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Old 11-15-2009
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Good Small Sailboat to Learn On

Greetings, all. I need a little advice here. My husband and I have owned a large (40') sailboat for about 5 years now, but because it was a mess when we got it and still is, most of our time has been spent repairing it, not sailing it. The time that we did spend sailing it, it seemed there were always disasters happening, or bad weather, and as a result, my thoughts of any future sailing are filled with fear. I have always thought, though, that if I could get a very small sailboat to learn on, that maybe I could learn the physics of sailing and get comfortable with a lot of stuff (heeling, for instance) that I'm right now uncomfortable with. Can anyone suggest a small sailboat brand or type that might not be too much money? (I'm thinking I would need a jib and a mainsheet, to simulate the larger boat??, but as small as you can get, otherwise...) Could be one or two-person. Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 11-15-2009
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Catalina 22's are inexpensive, there are a lot of them around, and they'll give you a little more of a 'big boat" feel than some smaller boats where you on the boat rather than in it. You can also sell it after a season for what you paid.

It might be a good idea to take a sailing course. Google ASA and US Sailing plus your area to find local schools. You can also look at schools such as the Offshore Sailing School that offer learn to sail vacations in warmer climates.

Best of luck,
Jim
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Old 11-15-2009
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Thanks. Yeah, I'd love to do a women's sailing school, but the money is just not feasible for me. I'm thinking $500 or less, and much smaller than 22'. More like 12'??
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Someone else on the list can recommend good sailing dinghys, they're not something I have experience with. But the sailing will be much different from your 40 footer. Is there someone you're friendly with in your local marina who could spend some time teaching you the basics?
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Not right now, not on our boat at least, it being on the hard... my idea was just that I could maybe get more comfortable and knowledgeable with the small boat in the meantime; I know I've heard that suggested before...
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Old 11-15-2009
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Q Q, I would think while having an ongoing 'project' on the hard, the last thing you need is ANOTHER boat! Why not save or use that $500.00 toward your existing projects and post 'crew available' on your's and other marina's bulletin boards and crew with other sailors. Joining a sailing club would be another option to get in some sailing and ward off those 'on the hard' blues...just a thought.
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Old 11-16-2009
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Your location would influence your options. If you are in really warm waters there are lots of sailing "boards" which will give you a very quick and efficient lesson on sail and boat handling. Sunfish and the like. The smaller the boat, the faster things happen. In other words in a Sailfish, if you get the trim just right, you will know - right then! - that it is right. On the other hand, if you make a serious mistake, you are going to get wet. Right now.
Look around for really small boats that are being raced locally. Nothing will teach you to sail well faster than being part of a racing fleet. You have a good chance of crewing for someone else if there is an active racing fleet. Just don't crew on the same boat as your husband! Sailing on Other People Money is always pleasant.
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Old 12-23-2009
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I sail in Oceanside, CA and crew on several smaller boats. I own a Catalina 28. My favorite for racing is the Catalina 16.5. We (us locals) race a fleet of them at Camp Pendleton and they are great for easy handling and learning dynamics of wind, sail trim, heeling, etc. Jib and Mainsail. 1 person or 2. Nice boats to learn on! Not sure how much they cost.
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Old 12-23-2009
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I am not sure of your area, but the sailing lessons is a good recommendation. Check in to your local universities or even community sailing clubs. There are not that expensive, you get good training and use of the club boats during your membership. My wife and I took lessons for about $200 each. In addition there was training on rigging and maintenance.
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