Hello Sailnet friends
i've lurked here for a while, and tapped into your knowledge for buying a rundown Cal 25. But I feel I should share my story, to let you all know me and my story and to maybe help other like me to get into this sport.
I sailed as a kid with my dad 30 years ago, but never even thought about taking it up as an adult until last year(2008) after a vacation to Jamaica in 2007. I told the man on the beach that I had sailed before, which was pretty much BS, but all you had to do to take out a 14 foot cat with one sail. Also, I think he only wanted the dollar in my GF's pocket. It went well, as you would expect, since it takes a lot to screw that sort of ride up, but it placed a seed in my brain that has been growing ever since.
Last year spring 2008 I joined a University sailing club as a community member, which provided basic sailing lessons and the opportunity to sail for pretty much nothing (200 bucks) for a year. Sure, a year of sailing in Milwaukee isn't that long, but still, a fantastic bargain. The last event of sailing that year was a regatta where I got to crew on a Catalina 25. Not exactly a race boat, but when you are surrounded by 140 other sailboats on a beercan race, a minor interest will turn into a major obsession. WOW.
So during the winter, I probably spent 30% of my time at work scanning ebay and other websites for sailboats that I can afford, thinking that I can find one and rehab it and find a mooring and so on. For Xmas I bought myself an ASA 101/103 class in Key Largo (Reef Runner Sailing- HIGHLY RECOMMEND) for a vacation, which I needed(I do live in Milwaukee), and to gain more sailing cred. The class was awesome, most of it was on a Catalina 22 swing keel, which pretty much conquered my fears of heeling, especially since most of the wind we had was 20+ kts. I also got to drive a 41' Morgan Out Island on man overboard drills and got the feel for driving a BIG boat. Again, awesome.
So, it's summer in Milwaukee now and I'm still with the university club, since you can't beat the price, and have been more involved with the club in launching, maintaining, and just being around. Well, along with my off-season schooling, that has translated into being asked to joining the Soling team which races every Wednesday, having the confidence of the instruction chair to be a practice skipper (taking new students out for practice), and most recently, joining the crew of a Yacht Club Tartan-10 race boat for the major regattas in Milwaukee.
Brief story about that- We were out in the second of a three race regatta, leading, rounded the windward mark, and as soon as the jib filled for the upwind bash, the jib halyard snapped very loudly. WTF? Turns out when we raised the jib with the chute still up, the vet manning the middle pulled it a bit tight, and as soon as the upwind tension hit it, BAM! End of race. Lessons learned? No one ever knows everything that could happen, always check your rigging (especially when it's been in the sun for three years), and put sunscreen on your nose. Ouch. 5 hours is a lot, even in Wisconsin.
But the main point is, there's no rush to find a boat. There's no need for me to find a broken down Cal 25 to fix up. Every time I go out I learn more, and the people I meet out when I do are always happy to teach, since more people in the sport benefits all of us. We left the regatta early, because of that halyard snap, but every skipper of pretty much every boat had to came over and tell us a story about something that happened during the race or what he saw happen to us. More than a few thanked our halyard for breaking- since we had them all beat cold
I learned something from all of them, and that was one afternoon.
I'll find my boat soon, but until then, I'm gonna teach others to sail, crew on a T-10 and Soling, and learn all I can from other sailors at the post race parties over rum and beer brewed in Milwaukee. Yeah.
For the record, there should be more sailing on TV. Seriously. Someone call Speed or Vs. Have you seen the crap they have on those channels? Open 60 racing has that all beat. By a mile.