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Old 09-20-2011
Daniel Fillmore
 
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New sailor from Pittsburgh, PA - Need pointers!

Hey everyone. New member, first post! I am excited to say that I am going sailing for my first time this Sunday. My name is Dan and I am 26, from Pgh, PA born and raised. My girlfriend and I are going out on Lake Arthur by Moraine State Park with a doctor that we work with who has been sailing his whole life. He is taking us out just to teach us! I have been interested in sailing for some time now and was told to get out a few times with someone experienced before buying a boat and learning on my own. So that's what I'm doing! Hopefully by the Spring I will feel comfortable enough to go buy a used small cruiser and start getting out on my own and learning that way. But I would appreciate any tips or pointers for my first time, like what I should wear, bring, expect, etc.. Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-20-2011
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Welcome to Sailnet, Daniel.

Being invited on other people's boats is the least expensive way to get into sailing! You don't mention what size boat or what time of year you are going but assuming it's a comfortable size and you're going out in the next week or two, here are some tips:

Pack your own lunch, snacks, drinks, etc. and nothing that might stain the deck if spilled (i.e., no grape juice or anything like that). Bottled water is safest. Your host may provide food but don't expect it. Better to be prepared. Also, pack away your trash.

Wear shoes with non-marking soles.

Make sure that you dress for the weather that DAY, not just for the warmest hours. This time of year it gets chilly quickly and on the water even more so. Take rain gear just in case.

Listen carefully. That is especially important if an emergency crops up. He doesn't need to have to worry about you while dealing with it.

Try not to have anything else planned that day. Not only so your doctor doesn't have to feel rushed and so that you can stay out as long as you can, but because you should be prepared to be tired at the end of the sail depending on how long you're out. Also, as soon as you have a minute, you and your girlfriend should sit down and discuss the day, write down any questions or observations that you had so you can ask the next time you have a minute at work.

Best way to get invited back (and win points with the boss): follow up with a thank you note (hand written is best).

I know I've forgotten something but I'm sure others will chime in.

And...good luck and have a great time!
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Last edited by DRFerron; 09-20-2011 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 09-20-2011
Daniel Fillmore
 
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Thanks Donna! Good advice. I like the idea of a thank you note, very classy. Might even throw in a bottle of wine! I'm sure I'll have many questions to ask for the second go!
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Old 09-20-2011
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Some other things I thought of:

Ask ahead of time if you can get there early enough to help prep the boat. That way you'll be able to see what goes into getting ready to sail. Each boat is different and each owner has his/her own pre-underway checklist, but some things are universal. When you arrive ask "What can we do to help?" and let him guide you. Same thing at the end of the sail.

Even if the boat has a head, I always make use of the shore facilities before going on board other people's boats. Once on board I only use their head if I absolutely have to. That's just me. If he has one he'll instruct you how it works. If not, ask. Nothing worse than clogging a boat head. Nothing should be flushed that you didn't ingest and use as little paper as you can get away with.

You don't have to worry about tides in the lake, but it's good to be in the habit of being ON TIME. If you start boating where you need to pay attention to tides it is frustrating when guests are late.
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Old 09-20-2011
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learn the basic terminology, main sail, sheet, halyard, jib, winch, and the line goes around the winch clockwise.You can probably google this information easily......i2f
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Old 09-20-2011
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You can find a good primer on basic sailing here: All about sailing - Online Sailing Course

it has a study guide and test. covers knots, sail trim, terminology, right of way, safety. all useful stuff.

the test is useful to see what you missed.

i found it kinda fun, and it prepared me to learn on the boat so i could focus on the practical lessons of sailing.
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Old 09-20-2011
Gin Swilling Yacht Monkey
 
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if you breeze through that, there is also a cruising sailing lesson/test at US Sailing Lessons and Online Sailing School which is similar but covers more boat systems and colregs.
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Old 09-20-2011
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Sounds like it will be fun!! Let us know what you think afterwards! I've only been sailing a little, but it's addicting. A lot harder than what I thought it was going to be, but I can't wait to go again!!
Tanya
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Old 09-27-2011
Daniel Fillmore
 
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Just wanted to give you guys an update. I think I have a new addiction! Sailing was a blast! I learned a lot and can't wait to get back out. I'm even looking into joining the local sailing club to take lessons and gain use of their boats. It was a lot of work and I was dead tired afterwards, but well worth it, and rewarding. It was also more difficult than I figured. I capsized once but I was told don't worry about it, it's part of the game and that's how you learn. Thank you all again for your input.
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