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  #1  
Old 05-24-2009
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How to start sailing?

For those who dont know, I had a post going on in Buying a boat. I really wanted to get my hands on a dirt cheap beast and see how far it could go. Someone convinced me to get aboard as crew on other people's boats to get a feel of it and maybe find a better deal anyways. Iv since tried to find some information as to how to proceed with this, but cant seem to find much.
Has anyone ever done something similar, and if so, how did it happen?
If a lot of wealthy people happened to bite the dust recently, wouldnt that mean that a lot of roomy yachts are up for grabs and not looking for crew? With a lot of people laid off from their job does that mean a lot of experienced sailors are looking to crew on a ship? I dont know what Im talking about, but Im looking for someone who would. Thank you folks.

Last edited by t4li3sin; 05-24-2009 at 02:59 AM.
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Old 05-24-2009
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I think you have received some good advice here about crewing first before jumping into a boat of your own. Here are some of my thoughts and why I might do it a little different now.

Here is a little bit about how I got involved with sailing. I have been trying to get involved in sailing for two years now, and just now am getting ready to actually, quite possibly sail my own boat.

Baseline Experience
First I had owned two power boats when I was younger and grew up not far from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, so my experience on the water generally gave me a little head start. However, not as much as you would think since sailing is a whole different animal than pushing the throttle down and steering a course from point A to point B.

Desire
I always wanted to sail versus the "stinkpots" I had owned. I always loved how graceful and serene the sailboats seemed on the bay and wanted to experience that as well.

Relationships
Good friends are hard to beat. One day about two years ago I was invited for a sail on a friends boat and that's all it took to get me hooked. From there I just went out on his boat as many times as he needed an extra hand. At first I had no clue what I was doing except doing what I was told by the Skipper. (a patient man) He still tells me what to do, but different things now than in the beginning. He still gives me crap about my knots too.

Sailing Clubs and Associations
Anyhow - That same Skipper introduced me to a local sailing club in Annapolis not far from where I live and they provide sailing classes for a variety of levels of seamanship. I think clubs are one of the greatest ways to meet people and learn more about sailing faster than going it alone.

More Crew Needed than Humanly Available

The club also has at its disposal, a 44 foot sailing yacht for club operations and classes which always needs crew. Through this organization I have met many other sailboat owners that need crew. Also through the local marine store I have met people involved in racing that always need crew. The local Sailing News Magazines "Spinsheet" has a section just for people looking for crew and people looking to crew. I think if you wanted you could find a boat to crew each week and gain all kinds of good experience.

So my point here is that, more than I originally thought, there is a higher need for crew than one would think. I have more sailing opportunities now than I ever did before. I don't have the time to take these good people up on their sailing opportunities.

Boat ownership: Last year I started looking around for an inexpensive sailboat because I thought it would be great to have my own boat and the freedom of being able to take it out when I wanted and on my terms. I was lucky and had been pointed to a little C&C25 that had been taken care of over the years, but not without its own share of issues. As I get this boat closer to readiness I see the wisdom in sailing other people's boats.
So before running out to buy a sailboat, I would suggest getting more deck time on other people's boats. I'm glad I bought my boat, but looking back I could have really done without it at this point in my sailing experiences. It is providing my a new learning experience but a lot of those lessons have not been on the water.

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Last edited by donhaller; 05-24-2009 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 05-24-2009
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Don't know where you are located, but many owners that race their boats are always looking for crew. Check the local yacht clubs and see if they will let you post a "Crew Available" notice on the bulletin board. Also check out any local sailing schools. Not free, but the best way to start.
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Old 05-24-2009
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I'm a sailing instructor and have had this conversation with many students. Particularly the American students all want to rush out an buy something -- part of our excessive consumeristic programming in the US. You don't need to buy anything....just go sailing. The most effective way to do this is to start hanging out where there are boats and asking questions and volunteering to crew, local yacht clubs, local sailing clubs, sailing schools. Getting some initial training is also a good idea -- sign up for some introductory level sailing classes in your area (assuming this is feasible) -- not only will you learn more about sailing, but you will meet others interested in sailing and sailors from your local community. Many small sailing schools are run with a club like atmosphere and have small boats available for rental...much better idea than owning one. Great way to build experience. As you build experience and connections, the opportunities to go sailing will increase.

