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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #31  
Old 02-05-2009
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eoffermann is on a distinguished road
Wow, old thread that just hasn't stopped...

You could always do what I did:

Step 1. Obsess for a couple years over how great it would be to buy a boat.
Step 2. Briefly consider renting a liveaboard, to get a better feel for life on the water.
Step 3. Find a 20ish footer that isn't too pricey and just buy it, justifying that it'll be perfect to learn on and isn't too expensive to keep in the marina.
Step 4. Spend a day puttering around, cleaning it and crawling all over it, figuring out what bits are connected to what other bits.
Step 5. Throw all caution to the wind (so to speak) and motor out of the marina.
Step 6. Pull up the mainsail and see what happens.

Admittedly, I'd read a TON about sailing over the two years prior, and had been staring at a boat and making it move around correctly for months (I worked on Benjamin Button, among other things making the movement of the tugboat, sub and other marine elements match real world behaviors) - but basically I researched the crap out of it and already had a really good handle on aerodynamics that translated well into sailing.

I'm a fast study - and it's really all I do in my spare time right now. I sail every weekend (though this weekend will be a challenge: weather's really supposed to suck), I read about it every night, have about 8 different sailing videos that I alternate watching on everything from basic sailing, to spinnakers to navigation. I put them on in my headphones at work and listen to them on repeat all day long...

I agree with AlpineSailor's caveat about YachtWorld. I'm already looking for my next one.

But yeah... That's how I got started! I think a lot of it is passion: I've always adored staring out at the sea, and now I enjoy being on it.
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  #32  
Old 03-03-2009
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You can't beat getting formal training, it is worth it's weight in gold.

Also, starting young is a plus.

My Son is now 13, and is qualified to pilot a sailboat up to 35', although he acts like he's Capt. Jack when we come into port..

Girls love him..
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  #33  
Old 03-03-2009
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Having neither started young or being young, I would suggest the lessons first, but there have to be more places giving lessons. Try the local colleges for sailing clubs and community membership. Also community sailing/yacht clubs give lessons to the public and have their own fleet. Look deeper. In Milwaukee, we have several options with good boat access. After lessons and I suggest including the wife, then consider a boat. Prior to buying read, read, read. Include, Don Casey's Practical Cruising, the Thoreau Approach. Then in the dead of winter if you decide by a boat that will meet your current needs. If it is a small centerboard consider you kids future use. Your first year or two will be day sailing.
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  #34  
Old 03-03-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1948 View Post
After lessons and I suggest including the wife, then consider a boat.
If she's willing, they sometimes take some convincing..


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1948 View Post
Prior to buying read, read, read. Include, Don Casey's Practical Cruising, the Thoreau Approach.
Totally.. There is so much to learn, read anything you can get your hands on, including BAD stuff. Even 'day sails' can go bad quickly if the weather / tide turn.

Also don't forget the 'locals' they can be amazing sources of knowledge


Keepin the thread alive!!
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  #35  
Old 03-03-2009
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I agree with cardiacpaul, walking the docks can be the best way to go and Iíve had many a fun sail that way. You should however have some basic skills in case the person who takes you out isnít all that savvy or they become incapacitated.
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  #36  
Old 03-06-2009
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My wife and I are looking at taking the 1 week ASA course from Blue Water Sailing. They have 4 locations and we've targeted the course offering out of Florida.

It would be awesome if we could crew for someone for a week or two, this would allow us to really gain some experience.
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  #37  
Old 04-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Pluta View Post
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
The boy scouts was my first exposure to sailing, I earned that merit badge :-)funny what sticks with you.....last month I rented a 23' compac in florida (lake sailing), and it was like riding a bike, some initial fumbling but the basics were there, and it was a great day, I am currently shopping for a 1st boat at 40 years old.
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  #38  
Old 04-07-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 81Hunter View Post
If she's willing, they sometimes take some convincing..
I highly recommend sending the wife to an all women's sailing course if she's serious about learning... There have been studies that show that many women learn better in such an environment. If not that, at least take the courses separately. The reason I say this is that in many couples, if they take the course together, one will dominate and the other will not learn as much from the course.

Quote:
Totally.. There is so much to learn, read anything you can get your hands on, including BAD stuff. Even 'day sails' can go bad quickly if the weather / tide turn.
An excellent learning book is Dave Seidman's The Complete Sailor. Well written and illustrated, and covers a surprisingly wide breadth of sailing information in a relatively small book. About $16 in the bookstore.

Quote:
Also don't forget the 'locals' they can be amazing sources of knowledge
Joining a local sailing club or yacht club and crewing on the round-the-buoy races can be a great way to get a lot of experience in a relatively short amount of time. You'll probably start as movable ballast, but as you crew more, you'll gain skills and move from position to position on the boat. Even if your long term goal is cruising, racing is good experience, since it can teach you a lot about maximizing or minimizing the power in the sails and proper sail trim. Maximizing the power in the sails is useful if you're a cruiser and stuck in an area with little wind. Minimizing the power in the sails is good when you're stuck in heavy winds and need to control the boat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikethecapt View Post
I agree with cardiacpaul, walking the docks can be the best way to go and I’ve had many a fun sail that way. You should however have some basic skills in case the person who takes you out isn’t all that savvy or they become incapacitated.
Taking a basic ASA 101 Learn to Sail type course moves you from being deadweight to have a solid foundation of the language and skills required to be useful as a crew member. I would highly recommend that you take at least a basic Learn to Sail type course. Also, most captains have their specific way of doing things, which may or may not be right, or safe... and if you have a good solid foundation under you, it can help keep you out of trouble.
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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.

óCpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #39  
Old 04-08-2009
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I just joined and wanted to say hey. I'm taking classes this summer through Liberty Sailing School in Philadelphia. I've only tried sailing once when I was a kid but have always wanted to learn more. Figured I'd go for it.

Anyone else from the Philly/NJ/DE area just starting out?
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  #40  
Old 04-08-2009
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Years ago I used to do a lot of sailing with my dad in Long Island Sound. We started in an old Hereschoff cat boat, Pearson 28 and than a Cheoy Lee 28. I went to school at Tabor Academy in Marion Ma. and raced lasers and 420's there.

Then we moved to Texas and for over 25 years I didn't set foot on a sailboat.. It was something I always dreamed of getting back into. last summer I finally did something about it and bought a little Escape Captiva 12.5 foot super simple one design for $900 with trailer. This gave me a chance to relearn my chops as well as turn the family onto sailing. I mean there's not a whole lot of trouble you can get into with a little one design like this if you wear your life vest and stay close to shore-the first time I took my wife out we dumped it over on a jibe, bless her heart she thought that was funny. Long story short, everyone thought sailing was pretty cool. Just two months ago, I executed the second part of the plan I bought the C-25 and we are really enjoying it, we sail on a lake.

I also plan on taking some intermediate sailing course with the wife. I'm also buying all the books and whatnot. We kept the little boat and in fact we'll be using it this weekend when we go camp with friends at another lake.

I'm really glad to be back on the water!
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