Re: Intermediate sailing class or dinghy class?
I've learned a ton by owning my own boats, but a lot of that has been on how to maintain and repair boats, not only on how to sail them.
The two best sailors that I know have never owned a boat. I aspire to be as good of a sailor as them one day. They also have a lot less money invested in the sport by renting instead of owning. Both have been sailing instructors and have tons of access to smaller boats through that. I love introducing friends to sailing and hope to teach beginning sailing soon.
I took a single class and have been a mix of self taught and taught by inviting more experienced crew to sail with me. This has worked well (and I'm lucky to have many good sailors who are friends), but I think I could have benefited from instruction as well (especially with handling large inboard-driven keelboats in tight quarters).
At a minimum I'd suggest that your classes should cover enough sailing that you can understand how to safely handle the boat in a variety of wind conditions, do man overboard rescues in a few different ways, steer the boat with the sails (doing that helps you understand how to balance the sails), hove-to in rough conditions, and dock under sail (in addition to docking under power). Classes will help you get experienced in a variety of sailboats, which will make you a more informed buyer when you do get your own. I know that I found it difficult to understand the differences in how 20', 22', 25', and 30' boats would feel and sail in a different sea conditions without personal experience.
boats that I sail on regularly: Pearson 28-2, Rondar 505, Yankee 30, Blanchard Junior
Last edited by Alex W; 04-08-2013 at 02:03 PM.