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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #21  
Old 01-28-2009
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lapworth is on a distinguished road
I had the same questions about sailing just a year ago. I took a 2 day class and within a month I was the owner of 24' sloop for $750.00 it needed some work but I was able too sail away with it. Taking a class may help you decide if you really want to sail.
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  #22  
Old 01-29-2009
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I built a sailing dinghy, read a couple of basic sailing books, and went out. Stay close to shore in warm water, you can learn the old fashioned way. You're going to have to anyway. Buying used is much quicker than building. Start in light breezes, don't get a flat out racer. Trailer it to the lake, or store it at a marina or yard there. You should be able to get a used daysailor for about a grand. Don't bring your wife until you improve enough to give her some confidence.
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  #23  
Old 01-30-2009
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Dick Pluta is on a distinguished road
Before I took my first sail I read every book I could lay my hands on, including one by the coach of the French Olympic sailing team. After trying to absorb stuff like center of balance and center of pressure and mast bending and rig tuning I went to the library and took out the Boy Scout Sailing Merit Badge manual. Best sailing primer I ever saw.

Dick Pluta
AEGEA
Nassau, Bahamas
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  #24  
Old 02-01-2009
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JPerkins is on a distinguished road
all good ideas, thank you.
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  #25  
Old 02-02-2009
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NCC320 is on a distinguished road
Years ago when I first got into sailing, there were no sailing schools close by (at least I didn't know of any). I first got interested in sailing watching on Sunday afternoons as the boats from the local yacht club returned from their weekend adventures. I decided that I wanted to give it a try. I purchased a couple of basic books on sailing (initially, stay away from the complicated ones on sail trim, racing, off shore sailing, yacht design, etc.....there'll be plenty of time for that later). I read and reread those books. I placed an order for a new Venture 24. When it came, I rigged and rerigged the boat on land numerous times until I knew how everything worked. A boat like the Venture 24 and most other trailer sailers or small boats is normally rigged simply with just the basic equipment....again, all the fancy go fast elements can come later. Now, this is important, the first few times you go, take someone with you to help hold lines, push off, and generally just assist when you need it. They don't need to know anything about a boat (but if you know someone who sails, try to get them to go with you a couple of times...it'll speed the learning process). Second thing, even more important.....go when the wind is low for the first few times. Now, you can try to do things as the book says, and if you mess up, the forces are low enough to illustrate plainly to you what you did wrong but not so strong as to damage the boat. I think a trailer sailer with swing keel or fixed ballast is better than a day sailor having no ballast as the day sailor can capsize if you do the wrong thing, but the swing or fixed keel boat will prevent this. There's plenty of time for high winds later (and even then, work gradually up to them). Just be extremely careful of where the wind is and avoid uncontrolled/ accidental jibes, because this is where someone is most likely to get seriously hurt...in an uncontrolled jibe, the wind brings that boom across terribly hard and fast, and it will kill you. Uncontrolled jibes are easy to avoid if you pay close attention to the wind direction and the boat's direction. And if you're so new that you don't know what a jibe is, or how to avoid, then you need to do some really serious studying of the book. In my case, the boat did just exactly what the book said it would except one thing, if you took your hand off the tiller, instead of heading up into the wind (into the irons), my boat would take close hauled at maximum speed. Once I knew this, it was not a problem. So not having money or availability to a sailing course is no excuse for not getting into sailing. And, you don't have to buy a new trailer sailer like I did. Just get one that you don't have to spend two years and thousands of dollars fixing it so that it will sail (unless your hobby is rebuilding and refurbishing)....i.e. do what will give you enjoyment from the start. And if sailing seems to interest you, go for it...if you decide you don't like it, you should be able to resell the boat so that the net cost of running the test is not that high.

Last edited by NCC320; 02-03-2009 at 01:55 PM.
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  #26  
Old 02-03-2009
evb evb is offline
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At the risk of being redundant, I just joined a yacht club, and started/am taking full advantage of the crewing and class opportunities. Hopefully when the time comes to purchase a boat I'm knowledgeable enough to not get myself into too much trouble.. Like everything else, there is a learning curve, and that needs to be respected. When it comes down to it you gotta jump in and go nuts. Without the initial leap nothing will be accomplished.

Eric
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  #27  
Old 02-03-2009
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NCC320 is on a distinguished road
evb,

your way of joining the yacht club is excellent if it's available to you. From lot's of other posts in other parts of the forum, it's obvious that lots of people seeking to start in sailing are a bit short on finances...they can't afford the yacht club and the professional sailing courses. So if people can afford to do so, do it the way you suggest..if they can't afford it, do it the way I suggested above. As long as you keep it simple, use you head and do a little study on your own, anyone with just a very modest budget can get into sailing. Later, after they've made their fortune, then they can join the exclusive yacht clubs and buy a big fancy boat (of course, many sailing clubs do in fact welcome new people and some have costs that are minimal, so if a low cost club is availble, go for it).
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  #28  
Old 02-03-2009
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Excellent point, the cost of the yacht club did not occur to me. I joined my school's club, and dues are only $40/quarter for students, staff, and alumni... Too good of a deal to pass up on.
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  #29  
Old 02-03-2009
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I can only say what has already been said...

Take a basic sailing course somewhere in the smallest boat possible. Why?

B/c the next move would be to find yourself a small dingy that's sailable but not in great shape. Something like a Sunfish or Laser or comparable type boat. Sail it every chance you get in all kinds of conditions.

You will have a very fast learning experience in a small boat; how to read the water/wind, how to balance a boat, how the forces act on a boat, etc.

I have sailed for 35 years on ALL sizes of boats w/ all kinds of sailors. NOT to say that you can't start out on a keelboat or a large cruising type boat,.... but, w/o exception the sailors that started in dingys are better and do a better job at transitioning to a cruising type boat.

In the end however, you need to figure out what will work for you.

Good luck!
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  #30  
Old 02-04-2009
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My wife and I joined a sailing club a few years ago to check out the sailing thing and see if it fit. After a couple of orientation sails we were given the thumbs up to take out the 18 fters whenever we wanted.

We were hooked pretty quick and had a great time sailing club boats for that first year. The club was great way to learn and reduces the danger of buying into an expensive hobby before you really know if it is your thing.

We then proceded to buy a trailerable boat the next year. For us sailing is a great activity that the family can enjoy together. Watch out though, an obsession with YachtWorld should be expected, I can hardly go a week without wasting all sorts of time dreaming online about my next boat.
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