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  #1  
Old 01-07-2014
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Dreamin' a bit

I have never sailed (lets get that out of the way right now). I am 49 and recently remarried. My wife seems to be accepting of giving cruising a try. But first we need a smaller boat in which to get our feet wet. We live in West Virginia. Not exactly sailing capital of the world. We do have a few local lakes that are pretty nice. Firstly would have to be Cave Run, located in Eastern Kentucky. It's about 7,200 acres. Other nice lake is Summersville, located in Central West Virginia. My wife and I both work. So it's not as though either of us is able to take a weekend trip to the Chesapeake Bay. It's about 7 hours away from us. I'd eventually like to move up to a nice 32-35 footer to cruise in. But what would be a nice boat to learn the basics of sailing. I've always heard it's best to start off REAL small, like 15 feet. The reasoning for this is folks who start out so small have a better feel for how the wind makes the boat move, as opposed to a boat a few feet bigger. A sailing friend of mine said it'd be best to go anywhere from 18 feet to 22 feet. She said this would give us a better feel for what it's really like to be on a sailboat. We don't get much wind in WV, although with this severe cold and wind snapping through right now, it sure feels like it. I want my wife and I to enjoy the water. I'm not looking for a go fast boat. With the reading I've done, I think I prefer a sloop, unless someone can talk me out of it. I've heard the sloop is a good all purpose rig. I am going to want a keel boat when we start cruising. Would learning on a centerboard be detrimental to my ability to adapt to the keel? I guess that's all I can think of for now. I appreciate all responses. Thanks.
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Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Dreamin' a bit

Awesome that you finally pulled the trigger. I didn't start sailing until last year when I was 42...

I bought a 16 foot Topper Sport sailboat. I really only bought that particular one becuase it looked cool and I could afford it... and I didn't know jack squat about anything! I do agree that learning on a small boat has its benefits because every time I sneeze the thing moves ....ok, perhaps an exaggeration, but you get my point. I recently talked to another boat owner in my marina who has a 43 footer. I told him about teaching myself to sail in my little boat, and he said, "Mine is so much easier to sail than yours." I know he didn't mean it as an insult, but I'm not looking for the easier sail. I want it to be difficult so that when I bring my kids aboard, I feel some comfortable.

Mike
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Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Dreamin' a bit

I am pretty new to the sailing world myself but it sounds to me like you have gotten some good advice. I agree a smaller boat teaches you more quicker. and I have been told good sailors can watch someone and know whether the learned on a small boat or a large one. I applaud you for wanting to learn on something small. there are a lot of great small craft in the 20ish plus or minus range that I think would fit your requirements.a couple things to keep in mind while shopping are what are your intentions of your first boat. do you want something you can easily rig, sail off a trailor, go like a bat out of hell get home and nurse your bruises. or something you can take a weekend on (some of these can be quite a bit of fun to sail too. or something in between.

a keel boat is going to handle differently but learning on something small fast and manouverable is not going to be a problem when you transfer over.

sorry I dont have more helpfull information but I wish you the best on your journey get out there and do it
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Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Dreamin' a bit

If your wife is interested in learning to sail as well I would recommend tracking down two lasers. They are pretty ubiquitous and if you buy a reasonable used one will retain their value when you try and sell them later. The reason for buying two is they are one person boats, and will allow you and your wife to sail against each other. Even some good natured racing will greatly accelerate the learning curve.

I would also look into if there is a local yacht club, and what they sail. In a lot of lakes there will be some sort of sailing club, even on inland lakes.
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Re: Dreamin' a bit

Thanks guys. You're just reinforcing what I thought I already knew. We REALLY don't have much in the way of good sailing areas around here. I imagine I will have to start off with a boat with a centerboard. That's no big deal. The Lazers would be fun. My wife and I are a bit competitive in ways. That might not be a bad idea. I saw a neat video on youtube the other night about a couple who took their small boat up to Newfoundland. It was only about 15 feet long. It was in June. Man, talk about cold. They have, I think, a three part series. It's not like a professional job. Just really neat. So the size of the boat is limited only by the imagination, so long as its up to the requirements of the job. Check the videos out. Really nice. Thanks for the tips. I look forward to participating on this site, learning and having fun.
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Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Dreamin' a bit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
If your wife is interested in learning to sail as well I would recommend tracking down two lasers. They are pretty ubiquitous and if you buy a reasonable used one will retain their value when you try and sell them later. The reason for buying two is they are one person boats, and will allow you and your wife to sail against each other. Even some good natured racing will greatly accelerate the learning curve.
this is a fantastic Idea and I was thinking it I dont believe I didn't suggest it.

Ive got a buddy who has a laser but its over a thousand miles away I am trying to convince him to bring it up then Ill buy one and he can kick my ...
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Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Dreamin' a bit

I'd say a Catalina 22.

Plenty of boat to stay the weekend on while at the lake and enough room to invite another couple along for a day of sailing. It has the feel of a bigger boat than the small boats you are talking about. Plus, you could trailer it to the coast once or twice a year, like on vacation, and broaden your sailing horizons. A swing keel would make it easy to tow and launch...

Plus, there are tons of C22 groups out there and nearly every part is available new or used.
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Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Dreamin' a bit

We started sailing again not so long ago (I learned many years ago) in an O'day Rhodes 19. Pretty small, responsive enough, and inexpensive. It was great fun but the time and effort to launch from a trailer and rig, then repeat after sailing became a chore for me. It was a centerboard model and my wife was not a fan of the extreme heeling and feared being knocked down. So we moved up to a Catalina 27 and sailing became even more fun. Hop on the boat and a couple minutes later we are out on the lake. Plus having a cabin makes it just enjoyable sitting around at anchor or the dock.

If you aren't sure if you will like it then take the advice above on the Lasers or something similar, you really can't go too wrong and will know what you like, and don't like.
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Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Dreamin' a bit

The lake looks like a nice place! How far away is it? Are there marinas at which you can keep the boat?

Lasers should be a lot of fun, as long as you don't mind geting wet. There are other dinghy-type boats that are more stable and may make things more comfortable for your wife and you. You can't guarantee that you won't get knocked down in ANY boat, but something like a lazer is likely to get knocked down much more frequently than some others.

If you're looking to do more than just learn to sail/hone your skills, such as overnighting or weekending aboard, a bigger boat could be nice. But a bigger boat will need a slip (or at least having a slip is advantageous). Small boats are easier to break down/set up, but that does eat into your time.
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Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Dreamin' a bit

I'm with Stumble. Start with a dinghy. You will learn the rudiments much faster. You will learn even faster if you are racing your wife. The best way to learn to sail is to race.
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