If you just can't surpress your boat buying fever then buy something small and simple. A sailing dinghy for example. This is the best category of boat to learn to sail on and you don't spend all your time maintaining it instead of sailing. I strongly discourage you from buying a larger vessel, even though prices are down, because you will spend as much or more time working on it than you will sailing it...also better to learn on a smaller more responsive boat. To borrow a well know quote: "Go small, go simple, go now".
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Old 05-24-2009
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Welcome to our sport! It,s been good to me, from my dad teaching me to sail when I was a kid through to nowdays introducing my kids to it I cannot speak highly enough of sailing. One of the things I love about it is that it can be done at almost any level from a summers afternoon day sail with a cold can and warm company to America's Cup/ Olympic Games/ around the world(either racing or cruising) there is something for everybody at almost any budget or age.
I would suggest your local yacht club would be a good start. They may have a crew register or a person with responsibility for co-ordinating new crew with boats. Failing this take a walk down a couple of jetties on a race day and ask the question of anybody rigging their boat. If they don't need any body they may be able to point you in the right direction. Most yachties will be happy to help. Be honest about your experience level. We all started somewhere. Bigger boats often have room for an extra person and can be a bit more glamorous but you will generally learn more on a smaller boat as you will have more chance of being involved with the sailing of the boat rather than just being human ballast sitting on the side. Give it a try, what have you got to loose?
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Old 05-25-2009
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Thank you all good folks. Now I get the idea; be a dock bum. Thats just like when I started rock climbing, but now Ill hang around sailors. Do they all like to drink alot? I still thought of getting a small boat. But Ill try to get my ass on someone else's boat first. Im not on the coast yet but will be probably within a week. Is anybody here in BC ? Is Victoria a good spot ? Im not a big fan of Vancouver, maybe Ill change my mind but, and how's Nanaimo. Iv been to the west coast of the island but didnt see many sails there. If anyone lives in these regions and can tell me about the good spots, that'd be great.
I can understand the school thing, but Im one of those who will go talk to them, say thanks and walk out when they give me a price. One guy wanted 60 $ an hour to teach me kite surfing! And his price is in the average!!! How much does he think I make!? And it's not like hes gonna work really hard, I'd be the one doing everything!
That kinda stuff just makes me climb up the wall. So I'll volunteer to be the bucket guy. Cause I read somewhere there's no better bilge bump than a scared sailor with a bucket. Now I wanna see that! Ahaha!
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Old 05-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t4li3sin View Post
Thank you all good folks. Now I get the idea; be a dock bum. Thats just like when I started rock climbing, but now Ill hang around sailors. Do they all like to drink alot? I still thought of getting a small boat. But Ill try to get my ass on someone else's boat first. Im not on the coast yet but will be probably within a week. Is anybody here in BC ? Is Victoria a good spot ? Im not a big fan of Vancouver, maybe Ill change my mind but, and how's Nanaimo. Iv been to the west coast of the island but didnt see many sails there. If anyone lives in these regions and can tell me about the good spots, that'd be great.
I can understand the school thing, but Im one of those who will go talk to them, say thanks and walk out when they give me a price. One guy wanted 60 $ an hour to teach me kite surfing! And his price is in the average!!! How much does he think I make!? And it's not like hes gonna work really hard, I'd be the one doing everything!
That kinda stuff just makes me climb up the wall. So I'll volunteer to be the bucket guy. Cause I read somewhere there's no better bilge bump than a scared sailor with a bucket. Now I wanna see that! Ahaha!
Many sailors do enjoy a cooling beverage on a warm afternoon! I would suggest being careful as the water can be a dangerous place made more so by over doing it. Do try to find a skipper/crew who will be responsible, even more important if you sail in a windy place. I'm quite partial to a cold one but not at the expence of safety.
I can't help you with places in your area. I am used to a warmer environment but be aware that it is colder on the water than on land. Also you probably have cold water temp. That can be an issue if you fall off the boat, another reason to take the drink easy at least at first.
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Old 05-29-2009
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So, in order to answer your question. YES, the majority of sailors do like to toss back a cold beverage BUT they are generally more responsible about it than the average stink potter.......
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Old 05-29-2009
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I would highly recommend you take at least a basic ASA 101 learn to sail type course. That way, you can be a bit of an asset instead of moveable ballast. I'd also recommend you pickup David Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor, which is an excellent primer for sailing novices.
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Old 05-29-2009
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I just started sailing and I LOVE it. Sailing class started in May on a PICO. Even in light wind it is a blast. I too would love to have a boat I could jump on and call my own. Feel the wind in my face and sail around the lake. This week was my last week of begining sailingand the first time with about 15 knot winds. IT WAS a BLAST!! We dumped it 3 times in the wind. (I blame my partner for his lack of helm experience ). Afterwards, I reaffirmed what I had read on this board about a "cheap" boat with all its hidden expenses, etc. etc. Although I'd like to think that a slightly larger boat would be hard to capsize, I'd shutter to think how hard it would be for a couple of guys to "right" a 22-26 footer (my ideal beginner size). Soooo I'm still hoping that a kind friend will allow me to join him... David u reading this?
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