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post #1 of 15 Old 09-15-2012 Thread Starter
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Beginners Question... HELP!!!

Need some help here!! I live in new mexico and would like to learn to sail... Got hooked in San Diego by sailing on the Californian and America. The problems are twofold: a lack of water and a lack of instructors. To be fair, I have found an instructor that is willing to help. So, my choices: 1. Wait til next summer (or later) and go to the coast and enroll in a sailing school ($800+); take the local guy up at $40 per hour ($$$???) OR buy one of the trailer-sailers on craigslist for around $2k. I know that they would be in fair or worse shape, but I would only want it to get my feet wet (no pun intended!) and since the few lakes that are around me, if i capsized... I could probably walk out! I have purchased the ASA Basic Sailing book and have read through it several times. Anyone got some advice???
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: Beginners Question... HELP!!!

I would say, get yourself a small dinghy and go rip it up in your local lakes! Nothing will teach you the basics of sailing better than a sailing dinghy!
If you want something a bit bigger, get yourself a larger trailerable boat, but if the lakes are as shallow as you say, be careful!

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post #3 of 15 Old 09-15-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Beginners Question... HELP!!!

Thanks for the response.... that validates what i have been reading. Is there any trick other that what is posted to look for?? I have found a '78 Chrysler Mutineer and an 85 Catilina Capri 14.2 but I am a little skeptical of Craigslist!
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: Beginners Question... HELP!!!

I agree with SchockT. Get a small boat, read the book, and get on the water. That's what I did for a year, then took an ASA course (which I also recommend). But if you're limited, get the boat and sail. But do remember, smaller boats are easier to knock down, so I would practice knockdowns and recovery in warm water with some help around first. Then do be careful of cold water.

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post #5 of 15 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: Beginners Question... HELP!!!

If you can find a trailerable Catalina 22 - buy it. Having something with even a small cabin is awesome. You can anchor out for a weekend and get the feeling of cruising while still having a small mobile boat.

Just make sure that it's a boat that is ready to sail without a lot of work. Even if you spend more to get a sail-ready boat...it is SO much more worth it than getting a "cheap" boat that needs a lot of work. Trust me...I just put $800 and 100 hours into a beach cat rehab.


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post #6 of 15 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: Beginners Question... HELP!!!

Hard to recommend a boat without knowing what you have to pull it with.

But...yeah...get yourself a good little trailer sailor, one that's easy to pull and quick to rig...and get out there to put that book knowledge to good use!

Do spend the money on a boat ready to go. I, like many others, bought a bargain fixer upper.....never again. All my future boats will be ready to go with a minimum of work needed. It's true when they say that "this boat costs $xxxx"...pay it up front, or do alot of work and pay it over time....but either way you're gonna pay.
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: Beginners Question... HELP!!!

Or, go to the lake. Talk to sailors. You're sure to run into someone who needs a crew. Let them know exactly what your experience level is (don't oversell yourself) and that you wojuld like to learn. You will probably make a friend, get a ride and start learning that afternoon. Additionally, you will get some insights into what type of boat you may want to purchase (or not purchase).
Good luck and have fun!
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-16-2012
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Re: Beginners Question... HELP!!!

Gnusailor, I live in Albuquerque and sail at Heron Lake (north) and Elephant Butte Lake (south), among other places, and have helped with boating safety classes. Send me a message about your interests and we should be able to get you together with my people. Also, my son, who lives in Arizona, volunteers with the Arizona sailing foundation as a dinghy sailing instructor (US sailing certified instructor).

The season is ending at Heron, where the marina is owned by the New Mexico sailing club and operated as a co-op, but is just re-starting at Elephant Butte Lake as the lake slowly begins to recover from a very low-water year.

What sort of sailing do you think might interest you? There's a huge range of possibilities. Pat (sailing the Desert Sea)
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-16-2012
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Re: Beginners Question... HELP!!!

I'd personally go the dinghy route. We did the same thing while living in Tucson (bought a Buccaneer 18, which is just a few feet longer than a mutineer). It also depends on the venue for dropping the boat in the water. If you need to back a trailer with a big heavy boat, you may need an extendable tongue (they do that for 3200 lb J-24's), a big hassle, in addition to stepping the rig- that gets old very fast if you are not keeping the boat where you can keep the mast stepped and ready to go. If you have access to a lake with a club that uses a hoist (and you keep your boat there), all the better. Hoisting a heavier boat takes maybe 30 minutes and you're on your way, once you're practiced at it. Buying a smaller boat like the mutineer or capri 14.2 (which is what the AZ sailing foundation uses) are great learning boats- pretty difficult to capsize and easy to put in the water from a ramp. I'd drive to those places you're interested in and look at the boats- bring the instructor with you.

By the way, rgscpat- who's your son? I took their ASA classes back in 2008. Great program!

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post #10 of 15 Old 09-16-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Beginners Question... HELP!!!

WOW!!! Thanks to all of you. Looks like I came to the right place. To answer the questions, not in order... I have a small (Ranger) 4wd with a tow pkg so i am good to several thousand pounds... I've been watching various places that sell boats on-line and am getting an idea about pricing. I live in Gallup, so the closest sailable water is Bluewater lake.. small but a good place to learn (I think). for now, i want to keep to the <20 ft range. ...rgscpat ... havent posted enough to send a pm yet. send me your enmail and we can talk...
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