Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: North Carolina
Thanked 11 Times in 7 Posts
Rep Power: 7
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.