Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Southern Ontario
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I would be surprised if you had to pay anyone to learn how to sail. Nothing wrong with paid lessons of course, but if you go down to your local marina it should not be difficult to find someone who would appreciate your help (and weight on the high side) in exchange for sharing their knowledge.
If it was me I would be careful to find someone who has a calm easy going demeanour, someone has been around for a while and doesn't get into a flap when things get a bit hairy on the water (which they invariably will, sooner or later)
Racing is actually an excellent way to learn to sail. With a good skipper you will learn all of the terminology and jargon. You will learn good sail trim, rules of the 'road' some of which will apply whether or not you are racing, sail adjustments, eg cunningham, reefing, mast rake, main and jib sheet traveller car positions, flying a spinnaker, packing a spinnaker bag, and so on. Club racers are always looking for (reliable) crew. Many clubs and marinas have crew banks.