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post #11 of 25 Old 04-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

Thanks BR I'll check them out and go to their open house!
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post #12 of 25 Old 04-21-2013
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

Ok, here's what I did. I wanted to sail but I did not come from a sailing family and had no access to a boat. I read a lot.

Find out the racing schedule for your area. When there is a race, big boat or one design go down to the docks and just walk up and down saying, "Anyone need crew?". Ask everyone. Someone always needs crew. I never once did not get on a boat. I did this a lot and in time if you work out they will start to ask you back for the next race and on and on. Pretty soon you will be a regular member of a racing crew.

One day the skipper will turn to you and say, "Hey Geo take the wheel while I take a leak." And then you will be at the helm and having a great time.

One day the skipper will say, "I have to get the boat up the lake for the next race. Is anyone available who can help me deliver the boat?" Then of you go on a nice overnight trip with a small crew and you can be asssurred of getting some helm time while the others drink beer.

The very best way to learn to sail is to learn how to race. Trust me. This worked for me.
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post #13 of 25 Old 04-21-2013
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

Geo,

Buy a trailer sailer in the 20 foot range and sail every chance you get. You'll make lots off mistakes, most won't be life threatening. Learn to laugh at your own buffoonery and beat the other guys to it. Most of all, have fun and sail your ascot off. Experience can't be taught in a class, it can't be acquired through time, it can only be earned through the school of hard rocks.

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post #14 of 25 Old 04-21-2013
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Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

All good advice, I might add the value of the tiller in one hand and the Mainsheet in the other, in a small dinghy such as a laser, sunfish or butterfly. You can really learn to feel in these things, as they're so responsive. Move up after sufficient time. Sail/crew as much as possible (that's what I'm doing right now)
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post #15 of 25 Old 04-21-2013
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

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Originally Posted by Geo56 View Post
The idea of joining a crew is a fascinating one that I would like to explore further. How can I find a boat that needs a crew member? I would be willing to sail to Europe or down south!
There are a number of free crew sites on which boats looking for crew and crew looking for boats can meet. Try to sound interesting and present yourself as honestly as you can, responding to boats that interest you.
When we are looking, I am drawn to interesting sounding people who have a better reason to go sailing than "I've a summer off from college..." or "My dream is to sail....". Art or philosophy students might be a bit more interesting to spend 15 days at sea with, rather than a student of business or the law. I always ask a prospect to tell me about themselves and those who's reply gives me a real insight into who they are, move way up the list. There are a lot of folks out there looking to go sailing on the web, so you have to make an impression; you obviously are not going to be hired for your experience, at least until you have some. Read all the ads you can, posted by people like yourself who have little or no experience before you put yours together. I will never even respond to mile counters (people who think the number of miles they have sailed is important), or someone who thinks they can cook at sea because they are a professional chef ashore. "I sailed on a lake a lot as a kid, but..." doesn't hold much water either IMO, if I'm looking for offshore crew.
On the other side of the coin, choose a boat carefully; you are putting your life in the hands of a complete stranger. When a match works, it can be a lifelong friendship; when it doesn't it can be pretty unpleasant for all.
If you are free to walk the docks, Newport, RI & Annapolis, Md are two places a lot of boats depart from. There are a couple of "cruiser's regattas" (check the ARC website, to name one) that sail south each fall; find out where they are staging from and go walk the docks.
If you have the will, you can find a boat and begin the adventure, good luck.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.

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post #16 of 25 Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

I am one of the "buy a boat" group.
Grab a trailerable dinghy/laser for home up north and sail the crap out of it on a local lake or puddle. Small boats are great teachers because you get wet if you make a real mistake.
If your dream is to have one to stay on down south than find a friend with some knowledge and get one, hang around and make friends at the marina down there and you are sure to find someone experienced to go out with until you are comfortable.

Life is short
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post #17 of 25 Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

Buy a Cataline 22 or similar boat for next to nothing and keep it on a trailer near the Gulf. When you come down, set her up and sail.
My club (Apalachee Bay Yacht Club) actually has a Hunter 23 for use by members and you get facilities. Other nearby clubs prob do too. You could come down, live aboard (get yourself a cheapo Wal Mart Air Conditioner) and sail. You can always find experience ppl locally who want to sail for an afternoon.
Eventually, you'd find a bigger boat you want.
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post #18 of 25 Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

I would expect it to be much more cost effective to sail where you live. Lake Ontario is a world class freshwater sailing destination. being a partner in a boat might also work for you. Many people in the area sell partnerships of their boats to off set the docking and maintance fees. The more you sail the better your going to get at it. One way to up your hours on the water is do it close to home.
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post #19 of 25 Old 04-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

Good advice, at least during the summer months. I have looked into joining one of the various sailing schools and using their boats. The appeal of Florida is the great sailing weather year round....
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post #20 of 25 Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Overwhelmed sailing novice seeks advice

A couple of suggestions. One is to co-own a boat already at a club. Our dock neighbours actually have this arrangement and it works very well for them. Their experience varies considerably but the lesser experienced have the benefit of the other folks (4 all told).

Humber is a basic course and the trick is to get out there sailing as much as possible. Good for the basics, not so much for ongoing actual experience. You can join Humber as well (fairly pricey in my mind) and you can crew as many times a week as you want. Boats vary from 24 ft to 43 ft.

You can also join most of the clubs in the GTA as a social member and then crew on race nights - great experience in all kinds of conditions. I also have been seeing advertisements for the Island yacht club (I think) that I believe have some club boats you can use? Not sure about the details and, of course, cannot find the ad now that I want to look at it!

Finally, and many may disagree, but my take is that if you can handle Lake Ontario, you can, for the most part, manage ocean conditions! Lake Ontario can be tough at times. We recently sailed the BVI's and my wife was amazed at how much easier it was than our little lake! Consistent winds and swells far apart making for a much gentler ride that 2 metre waves close together!

I am not really from Toronto


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