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post #11 of 46 Old 06-21-2006
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what i did

I found a old oday 23 1973
for $750
Fixed it up and sailed it for 4 years.
Just upgraded to a Hunter 25.5

It was cheap to get in and small enough to sail for a beginner.
I had no other experience , just the need to sail
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post #12 of 46 Old 06-22-2006
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Rahima53 - I can only tell you what worked for us. I use to climb big mountains and finally got too old for that and was looking for a new hobby - tried skying diving but after a few jumps found it booring - had attend a lot of boat shows and when the Whitbread came to annapolis i managed to get on the docks and see the boats. my instant take was I can do that and i was bite. I had to move to dallas to take a new job and eventually drove to Galveston to take sailing lessons. by the way i had never been on a boat before. Had a great instructor and an absolutely great time. We then went to Charlottes harbor and took 2 more lesson from sw fla yachts (remember i live in dallas) which we lived on the boat with the instructor and then took the boat out by ourselves for 4 days. We got the fever. I then had to move to conn and started to get serious about a boat - we charted about 1-2 hours from the house - we also went to every boat show we could. met a great broker who while wanting to sell us a boat took time to teach us what makes the difference between boats - as i was approaching retirement my decision was to purchase a 40' as my first boat - as i did not want to get a smaller one, learn for a few years and then try to purchase a larger one as from a financial standpoint boats depreciate in value rather quickly - I purchased a new Jeanneau 40 DS which will take me anywhere in the world i want to go or if i don't wnat to go will be a great boat for crusing the bay. I then moved to Miami and brouht the boat down here - we sail almost every weekend and joined a local sailing club that has a kinda race every month - we race to get to know our boat better but get our butts kicked each and every race - but the knowledge gained i significant - we have taken her to the bahamas and just got back from a 6 day trip to key west -
for you - take the first lesson and then either find a charter in charleston or go ahead and take a vacation to take lesson 2 & 3 with the wife as you will learn somewhat what living aboard is like. - then you can bareboat charter from charleston or out of one of the islands - then go to the boat shows and talk to all the brokers and find which on is a seller and which one really knows what they are talking about - the guy we bought our boat from is in Conn. (ted novakowski of sound yachts) is a former cruiser so we got a lot from him on how to outfit the boat as well as what works and what does not work
good luck and enjoy the ride as it has been great for us
chuck and soulmates
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post #13 of 46 Old 06-23-2006
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Jumped right in

I had never stepped foot on a sailboat before I plunked down $100K for my 44' cutter. Everyone told me "get a smaller boat, you may not even like sailing!" I love the ocean and was intrigued with sailing, so I figured I would just jump right in with a boat I new was safe, comfortable, and I wouldn't need to "up-size" later on. I read Sailing for Dummies, and several other titles and practiced on Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain. After getting caught in a squall with ALL of the sails out, I realized that I needed formal hands-on instruction.

My wife and I went to an ASA Sailing School in Ft. Lauderdale for a week. We are now fairly competent and often do coastal cruising. We love it. As our skills improve, we plan to make some longer trips. I highly recommend a week-long course. If you don't want to buy a boat, perhaps chartering one "bareboat" occasionally is the way to go (no commitment!). Having a school's accreditation will be helpful for this. There are PLENTY of boats available for charter, but you may have to travel to them.
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post #14 of 46 Old 06-24-2006
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Small boats are the best way to learn - no doubt - they do have draw backs in introducing one to the sport. While basics are the same, the rest is not. Small boats require a lot more agility and are no where near as comfortable as a larger boat. I could certainly see someone being miserable on a Laser and quite happy on a cruising 35.

Check local Y clubs for sailing classes. Many offer these on larger boats. If that goes well with the family, try a rental/time share program. In these you pay a fee and get a a number of days on a boat that is maintained by facilitator. Cost is often slightly more than what you would pay to maintain your own boat.
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post #15 of 46 Old 06-25-2006
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Irwin32 has a good point, but I'd like to counter with the point that you will learn more about boat balance, handling, sail shaping and control, etc, on a smaller boat, faster than you would on a larger boat.


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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #16 of 46 Old 12-15-2008
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I am 43 yrs old. Last summer I bought a 15' sailboat and sailed for the first time since being a teen (and then it was only once). It doesn't need to be expensive to learn or own a small boat. I know a little about sailing now and am fixing a 20' boat up to sail on next summer.


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post #17 of 46 Old 12-15-2008
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There are a lot of good suggestions here. Most can't afford to just plunk down a 100 grand for a 44 footer. So that's out.
I recently went to a sailing club. They had a locked gate. Lots of members on the docks tinkering and wandering around. Not one seemed to care that someone was interested in a boat. They even had some sailboats for sale. Not sure how that was going to work out since there didn't seem to be a way to get in to look a them. Tried to flag down a "member" as they went past. They turned up their nose and kept going. This is similar to the experience I've had at 2 other "sailing clubs". Don't let it discourage you.
There are quite a few trailer/day sailors in the 22 foot range with low prices to accompany them. These boats are very easy to sail and with the right book reading you can easily enjoy one of these boats. With a family they will be a little tight for room but if your kids are like mine they don't want to be in the cabin anyway. Put them to work. Teach them to hank on sails. Raise the main. Handle the helm. EVERYTHING. You'll learn just as much as they do and in the end you'll have some awesome hands on deck. If you do a good job shopping and take care of the maintenance then you'll get most of your money back when you decide to upgrade.
Lessons are a plus BUT for the cost of lessons you can actually purchase one of the aforementioned boats and spend all the time you want on it. The bonus is that you'll get to do this with your kids and trust me, you'll all benefit. Just use some commons sense and have fun.

Cruise me!
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post #18 of 46 Old 12-15-2008
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Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
I thought about sailing and cruising for twenty plus years. I finally bought a 21' Mac on a trailer for a grand. Now I wished I'd done this 20 years ago. I reckon I have some catching up to do.
I thought about it a little longer. Four decades. I bought a 25' Venture.

We're going to some classes in April. (Books came today).

I've pretty much disassembled and reassembled the whole boat in the last few weeks. I know her pretty well inside and out, can step the mast and lower it quickly, built a ginpole to do it myself, so one person can do it.

Still working on the running rigging, but I think I got it now.... we'll see this spring.

Rick Donaldson, NØNJY

moˈloːn laˈbe!

It's better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you're not.

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I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead - Jimmy Buffet
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post #19 of 46 Old 12-16-2008
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After I took the lessons and got some certification, I sailed in flotilla 4 times. It did wonders to boost my confidence and competence. Plus I met a lot of interesting people and visited some places I would not have known about. The flotilla captains provided excellent chart briefing, the engineers kept everything shipshape, and the hostesses gave recommendations about provisioning, restaurants, shopping, and could arrange tours of sites ashore.

One trip was in the Gulf and San Juan Islands; the other three were in Turkey.


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post #20 of 46 Old 01-23-2009
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Jumping in

Last summer I bought a Cyclone 13. I had no clue what I was doing as I had never sailed before but was very interested. I was able to teach myself to sail through reading and many hours of rigging and derigging on land. And lots of trial and error, mostly error. It took a while to get used to and I can do it now, but I will definitely be taking a few lessons in the near future to learn sail control and posisitioning.
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