Originally Posted by d_p
I am contemplating buying a sailboat in the next couple years, but have never sailed before. I have read numerous books on the subject and have grown up around powerboats and on the water. What do you think would realistically happen if I were to buy a boat (27 feet, or in that area) and just get out on the water and tough it out? Are lessons absolutely necessary? I am not intimidated by boats or being on the water and I would be completely comfortable motoring in and out of the marina. Assuming I don't go out in any serious weather until I'm more prepared, is there really anything that can go wrong (I probably shouldn't ask that)? I would appreciate anyone taking the time to point out the flaws in my plan.
I was in the exact situation you're in now until 3 weeks ago when I purchased a 25 foot yacht, a contessa. I went out on Lake Macquarir (largest salt water lake in the southern hemishere, just north of Sydney Australia) with the original owner of the boat. I picked up on the basics fairly quickly. The first time I went out on my own I just put up the jib but I quickly progressed to both sails. Yesterday, the third time I'd been out, I had the water running over the gunnels, pretty exciting stuff! As a precaution to the worst happening I held on to the main sheet so that I could quickly pull on it to release the boom and spill the air out if I lost confidence or thought the boat was going to tip too far over. After having hands on experience I think that the theory would come to me much easier than if I had the theory first. I would encourage you to go for it but the particular boat I have is a very safe self righting boat and I'm not sure what you would choose. I hope this helps a little. Best regards.