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post #11 of 14 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: New to Sailing

Welcome. I'll echo the earlier comment about jumping in with both feet. If you can't find good classes near you, a small boat (14-22') is a great option. The smaller boats (14-18') are very light weight and can be towed by many different types of vehicles (my Toyota Solara is technically rated to be able to tow my 15' Albacore). If you have the means to afford it, buying one and keeping it rigged at the lake/river/bay is a great option, but if not these smaller boats can be set up in 20-40 minutes, and tear-down takes about as long. The bigger small boats (18-22) are a bit heavier and harder to trailer, their set-up/tear down takes a bit longer, and they more frequently require 2 people (though there are ways of doing it solo). The beauty of a light boat is that it doesn't have a lot of inertia, which makes it easier to get it to stop by hand as you execute a controlled "crash" into the dock. The down side of a light boat is that they don't have a lot of inertia, so when you're out on the water, things happen faster. Gusts of wind that might barely register on a 25' might cause you to jump to action on a 14' to keep from excessive heeling. That being said, if you can master small boat sailing, you'll be well on your way toward learning how a big boat sails.

The biggest advantage, though, of owning your own boat is that YOU control when you get out, the conditions under which it happens, and most importantly, YOU get to do all the hands-on learning. As others have said, the basics of sailing isn't rocket science. Sure, as you get more advanced you start looking at the "shape" of the sails, how air flows over them, etc., how the hull design impacts your desired sailing performance, etc., but for now, buy a cheap boat and get on with it! If you hate it, sell/give away the boat. If you love it, you'll be starting a great adventure.

- Jim
Home: Western Philly 'burbs
1980 Allmand 31
1975 Albacore 15

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post #12 of 14 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: New to Sailing

Not looking to hijack the thread, but Jimbo can you PM me?

I just bought a Allmand 35 and see you have a 31. I just joined the board and can't send PMs yet.

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post #13 of 14 Old 06-07-2013
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Re: New to Sailing

Don't overlook the FREE instruction you can get on YouTube. Some of the sailing videos are not worth the time, but some are fantastic. Look for the videos by ppconsultant - very clear explanations!
Also, I tell people that learning to sail is like learning to drive a stick shift - it looks harder than it is, and when you're just beginning to learn you wonder how people can do it while they're having conversations, but if you just try, at first you have to focus on it and then before you know it, it'll be second nature, like tying your shoes. So, have fun, and enjoy the process!
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post #14 of 14 Old 06-11-2013
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Re: New to Sailing

Welcome. If you think that it's some thing that you want to do, just do it. I did the whole ASA school thing and I'm glad that I did. But at the same time I have learned a whole lot more by just doing it and learning from mistakes. Navigation is really easy. It shouldn't take more than a couple of days to get a good grasp on it. You can also start learning now, without the boat. Get Chart #1 (The book is called "Chart #1". I think that you can even download it for free) and the Annapolis Book of Seamanship. Those are 2 books that every sailor should own.
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