Learning to sail w/o water.... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-16-2013 Thread Starter
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Learning to sail w/o water....

Or at least not much water.

Hello, I am a new member to sailnet, and have recently started saving for my very own boat. That said, I know jack about sailing. I mean, I know the different kinds of keels, rigs, and a few other basic things anyone cane pick up reading these forums. I've also picked up the book "20 affordable sailboats to take you anywhere!" on my kindle.

That said, I am going to be staying in Sulfur, KY. And I think the biggest body of water near there is Lake Jericho. Can I learn to sail on a tiny little lake? Can anyone recommend some books to read? I'd really like to learn the parts of the boat before I go do any courses, so when someone says "check the winches!" I don't **** my head sideways at the nearest ladies backside.

I think I've gotten as far as I can just reading the forums, googling, and watching youtube videos. Opinions fly all over the place, and every boat I research, I go find one near me here in Chicago at the moment, and do a little tour. I feel in love with a Bayfield 29 here in Winthrop Harbor, did some research, found it was a good offshore boat, then read these forums where Jeff H said poop on the bayfield (im paraphrasing). So I looked into some more, did some research online. The Bristol 29.9 is sexy and seems to be great! Jeff H pooped on that too. So I am at a loss, I need some facts, reccomend me some books, some websites, anything. I am hungry for knowledge!
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Learning to sail w/o water....

A hopeless dreamer like me! That lake does look small on the map. Have you seen any other boats there? Maybe you could get a sailing dinghy or a small daysailer. You could learn a lot, and get your money back when you move up to a larger boat.

And anything on a trailer is going to extend your range of available places to sail. How about the Ohio River?

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Last edited by FirstCandC; 08-16-2013 at 08:28 AM.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Learning to sail w/o water....

First lesson: Don't listen to Jeff H.

KIDDING. He's extremely knowledgeable about boats. However, he says poop on my boat, too, and I love my boat because it's perfect for the way I sail now.

The lesson there is you need to find a boat for how YOU sail and WHERE you sail. If you are going to sail a lake for the next couple years, find a boat that suits that location. When you decide to move to a different type of sailing, sell the first boat and buy a boat for those waters.

I'm not familiar with Lake Jericho but I do know lake sailing. Sometimes there are marinas sometimes not. If not, you'll want a small boat you can trailer. Great for learning and until you know what you don't now know, just about any trailerable boat will get you onto the water and enable you to gain experience. I started out with a 22 footer that was a semi-project boat. It floated, had a full compliment of sails but needed some work. I used it to teach myself the boat systems and repair at a basic level on a boat that didn't cost enough if I ended up screwing up.

Keep looking at boats. You'll kind of never stop doing that as long as you're into sailing. It increases your knowledge and you'll formulate an idea of what you may want to be doing down the road.

Keep listening to other boaters. Everyone has something to offer even if it's what NOT to do. You'll figure out the difference at some point.

Keep reading the forums. Technology changes, people offer different ways of doing things, provide local knowledge about locations you may want to visit, help you find out what types of boats are out there doing the same thing you want to do.

When you know a little more, go back to Google, Youtube, etc. I love re-visiting books I read when I first started out because now I understand what I read. It's confidence-building.

Google local sailing clubs. Not yacht clubs. Sailing clubs or associations. Very inexpensive way to get on a boat and learn stuff. Most sailors are willing to help a new person and you'll get to crew on different boats to see how they handle. Most clubs have some kind of training whether it's on water or in the form of a talk or workshops with the membership.

As for books, personally I'm a book lover. I indiscriminately bought everything I came across about sailing even books that I knew were beyond where I was at the time. I'm catching up. Don't overlook older books that you find inexpensively in used bookstore bins because the physics of sail has not changed since the first hide was strapped to a stick. Start reading books about weather, navigation (especially how to read charts - How to Read a Nautical Chart is a favorite of mine), sail trim, I have a little bitty book devoted solely to docking. Just whatever you come across. All the pieces will fit together eventually.
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Learning to sail w/o water....

Seriously, take an ASA course, then get a sunfish or daysailor < 20' and learn to sail it. 29'+ is way too distracting with all the winches, pumps, lights, etc. Keep the dream, but create a plan to realize it in a step-wise fashion. The boats that you mention are fine weekenders.... you're a very long way from going offshore so don't even worry about what boat to get.
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Learning to sail w/o water....

Not sure what your timeline is on the boat or Lake Jerico (sp). The lake is a 137 acre body of water in a conservancy. If you had a Sunfish or something similar you could probably sail on it, but again not sure what if any wind there would be on the lake. I believe it is controlled by a dam so may be some current.

Get something small and go sailing.
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Learning to sail w/o water....

I Googled. This might be a haul for you but it'll get you on the water if you don't mind the drive:

Home - Kentucky Lake Sailing Club

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post #7 of 14 Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Learning to sail w/o water....

Lake Jerico is about 5x the size of the little pond I sail my Laser on. Get a little boat, you'll learn to sail quickly. Sailing fundamentals are the same on any size boat. Get competent on a small boat, then move bigger. The sailing part will become second nature, and then you can learn the systems and boat handling of a bigger boat.
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Re: Learning to sail w/o water....

Thanks for the replies, folks. I havnt been to Lake Jericho since I was a kid. So of course it seems much bigger that it likely is in my head! However I DO recall sailing lessons there in small sailing dinghies, so that is likely what I will do at first.

I have BEEN sailing before, I have just never done it myself. A few of my dives took me out on a sailboat, and I have looked at a few here in Winthrop harbor in Chicago.

I took out a pearson 35, well, the person selling it took me out on her. I was looking at them because they're much bigger than the bayfield I went out on for half the price. Boy did I see why. The interior wasn't as pretty, and soon as the wind picked up I thought I was gonna die. Never been on a boat when it heeled over like that!

Anyway, I will likely keep everyone apprised of what I do. As for my plan, I am going to spend the next year saving and learning all I can! Then I am going to find a 29-32ish foot boat and go to it. Doesnt matter where it is, I'll go to the boat, stay around there for 6 months or so learning all about her, then take her to the keys
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Learning to sail w/o water....

There is a lot of good advise here, including my esteemed colleague's joke, "First Lesson: Don't listen to Jeff H". For one thing I tend to be very relativistic in my views of different designs, so while I think the small Bayfields are pretty crumby boats by any standard, in and of itself the Bristol 29.9 is not a bad boat. My criticism of the Bristol 29.9 is that it falls short on a lot levels compared to other designs by Halsey Herreshoff, whose work I genuinely admire, and it falls short of other designs of a similar length from this period which can be bought for a similar price such as the Bristol 33/34 or Tartan 30.My gripes with the Bristol 29.9 are my gripes with many boats of that era in that they are tender, have harder than ideal sail plans to handle, and they are not so good on a reach or run.

But if you found one in nice shape and the design appealed to you personally, that may be all that counts since you will be the person who owns and sails her, not I.

But all that said, there is great advice above about starting smaller and simpler. Also the cheapest way to learn is to sail with others. Get some experience under your belt and you won't need any of us to tell you what the right boat for you truly will be.

Just hang in there and enjoy the ride.

Jeff


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Re: Learning to sail w/o water....

Cruisingdad has convined me that catalinas are the best boats in the world.
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