Originally Posted by jimbunyard
If I had it to do again, I'd have started with the windsurfers, for anticipation and intuition of how to respond to the wind's vagaries, as well as how to read it's subtleties, they are without equal.....
I second the above recommendation. A windsurfer has no rudder
, and can be sailed well without a daggerboard. You will learn how to control the craft with nothing but the sail and your weight. If you lose the rudder
on your keelboat, you will have little to worry about, thanks to your ability to control your boat's direction with the sails
alone. You will also learn to trim sails
so that a minimum of helm
is required, saving a lot of effort by the helmsman, and achieving maximum efficiency of sails, keel
, and rudder -- and auto-helm won't deplete the battery
as quickly. You will discover a lot of things that you would never realize sailing a typical cruiser -- for example, when you close the gap between the deck
and the foot of the sail, you can feel the board immediately take off like a rocket! This technique is used on really high performance boats like the America's Cup yachts, but the average cruiser or racer
will never experience it. True that you can learn this otherwise, but the experience of windsurfing will make it seem natural, rather than following some rules. There is nothing to say that you can't do both -- windsurf and take lessons on the keelboat. The monetary investment for a windsurfer is absolutely nothing compared to a keelboat, especially now that windsurfers are out of fashion -- displaced by kite boards. Lots of used gear
that can be had for practically nothing, advertised on iwindsurf.com.