Is learning to sail hard? Tips and advice? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 25 Old 06-08-2011 Thread Starter
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Is learning to sail hard? Tips and advice?

My husband and I are new to sailing - had power boats for years and want to give sailing a go. Is sailing hard to learn and teach yourself? We dont have anyone on our lake that we know that could teach us so we wanted to teach ourseleves. We are thinking of either getting a Hunter 22 or a RL24. Is it possible for us to teach ourselves? Or does that sound crazy?! Haha. Thanks any tips and advice are much appreciated!
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post #2 of 25 Old 06-08-2011
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I read a lot and taught myself to sail many years ago. Had been out a few times on other people's sailboats, but that's about it. That said, I made a lot of dumb mistakes early on that I would have avoided if I had taken some classes. If you can take a course somewhere (make it a vacation!) that would be the way to go.

Sailing is like a lot of sports. The basics are pretty easy, but it takes a lot of time, experience, and study to get really good at it. Even after almost 40 years of owning a sailboat I am still learning new things.
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post #3 of 25 Old 06-08-2011
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Originally Posted by aimcat View Post
Is learning to sail hard? Tips and advice?
No at all. Take a few ASA lessons is much easier and then read and read everything in sailing. This will eliminate frustration and make sailing a positive experience. Good luck.


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post #4 of 25 Old 06-08-2011
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self-taught sailing

I learned to sail by reading, Invitation to Sailing, by Alan Brown. I would read, sail and experiment, and read more until I got it right. I also started on a small boat, 12', which helped tremendously when I moved up to bigger boats.

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post #5 of 25 Old 06-08-2011
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The wife and I bought an old Columbia 26 several years ago with the idea that we would learn to sail and then upgrade. We read, watch others, watched Youtube, talked to the old salts, and then took the boat out. We actually had our first outing the day after we bought the boat.

Research before you go out, but sailing, or at least learning the concepts of sail trim, seem to come naturally when you're out there.

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post #6 of 25 Old 06-08-2011
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As a former instructor, I would recommend starting on something smaller. 16' X-Class or a Flying Scott. They are very forgiving boats and it will help you understand what is happening with your weight distribution, sail handling, and steering.

Read everything you can on sailing, but I do recommend taking a few lessons. Contact your local power squadron, community rec center, etc. If you take lessons you will fall in love with sailing. If you try to teach yourself, you may end up frustrated and not wanting to pursue it.

Good luck and have fun.
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-08-2011
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If you have never sailed before, I would suggest taking some type of class before going out on your own. After that, a 22-24 ft. boat should be a fairly stable boat to start on. If you begin in calm winds and also have a small motor on board, you will be just fine.

I think the most important thing to realize is that you will make mistakes. Don't let them ruin your day, learn from them and move on. Good luck!
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post #8 of 25 Old 06-08-2011
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Learning to sail

When I was 10 my father bought me a 10' Sailfish.After he and I rigged it (took a while as neither of us had ever been on a sailboat) we put it in the water, put me in it and I went sailing. I spent a wet and wild summer learning to get that boat from point A to someplace else but did not drown and learned to love sailing. Been doing it off and on for 55 years now, stll no lessons and now own a 28 keel boat that I dearly love. Just watch the weather, do some reading and go for it. Lessons would be nice though.
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post #9 of 25 Old 06-08-2011
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It depends on your personalities. If you or one of you are easily frustrated, get lessons. Trying to teach a spouse while you are learning yourself may or may not work. The concepts are pretty simple, but are different than a power boat, sometimes a good instructor is needed to make the light go on. No matter which way you try, learn from your mistakes, but stay at it. It is a life time sport that will bring hours of enjoyment. Stay safe and definitely get a motor on anything big enough to have one. Virginia summer time weather has a habit of turning nasty quickly.
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post #10 of 25 Old 06-08-2011
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If your ever in Daytona Beach give me holler, I have a business where I teach people how to sail on the water in one day....no classroom stuff

Cap'n Tom
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