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post #1 of 26 Old 12-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Best Beginners sailing grounds?

My options would be Lake Michigan or head to the Gulf or the east or West Coastlines. Your thoughts on the best place for a beginner?
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post #2 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

If you can go anywhere, consider the Chesapeake - fairly long season, lots of interesting nooks and crannies to explore, small tides, and soft bottom if you run aground. Downsides: light winds in summer, expensive.


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post #3 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

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My options would be Lake Michigan or head to the Gulf or the east or West Coastlines. Your thoughts on the best place for a beginner?
Wow, how many novice sailors get to choose their cruising waters...how lucky is that? However, if you are looking continental US, I agree with Wing'n'wing - Chesapeake looks like a winner. So Cal might be nice too , but I have never sailed there. Picking a sailing area is like a box of chocolates...
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post #4 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

Actually, the best sailing ground to learn in is the one you can get to often.

Stay home, learn to sail, then go exploring.

I see on your other thread that you are a power boater moving to sail. While your season is short where you are it's enough to learn. Save the travel time and take some courses/charter a boat locally, then start to look to distant horizons.
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

Chuck has a good point, what ever gets you on the water the most is a great place to start.
If that is Lake Michigan, Lake Michigan is a great body of water to sail on, it is wide open with very few obstructions. This I consider a good thing for learning.
However, you have to be careful of a few things; It is very congested with heavy boat traffic around the major cities such as Chicago and Milwaukee. This also can be a good thing for learning because you are constantly on the look out for other pleasure boaters along with very large commercial craft and sight seeing boats.
The other thing as you know is it can get brutally rough in the right / wrong conditions AND it changes as fast as you can say reef. Again, this is both good and bad as the learning curve is quick as well. You will quickly learn that you don't want to be out on Lake Michigan when it is blowing 30 out of the North. .
If you have access now to Lake Michigan, it is a fine place to sail, the season can be stretched to about 6 months. Other than a short season, it has a lot to offer.
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

Hmmmm??

Anywhere there's enuff water under the keel to float and space enuff to tack once or twice

Like the others have already said... go close; go often! WHile I believe I'd like to sail in the warm weather of the Keys; I'm settling for the N. Chessie 'cause it's only an hour away. Helluva commute to Florida!
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post #7 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

If money/convenience were no object, I'd have to say anywhere the other guys are suggesting that affords year-round sailing in temperate waters with a good variety of wind conditions. Otherwise, they are spot on- hook up with a local club and learn to sail in a dinghy. We just had around 35 boats (J22's, FJ's and 420's) in a first-off regatta in Charleston and yesterday people were sailing in t-shirts and shorts.. pretty hard to beat! I would suggest it all depends on what you want and how much you can afford.
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post #8 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

What about the Keys? Is that friendly water for a beginner this time of year?
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post #9 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

There is a saying; "If you can sail the Bay, you can sail ANYWHERE on earth."
San Francisco Bay has the most varied sailing conditions of any place I have ever sailed. In a half day you can sail light air to gale force winds and back, through fog or currents that can turn a 65' staysail schooner under full sail in 30 knots of wind, 180 degrees, leaving you with all sails back-winded and your spreaders in the water.
In over 50 years of sailing, I have never sailed in more challenging and varied conditions in one place.
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post #10 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

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There is a saying; "If you can sail the Bay, you can sail ANYWHERE on earth."
San Francisco Bay has the most varied sailing conditions of any place I have ever sailed. In a half day you can sail light air to gale force winds and back, through fog or currents that can turn a 65' staysail schooner under full sail in 30 knots of wind, 180 degrees, leaving you with all sails back-winded and your spreaders in the water.
In over 50 years of sailing, I have never sailed in more challenging and varied conditions in one place.
The conditions you describe are not the best for a beginner..... But yes San Francisco bay does offer alot, I was just out there this summer, but it is only a fraction of the size chesapeake. Sailing New England would be a great spot too, but the season is fairly short.
I would say pick the weather and living conditions you require and move your sailing there. Here on the Ches...it hot and humid. SF bay is cool and lots of wind but cost of living is a bit much and very populated,.......


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