Can I learn on a 40' boat? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 42 Old 06-15-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

Yes Yes Yes


Now for some advice:

1) do not think in terms of length think displacement.

2) get the liveaboard, but also get a little dinghy to hone your sailing skills. Pick up a beat up sunfish or Naples sabot ( doubles as a tender ) on craigslist for $500.
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post #22 of 42 Old 06-16-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

When someone asks a question like this I always think of the Ottawa family who bought a 42 foot steel ketch and with no experience sailed around the world. You can read a about them here main
Herbert, the husband, spent six afternoons sailing on a 23 foot boat on the Ottawa River and Diane, the wife, spent one afternoon sailing. The first time they actually sailed "Northern Magic" was on the Atlantic out of New York city.
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post #23 of 42 Old 06-16-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

you CAN learn on ANY SIZE BOAT. is a matter of doing so. my sibs and i were taught using a 36 ft gaff rigged sloop belonging to my momma's uncle, our uncle phil. he was best teacher anyone could ever have to learn sailing, and his boat was fun to sail.
go for it and smooth sailing.


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formosa 41, cruising tropics


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post #24 of 42 Old 06-16-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

To quote from the movie Wind, "the big boats get the glory but the small boats make the sailor."

Perhaps that truism combined with the tendency to jump into big boats is why so many cruisers motor so much.

In a smaller boat things happen faster and the connection between cause and effect really helps learning. On a larger boat even normally patient people have gone on to fiddle with something else before an initial adjustment takes effect. How can one truly learn in that environment.

A boat like a J/80 is stable enough for adult learners to focus on learning instead of staying upright and small enough for rapid feedback and good learning. J/World sailing schools (and all the alternatives that use similar curricula and sized boats) pack a lot of learning into a short time.

Even if one chooses to buy a 40 right off the bat, sailing lessons on a smaller boat is a good idea. There will be a natural tendency to want to "learn on my own boat" but you will learn to sail your boat better if you learn on a smaller craft.

I relish the experience I gained on 420s in college and various 20ish foot boats before moving on to bigger and bigger boats. A good deal of my sailing ability today I trace directly back to those small boats.

Do what you want of course - we all make our own choices. Don't be surprised if the fellow in a beer can race, or who leaves port with you and gets into the next inlet a day ahead of you (and in advance of that nasty weather you had to sail through), started out in small boats.
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post #25 of 42 Old 06-17-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

Yes. You certainly can.

I had never sailed before taking delivery of my boat. I read a couple of "how to sail" books and then took her out into the bay to figure it out. I was very familiar with powerboats, however, and I learn pretty quickly, so your experience may vary.

Edit: I should add that I still learn something new almost every time I go sailing.
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post #26 of 42 Old 06-17-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

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Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
JeffH - dont forget close quarters boat handling. This is key when it comes to not providing entertainment for others at the marina...
Was that you in Annapolis Harbor who hailed me as I was sailing through the anchorage after the Island Packet turned 90 degrees across my path with anchored boats on either side of me?


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post #27 of 42 Old 06-17-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
To quote from the movie Wind, "the big boats get the glory but the small boats make the sailor."
In gusty weather, if given the choice between leaving the helm with a experienced dingy sailor or an experienced cruising boat sailor with no dingy expereince, I'd go with the dingy sailor every time.

True, many things are different. Big boats are about planning and systems, where small boats are about balance and reaction. But in my mind, when the wind really gets up, big boats act a lot like dingies in a breeze, and those reactions are best learned when mistakes are safe and cheap.

You need both.

------------

Besides which, dingies are more fun, sailed off the beach on a nice day, rather like riding a bike is way more fun than driving a Winnebago.
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post #28 of 42 Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

Yes you can, and one season later you will wounder what all the fuss was about, specially by the nay sayers.
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post #29 of 42 Old 06-19-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

As someone that's looking to get into sailing in the next 5 years, I've learned on these forums that it's best to avoid any hassel or impediments when it comes to sailing.

Working your way up from small boat to big boat can be such a PITA and a drain on your wallet. The whole buying and selling thing every 2 years sounds miserable......

My first boat will probably be in the 35-40 foot range, and definitely not any smaller than that. I dont have any problems with spending a couple thousand dollars (after I take the courses) to have someone come on board to help out with the learning curve.
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post #30 of 42 Old 06-19-2012
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

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Originally Posted by paintpollz View Post
As someone that's looking to get into sailing in the next 5 years, I've learned on these forums that it's best to avoid any hassel or impediments when it comes to sailing.

Working your way up from small boat to big boat can be such a PITA and a drain on your wallet. The whole buying and selling thing every 2 years sounds miserable......

My first boat will probably be in the 35-40 foot range, and definitely not any smaller than that. I dont have any problems with spending a couple thousand dollars (after I take the courses) to have someone come on board to help out with the learning curve.
Having taught perhaps a 100 or more people to sail in my lifetime, and having owned over a dozen boats in my life, I can assure you that the difficulty in learning to learn to sail well on a bigger boat is not about the instructor, but about the responsiveness and feel of sailing a small boat vs bigger boat. And you can buy and sell that small boat with less expense and hassle than dealing with repairing one major screw-up on a big boat.

And having been through this process with perhaps a couple hundred families and individuals, I have observed that whether they started with a big boat or a smaller boat, more often than not their first boat was not be the boat they owned 2-3 years later. The only difference between starting small vs starting large is in whether you are going through the PITA and expense of selling a big boat or selling a small boat, with the PITA-iness and expensiveness directly proportionate to the size of the boat.


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