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post #11 of 22 Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Be safe, only go out when the wind is under 10 knts until you know what you are doing. Keep the motor running so you can get out of sticky situations, and have the confidence to know you can get out of a situation if it gets sticky. Safety is the number one concern for everything you do until you understand what really is and isn't safe.

Most of all have fun, and make sure your partner is having fun too.
This is really good advice.

Remember different people learn differently. We did a weekend sailing school and that was VERY important helping my wife to feel comfortable on the boat.

As you get to know people in your marina accept invitations to sail with them. You'll learn a lot from other sailors.
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The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective." - Henry David Thoreau
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post #12 of 22 Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

I agree with buy the boat, get the book and learn yourself.

I never had to because when I was 12 Dad bought the boat... We were all keen as mustard to go sailing! But he wouldn't let us on board.
He went solo from day 1 sitting in the cockpit, next day with engine on, no sails, then main sail only... Etc etc. it would have driven me spare!

When we first were allowed on we were never allowed to cleat the genoa sheets but had to hand hold them the whole time... Bizarre stuff like that... Then dad joined a sailing club and the first Saturday races we were in with some experienced crew. .. Well all the not cleating and other BS went out the door...
Instead of being terrified in 10 knots all the boats in our division added more sail and left us for dead. Every mistake or gutlessnes, meant we were last back to the clubhouse. That made the sail handling tight!

Within a year or so I was doing the Saturday races with Dad, Friday night social races on other people boats, and Sunday racing skiffs.

All in all I think it was racing that taught most, and most quickly. Sail jobs like reefing that may take 10 minutes after 30 minutes thought are tucked in or shaken in seconds if you need to do it on every leg of a race. Putting the spinnaker up 3 or 4 times in an afternoon does the same.

These days there is lots of divisions that don't require spinnakers so you don't need to buy one.

Sailing is easy. It's just having the confidence to do it that's more difficult racing gives confidence.

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post #13 of 22 Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

You'll be fine! Lake Ontario is fairly predictable. Get some wind and weather apps for your phone and keep an eye on them when you are planning to go out.

You're at the West end of the lake, so the prevailing West winds will have little waves. Easterly winds on the other have the whole 100 miles of the lake to build up waves from. Not a big deal once you get some experience though.

Since you own the boat you are learning on, I think the best idea would be to hire an instructor to give you a few on-boat lessons. Should be some near you.

You'll need a VHF license as well.

After a while, you'll have enough confidence to do a lake crossing to Toronto. 4-5 hours under sail. And then you can enjoy the stress of docking at new to you marina
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post #14 of 22 Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

My wife and I took a 2-day course and then realized that we needed a boat to practice on or our lessons would rapidly fade. We bought a 28-ft boat and learned the rest on the job and from books. My wife likes course learning, so she took another 2-day course but found it of little value as she only got a little time at the helm. I prefer reading books and sites like this and then applying what I think I've learned. One thing we both benefitted from was having an experienced sailor go out with us on our boat a couple of times.

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post #15 of 22 Old 12-13-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

Thanks for your thoughts and reassurances. This needs to be a big decision, for ourselves and others. I have been boating (motor) for years when I was an avid fisherman, so I know how to respect the water.
Sailing is so different and more to's nice to challenge ourselves! I don't think I'll learn well in a classroom setting and have always preferred learning hands on. The present owner is going to help me learn the basics as we need to sail the boat in the spring from Oakville to Port Dalhousie.
This forum and the people are amazing, so many advantages to the past.
Thanks again!
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post #16 of 22 Old 12-13-2012
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

As easy as operating an outboard motor, only different! Even the Aussies can do it. Jump right in!

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post #17 of 22 Old 12-13-2012
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

You'll enjoy it, the basics are not difficult but there's always something new to learn. Moving a sailboat is going to engage you in a way a power boat just can't compete with.
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post #18 of 22 Old 12-13-2012
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

"enjoy the experience and learn slowly about our boat and the techniques req'"
.... this is what it is all about. Go for it! For those of us who did not grow up sailing, this is what we all end up doing. If you are reasonably intelligent, read everything you can about sailling, including on this forum, and take it slowly you can and will do this.
Chuckles and others have it right... safety is number one, make sure all crew members are having fun, start out on pleasant, sunny, light wind days and go from there.
We bought our 1980 Seafarer 30 in 2006. Total newbies. Read a lot. Took a 3 day course on our own boat, with a woman instructor, which was invaluable. She taught us basic maintenance, safety, how to anchor and dock, etc. ON OUR BOAT, just the two of us. That was the beginning.
In 2009, we sold that boat and bought our current Caliber 35 LRC... by then, we knew what we wanted in a boat, what we valued and what didn't matter to us.
We have both taken ASA courses, and done bareboat chartering in several places in the Caribbean. This adds to your knowledge base and confidence. Sailing different boats, and navigating in unknown waters are learning opportunities.
Go out and sail every chance you get. You will make mistakes and go through "scary" times, but the feeling of accomplishment when you "figure it out" is half the fun. Err on the side of being overly cautious, at least at first.
We wish you fair winds, and many wonderful days of sailing!
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post #19 of 22 Old 12-13-2012
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

Go for it... after all you have to start somewhere... The advice on max. 10 Kts of wind is good... Honestly, your biggest problem will probably docking at the end of the day. Docking will be scarier than anything, especially with a crosswind. If you can make a buddy at the marina, maybe offer him/her an invite for a sail with you to orient you to navigating the local area. All the lines and ropes can be intimidating at first but its really pretty simple. You have a lot of control of the boat by manipulating the angle of the mainsail relative to the centerline of the boat. Get a bock with lots of pictures of the assorted sail controls. Have some fun and don't listen to any negativity.
Keep a log book and document any observations or problems, It will be fun to read later on when you are an expert mariner (I myself am not !)
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post #20 of 22 Old 12-14-2012
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Re: Reassurance and your thoughts?

Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Sailing is not difficult. The Vikings could do it. Even the Americans were able to win the Americas Cup a few times.
Just get out there and give it a go and try to find the enjoyment, not the bad bits.

Off topic, I just have to say I always get a real kick out of your humor. I look forward to your posts.
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