There are so MANY ways to get started! If you were in New Orleans
I could probably put you on a boat on any Wednesday or Sunday during the local race
season, and you would learn a lot. I am not in Puget Sound
, or I could probably do the same thing. Or take you out on my boat, though I have no real interest in racing
and don't need or want any crew.
A good attitude goes a long way. When you post a question on an online forum, you will not always get, or actually will almost NEVER get, the answer that you want. It doesn't work that way. If the answer you wanted was the right answer or the only answer then you would already know it and wouldn't be asking. If you want help, let people help in whatever manner they can. If a few jokesters poke a bit of fun or inject some awful non sequitur humor
, or even tell you that newbies are not welcome, whatever, hey this is the internet
. There are a few curmudgeons here who hate everything and everybody and look down their nose at everyone else, or argue for the sake of arguing. That's life. There are also folks here who are eager to help and share their knowledge. Sometimes these compulsive helpers are pretty smart. Sometimes, maybe not so smart. This is the internet and if you don't have (1) a thick skin, and (2) a well developed BS filter, you have no business here and I make no apologies for that remark because it is the truth.
Now, as for getting your "IN". Let me count the ways. Well, maybe not. I would be typing all day. I will name a few.
1. Cool your jets, stick around, be of good cheer and eager to learn, and maybe someone local to you will answer on the thread, and take you directly under his wing. If you keep up the bad 'tude then you will only be repelling those who stumble across this thread a week or a month from now. Not everyone reads every single
post. In fact, you would pretty much have to not have much of a life, to do so. Certainly you would never have time for sailing or the responsibilities of yacht ownership
2. Contact all your local sailing clubs and ask if you can just show up and watch what goes on, and maybe offer to crew for someone. A personal ad on Craigslist might get you some responses, too, mixed in with a bunch of spam of course. If that will put you into a sputtering red faced rage, then don't bother. Life is too short to make yourself pissed off.
3. Sailing school
. NOT a bad option. Plus if you do a prescribed curriculum you will be qualified in the eyes of most charterers to charter
4. Crewed charter
. Could be pretty pricey, especially in certain markets.
5. Read everything you can get your hands on, on sailing, racing
, pilotage and navigation
, basic seamanship and safety
, and boating
in general. You would be surprised at how much you can learn by just reading and watching youtubes.
6. Buy or build a sailing dinghy
. This is a very fundamental niche of sailing and you will learn more about the mechanics of sailing, more quickly, with a dink than in any other form of sailing. The first dunking will teach you not to do SOMETHING or another. And it is fun. Or torture, depending on your attitude. This can be a really cheap
way to get your foot in. Not as cheap
, but close.
7. Buy an aged trailer
sailer. Park it in the driveway, no marina bill. Easy maintenance
. Hitch it up to your car or truck, and launch at the local ramp
. Sail around, have fun, put to use all the stuff you read about or watched on 'tubes. Trailer
the boat and drag it home. An older boat won't depreciate much if at all, and you can resell it for at least close to what you paid for it. So, pretty cheap, yeah.
8. Buy an older boat that needs fixing up. Make sure you have a slip available for it, or that the boat is in a transferable slip already when you buy it. Lots of maintenance
costs, including the slip and utilities and meeting requirements such as insurance
, up to date safety equipment
lines, etc. But as a new owner you will learn a LOT of stuff. And now the shoe is on the other foot. You will be looking for crew to teach YOU. If you really want to jump in with both feet, give up your house and move aboard. The cost then will be negative, as it is usually cheaper to live aboard
than to keep a house, given a cheap boat. If you are patient you could probably pick something up suitable for day sails
or weekends, with a running engine
and room to stand up below and a place to crap, cook, and sleep, for well under $10k, maybe as little as $2k. Something pretty nice for local coastal cruising for maybe around $16k and of course the sky is the limit. I would stick to the low end as your first boat will probably not be your final boat no matter how carefully you shop. Again, older boats have already depreciated about as far as they can go, assuming good maintenance, and you shouldn't take a beating when you sell, if you are patient. You will of course be out a lot of expenses, but you NEVER recover expenses. Replace an engine
, and nobody cares, and won't pay extra. DON'T replace one that needs replacing, and nobody is interested in buying
at all. Ditto sails
, boom, rigging
, woodwork, electrical
, or any other equipment
or features. Bottom job. Routine hull cleaning
. Zincs. That's all on the unlucky owner. That's just how it is. And certainly nobody is impressed that you have paid a total of say $15k to keep the boat in a slip. I always laugh at the listings that catalog a long litany of recent maintenance and upgrade jobs. Nobody cares what you fixed or repaired or replaced or upgraded. Buyers expect everything to be proper as a matter of course, and only notice what has NOT been done and needs done. Anyway I digress. Just buying a boat
and jumping in with both feet can be pretty expensive, or not expensive at all, depending on whether or not you choose (or are allowed to, by your marina) to live aboard
and ditch the house.
Out of all those options, I personally think building or buying
is overall your best way to get started. Second best, BE A NICE GUY, and get yourself into a crew spot, by your own request or by invitation. If your feelings are hurt so easily as we have seen here, though, you might best forget about that option, because nobody will have you. Next best, buy a trailer queen and piddle around with that. A tie, in general, among the remainder though I personally might lean toward the aged coastal cruiser with a slip, in need of TLC, and living aboard
her. You might not be in a life situation that would allow that, but for a single
or for SOME couples, life aboard is great.