Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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If you want to learn locally, then find a basic keel boat course. You will be able to make a sailboat sail in about 3 days. To get it to perform well and deal with emergencies will take a bit longer, but you can decide to be a fair weather sailor if you choose.
The other option is to go away to a week long course in warm weather and make a vacation of it. You will come back a fairly competent sailor for a small boat.
Whatever you do, don't try to teach yourself. It can be done, but has the highest chance of washing you out of the sport. You may also teach yourself bad habits.
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In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.