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post #1 of 9 Old 04-18-2010 Thread Starter
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sailing - where to get started

Hello everyone,
Forgive me if some of my questions are redundant and covered already. New to this forum and would like to start from the top.
I live in the Lower Mainland, BC and really want to get into sailing. Ultimately I wish to own a boat, but first thing's first....I want to learn to sail.
What are my best options in this regard. From time to time I see sailing courses offered on Craigslist. Usually involves a couple of weekends or 3 days on board ship. Anything to keep my eyes out for? I've also considered some of the local sailing clubs....just learning to sail a small dinghy, but hey it's a start.

Without getting too far ahead of myself, does anyone know of any good storage lots for a trailered sailboat? Hope to find a slip for 6 months and store on land the other 6 months. I think that will be the route I go when I get to that point.

Thanks in advance for any tips. Looks like there are quite a few BCer's on this forum.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-18-2010
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To try it out, the Craigslist thing is probably a good option. Just do a day thing with a skipper who will teach you during the charter. That's what we did. Very cheap, very low level of commitment, and we learned what we needed to know to take a boat out in mellow conditions in 2 sessions.

Just go for it. You'll have a blast.


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post #3 of 9 Old 04-18-2010
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In my humble opinion, learning to sail on a dinghy is a great way to get acquainted with sailing. If you are located somewhere in Lower Mainland, BC we can assume you are either surrounded by mountains and lakes or mountains, islands and sea so you should research what places/schools/camps that offer dinghy sailing programs and are nearby. You will learn a lot more about being in control of a ship, even if it is a Sunfish or Optimist, then you would on a bigger and heavier boat at first.
Try now. Buy later.
Try some boats out that you can rent through a sailing program and figure out what size boat you want and what size boat you can reasonably afford.
Whatever you do, find a way to get on sailboat of any kind.
Good luck.

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post #4 of 9 Old 04-19-2010
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Also, there are plenty of good books on basic sailing. Study and practice.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-19-2010
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I would recommend taking a basic LEARN TO SAIL type course, like an ASA 101 course. This will give you a solid foundation to continue on. Learning to sail on dinghies at a sailing club would be a good way to continue learning. I'd also recommend getting Dave Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor, as it is the best sailing primer I've found.

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post #6 of 9 Old 04-19-2010
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Dog makes a good suggestion - the ASA courses. But, being that you are in Canada - take a look at the CYA courses. Also - the CPS is a good place to meet sailors. The National convention of the CPS (Canadian Power Squadron - Canada's safe boating club) is in Nanimo this October. Lots of good options.

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post #7 of 9 Old 04-19-2010
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Learn to sail

Lots of good suggestions, just keep in mind that learning to sail is relatively easy and handling a dingy without getting awfully wet is a great start. The really great thing is that sailing well is a skill that we all continue to learn.


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post #8 of 9 Old 04-19-2010
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I must be the first Lower Mainlander to read this, so I'll get the ball rolling.

First, you're in luck because there are plenty of resources to draw on. I'll start with a list:
  • Dinghy sailing - several other posters mentioned it, and it is a good way to get started. My wife feels that last summer's dinghy sailing course gave her the confidence to successfully complete her recent CYA Basic Cruising Course. Many of the local school districts offer dinghy courses. Just check their adult education booklets. Or you can try Rocky Point Sailing Assn in Port Moody. Just do a Google search for their web site.

  • Keel Boats - there is no shortage of good schools. Cooper Boating is the biggest, but there are other fine schools also. For a full list, you can Google the BC Marine Trades Assn, click Member Directory, then click the drop-down menu for Charters - Training. Alternatively, pick up a copy of Pacific Yachting Magazine and check their classifieds at the back of the magazine. The magazine is widely distributed, or you can go to their web site.
Hope this helps.

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post #9 of 9 Old 04-20-2010
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My suggestion would be to do the following:

-find a yacht club that offers adult sailing classes in dinghy's.

-the club will also likely have weekly racing for their members, ask your instructor to try to find you a boat that needs crew. Crew that will show up consistently can be quite hard to find, so you should be able to get on a boat. Do this even if you don't intend to "race" boats. There is no faster way to experience a variety of conditions, and get hands on experience in those conditions. (In my opinion)



This will get you out on the water a couple of times per week. You can likely continue to crew for the keel boat long after the course is finished.

There is no better way to learn than to get out on the water as often as possible.

After you get some miles in, you can take some additional courses to suit what type of sailor that you eventually want to be. Courses in cruising, navigating, etc and if all goes well transition into being a boat owner.
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