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Old 07-09-2006
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The book I recommend for newbies, and use it as required reading for new crew on my boat, is David Seidman's "The Complete Sailor"

It's relatively cheap, about $14 or so. I'd also second the suggestion for taking at least a basic learn to sail course. You'll get a lot out of a good one, as they'll go into a lot of the theory behind how a sailboat works. It will also provide you a solid foundation and give you a better sense of what questions you want to ask, and how to ask them, without sounding like a complete idiot.
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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