Join Date: Jun 2011
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Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?
Go for it. You sound like you have a level-head and common sense, which many boaters don't seem to have (watch them try to anchor or dock and you'll see my point). You're already aware that you have a lot to learn, and that's wise and will keep you safe. There's so much to learn in sailing anyway, we're always learning something. It sounds like what you don't know, you'll look up and get an answer to it. Rock on, then!
I know a guy who just bought a Passport 40 down here in Seattle, and Deb and Marty of threesheetsnw.com also bought a Passport 40 recently. Great boats, and if you're willing, you absolutely can learn on it. Also, good taste, those be purdy vessels.
As for docking, it seems the secret to docking is finding the right degree of slowness. I watch as a lot of boats try docking with the wind and not into it, or people come into the marina a mach 2 like it's a race. Both methods lead to common problems if not absolute destruction. I dock my 30 footer alone, and have found that it's all about finding the sweet spot of "how slow can I go and still steer?" If you're docking into the wind, the wind pushing against you will slow it down. If it's hitting your nose at an angle, you adjust for it (kind of like playing pool...), and let the wind position you just right. The more windy it is, the longer the boat is in gear before dropping it into neutral when you're entering the slip. Practice a lot on calm days. When you've nailed that, practice on breezy days. You get the idea.
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