that the Sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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