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Old 09-03-2004
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Location: Currently in Savannah,GA
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Best way to learn how to sail?


Most of the time, I keep my 26 footer on a lake,but have done some trips to the Bahamas, etc.with her. I''ve also sailed boats up to 45 ft.during some blue water trips.Comparing the two, I''ve seen weather conditions just as tough on the lake, as I have in open ocean.I disagree with the statement about not gaining experience on a lake. The main thing is to gain experience. If you live close to a lake and will be able to get out on it often, then do it.Getting out often on the lake rather than occasionally at the coast can do nothing but increase your skills.In most U.S. lake locations, you can buy a good used trailable 25-26 footer for around 5-10K.When you feel comfortable sailing in different conditions at the lake, haul the boat to the coast if that is an option.When you are comfortable in both scenarios, sell the boat and get what you want for your goal of offshore cruising.There is no perfect answer to your question."Different strokes, for different folks." Below are the steps I took. Hope this helps. Good luck!

(1) Purchased boat to keep at lake. (2) Took basic sailing course (3) Sailed often at the lake (4) Attended bareboat charter certification course (5) Sailed often at the lake.(6) Chartered boats as skipper in various locations (7) Sailed often at the lake (8) Hauled own boat to coast to sail offshore with (9) Sailed often at the lake (10) Obtained captain''s license (11) Sailed often at the lake.....

Do you see a common thread here? ;^)
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Old 09-04-2004
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Best way to learn how to sail?


My wife and I more-or-less did both. We took a US Sailing basic keel-boat sailing course on a lake. Then we took several ASA sailing courses on the Texas gulf. We''re inland, so we practice on a lake for sailing, but try to get to the coast for "real" experience. Strangely enough, with our limited experience, we sail more on the lake and motor more on the coast. Lake experience is OK for "sailing" but dealing with navigation, ships, tugs, barges, etc. we really need coastal experience.

As for classes, when we were on the coast last weekend we saw a young child being directed by his parents negotiating the channel. We thought, perhaps if we''d grown up doing this, perhaps we''d master sailing. Now we think we''ll be more like somebody who learned to ride a bicycle at 40 and can get around but not really all that well.

Essentially, there is so much to learn why not take several classes? We still wonder why a company, even with insurance, would let as take out their boats, but why not their boat and not out, perhaps, future boat?

Anyway, we''re working our way up to a modicium of (in)competence. Next month we join a flotilla in Greece -- bare-boat on trainer wheels we think. Classes and contacting with an indepedent captain have gotten us to the point we think at least we''re not a menace to other folks.
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