Join Date: May 2002
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To clarify, ordinarily, it takes more knowledge and skill to operate a sailboat than a powerboat. Power boaters don''t have to learn about sails, or rigging, or aerodynamics, or how to reef sails, or how to choose which sails to use. But, when the conditions get rough, it takes more skill to bring a powerboat through it than it does a sailboat. The reason is because sailboats are better designed than most powerboats to survive rough conditions at sea. A really well designed and built sailboat will survive most storms if you just close it up and go below until it is over. (Although that fact should not lull you into not learning storm sailing techniques.) Power boats do not tend to themselves well in storm conditions. You have to know how to nurse them through it. In short, powerboats are better designed to go fast, and sailboats are better designed to survive.
Most good sailing schools offer basic sailing courses, as well as cruising courses, that would help you acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to go cruising.
If you are planning to cruise the coast during the days, and then shelter in a cove or bay at night, that type of cruising can be learned fairly quickly. If you are new to sailing, I suggest you take the sailing courses, and then sail locally for a few months, to gain a little experience. After that, you should be able to do the kind of cruising that you contemplate. Don''t be intimidated by the prospect of learning how to sail. It''s really not as complicated as it seems.