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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 06-03-2013
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From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

After sailing dinghys (Flying Scots) for the last few years, I started a search for a cruising boat in earnest this year.

I had planned to take a cruising course while I was searching. From the stories I read here, I expected I might search all year and not buy. But instead I found what appears to be a good boat early in my search and I have put a deposit on her.

So it's highly likely I'll be a boat owner before long, and before I've had a chance to take a cruising course. I've negotiated a couple of lessons on the boat after the sale as part of the deal, which hopefully will allow me to better understand the systems on this particular boat as well as serve as an introduction to cruising.

What else can I do to prepare for the transition? I have no experience sailing under power, anchoring, docking under power, wheel steering, etc. I'm studying books, and watching a number of sailing instructional videos to prepare, and I'm hoping that all these things plus my dinghy experience and lots of practice on my own boat will substitute for a cruising course altogether, at least in the short term.

Thoughts? Any suggestions or tips for making the transition from dinghy to cruising?

E.
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Old 06-03-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

You probably can get most of what you need from doing what you are doing - reading, study, etc. There are some tricks associated with motoring, docking, anchoring, but it's not that difficult. Perhaps someone with big boat experience can go out with your on your new boat or you can go out on their boat. It's harder to sail a small boat, in general. Bigger boats are harder to maintain and dock.

If you have specific questions once you buy or want some specific type of practice, let me know and I'll help you out.
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Old 06-03-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Live it,,,do it,,,and learn it,,,and have fun. enjoy the new ride!
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Old 06-03-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Not so outrageous a plan then? That's good - those cruising courses are expensive - I'd rather throw that money at the actual boat.
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Old 06-03-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Sounds like you're doing most of the right things: reading and keeping your ears open. If the seller is offering boathandling lessons, that's great. Each boat has its own idiocyncracies, so he'll be able to fill you in on details that might otherwise turn into very expensive lessons. What are you getting? A C&C will offer different perspectives than a Catalina or a Cape Dory.
Of course, nothing beats the actual doing, to see how your new boat actually performs when you have to pick up a mooring, or come in to the fuel dock in a cross-current, or to pick up a MOB. It's like the question to the cab driver - how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!

Last edited by paulk; 06-03-2013 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 06-03-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

The boat in question is a Pearson 28-2.
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Old 06-04-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Between books, videos, forums, trial and error... you can do just fine without a cruising course. Nothing against classes, but people learned how to leave the dock and not come back the same day long before there were cruising schools.
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Old 06-04-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by emcentar View Post
...What else can I do to prepare for the transition? I have no experience sailing under power, anchoring, docking under power, wheel steering, etc...Thoughts? Any suggestions or tips for making the transition from dinghy to cruising?

E.
Yes, have you taken the free online Boating Safety course from Boat/US?

Here is the link: BoatUS Courseline

Next, have you taken all the low cost Coast Guard Auxiliary courses, starting with the Sailing Skills and Seamanship course?

Here is the link: Welcome to the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Official Web portal

Next, have you taken all the low cost U.S. Power Squadron courses?

Link here: United States Power Squadrons® Safe boating fun thru education
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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

The most intimidating thing about big boats is the systems, so getting the previous owner (PO) to help you out is a wise move. Congrats on the new boat!
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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

First off, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I can't believe there have been 9 posts in this thread an NOBODY has asked for PICTURES yet!!! What is with you guys?? How can you let the OP get away with that???

Now, to your specific questions. Fundamentally, I think you'be OK. You have more boating experience than I did when I bought my C25. I took the boat out 3 or 4 times with some crew (family) early on, then single-handed her out of the slip, for a sail, and back into the slip without issue. As others have said, if you can handle the little boat, you'll be OK sailing the big boat. The only real issue will be motoring, and that "just" takes practice. As is said here many times, just go slow your first few times, and don't approach the dock any faster than you are willing to hit it. Also, remember that you WILL make mistakes; don't beat yourself up too badly about them, look at them as learning experiences. We've all made them, and we will all continue to make them.

To the lessons, I agree with the suggestions above, if the PO can give you a few tutorials, then that's the ideal. You may not always agree with what he/she does, but it's a great way to learn more about the boat. The boating safety courses James mentioned are a very good idea (and a requirement in many/most states). The other courses may work for you, but you may actually find that you know more than you think you do, to the point where the courses don't always pay for themselves.

Where will you be keeping the boat? Given your proximity to the Chesapeake, you're likely to have SN'ers near you. Many here are happy to take others out for a day, and wouldn't mind going for a ride on someone else's boat, either.
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