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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

First off, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I can't believe there have been 9 posts in this thread an NOBODY has asked for PICTURES yet!!! What is with you guys?? How can you let the OP get away with that???

Now, to your specific questions. Fundamentally, I think you'be OK. You have more boating experience than I did when I bought my C25. I took the boat out 3 or 4 times with some crew (family) early on, then single-handed her out of the slip, for a sail, and back into the slip without issue. As others have said, if you can handle the little boat, you'll be OK sailing the big boat. The only real issue will be motoring, and that "just" takes practice. As is said here many times, just go slow your first few times, and don't approach the dock any faster than you are willing to hit it. Also, remember that you WILL make mistakes; don't beat yourself up too badly about them, look at them as learning experiences. We've all made them, and we will all continue to make them.

To the lessons, I agree with the suggestions above, if the PO can give you a few tutorials, then that's the ideal. You may not always agree with what he/she does, but it's a great way to learn more about the boat. The boating safety courses James mentioned are a very good idea (and a requirement in many/most states). The other courses may work for you, but you may actually find that you know more than you think you do, to the point where the courses don't always pay for themselves.

Where will you be keeping the boat? Given your proximity to the Chesapeake, you're likely to have SN'ers near you. Many here are happy to take others out for a day, and wouldn't mind going for a ride on someone else's boat, either.
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