seeking private instructor in ME - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-30-2006 Thread Starter
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seeking private instructor in ME

My wife and I just bought our first boat (22' Westerly Nomad) and are looking for someone who can provide some private instruction. Is there anyone on the Harpswell area who can provide lessons (paid) for 2 egar sailors?

We both have some limited experience and spent 9 days in the BVI's last year sailing on a 40 ft cat.
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-03-2006
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I don't live in the area so I can't sail with you but I can throw a few pieces of advice your way.

Take a boating safety course. The USPS (US Power Squadron) offers these for the cost of materials. Check around and you'll probably find a class offered through a municipality near you. Been a few years since I took this course but it'll probably only cost about 30 dollars for each person. Get the wife and take the class together so she can handle things if your incapacitated for any reason. Don't worry that the course may seem to be oriented towards power boaters because it's mostly about navigation, bouys, safety and other generic boating topics.

Make sure you have confidence in your ability to start and use the motor. Easiest way to get home for a non-sailor. I always make sure guests on my boat know how to start and use the motor in case I fall overboard or am incapacitated in some way.

Know what the weather report is for your area before you go out. I always check the NOAA forecast on the marine radio before I leave the harbor. NOAA is much more accurate than "The Weather Channel" and it gives wave heights and other info specific to boaters.

Lastly, I hesitantly say, don't worry too much. If you follow the above recommendations and pick a light wind (5 - 10 knots) day, I doubt you would have any insurmountable problems. Obviously, I can't guarantee anything because there are so many factors like equipment failure or even your health that can affect things. Once you're on the water, away from hazards, you can screw up a lot and not cause any major problems. Letting go of the tiller while under sail(in light wind!!) isn't a major problem because most boats are balanced to turn into the wind. Done this many times while single handing and running below to pee.

In the end, you're the Captain and you have to decide what is appropriate(safe) for you, your crew, your passengers and your vessel. If you still want a sailing "instructor", you might just ask around at the harbor when you launch. Just look for someone who's lazily tweaking or polishing their sailboat and ask if they could spare and hour or two to help ya get your sea legs. In my experience, most sailors are happy to help someone new to sailing.

Those grand fresh-water seas of ours - Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan, - possess an ocean-like expansiveness...They contain round archipelagoes of romantic isles...they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories...they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew. --from Moby Dick
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-04-2006
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learning to sail in maine- beautiful place. my family's around MDI and it's great cruising grounds.

however, most of maine is, well, rugged. i'd reccommend staying in sheltered waters, and only good weather forecasts.

i learned to sail on cape cod, and, well, maine is just not really a place you launch a sunfish or hobie cat off the beach... i'd rather be in a stable keelboat sloop in maine's colder waters(which is a bit more to learn for the absolute novice).

more than anything, just advertise on local bulletin boards in town/village greens- ask for an experienced sailor who will take the helm of your boat (if you can find someone you trust) and show you the basics. many people are out there, knowledgeable about sailing- but don't have a boat to sail. never hurts to look/ask around the marinas...

just my 2.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-05-2006
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Maine does have several disadvantages when it comes to learning to sail. One, as onojmai has mentioned, is the colder water, another, also mentioned by onojmai, is the very rugged coastline, mainly granite and stone, with relatively sharp drop offs. A third is the frequent fog that can roll in with little warning.

Learning in Maine should be on a larger, more stable, boat, as hypothermia is a strong threat, even in the summer time.

If you're in southern Maine, it might be worth checking out some of the colleges, as they have sailing programs, and may also offer teaching. The sailing coach at one of the So. Maine colleges has a decent blog called "Stay of Execution". It might be worth contacting her and seeing if she can recommend anyone. Her blog is at
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-07-2006 Thread Starter
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Thanks for your comments, very good advice that we will certainly take into consideration. Have a great summer- Jeff
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-08-2006
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The guy you want to contact is Bob Sawyer. Bob is an ASA instructor,and he operates out of Dolphin Marine in Harpswell. He does his instruction on an Island Packet 27,which makes it interesting. My wife and I did a class with his boat last year,and our boat was moored 300 ft from his!
Enjoy's a wonderful place to sail!
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-08-2006
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Don't be too put off by the comments about cold water and the rugged environment. People do sail small boats in the coastal waters of Maine, including things like Lasers. Be prudent about your ventures, but do venture!


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post #8 of 8 Old 06-08-2006
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you migh check with Great Island Boatyard and Marina in Harpswell. Nice friendly people will be glad to help
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