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Old 04-09-2009
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onespd is on a distinguished road
I suggest a trailerable sailboat like the Buccaneer 18, by Chrysler and other makers.

It's small enough to breed confidence in a newcomer and can be sailed my mainsail alone. It has a foresail (jib) on a roller for learning to use two sails like a bigger boat and the roller makes it singlehand-able or at least easier to use than other jib attachments.

It has a big cockpit that can accomodate friends or a small family, sitting in the cockpit rather than on the deck like many small boats. Finally, it is trailerable so you get to store it wherever you want (garage?) and practice rigging like a bigger trailer sailer.

They can be found for $800 - $2000 in decent to good condition, and have an active owner association online for tips and ideas for projects.
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Old 06-02-2009
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Another late-comer sailing newbie

I didn't sail as a kid either, and was facing a very similar dilemna when the sailing bug bit me a few years ago.

I highly suggest starting with a basic sailing course at a reputable school. Yes, there are lots of books on sailing, but I found them far more readable after actual experience on the water. Yes, you can volunteer to be a crew member on someone's boat, but without the most basic instruction and familiarity with sailing lingo, most of the instructions from your capitan will be incomprehensible. (It does cost some money, but you can save up for it, ask for contributions for X-mas and birthday presents, take a shorter and less expensive program to keep costs lower.)

There are so many unused and unloved boats docked at the marina where I sail that I can't help but think that 'buy a boat' is poor advice for many. Some of these boats haven't even been visited for years. (Clearly the Sailnet community is a more committed sample of sailors than the universe of boat owners generally.)

As for your wife, unless you are a very patient instructor and have a very solid relationship, it might be worth the money to have her enroll in sailing school as well, rather than have you teach her as you gain experience. You'll get out more if it's a family activity and you'll have a crew for your practice sails.

Good luck learning to sail!
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Old 06-02-2009
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The sailing bug hit me "late" too, with me hitting 50 very soon. Been on several sail boats and loved it!
We will be taking a sailing class through a local club this weekend. My wife grew up on a lake and around power boats, but this will be new for her, too.
Wish us luck!

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Old 06-02-2009
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Learning to Sail

Hi Rahima,
I would start off by keeping things simple. Dinghy sailing is as good as it gets, especially to start. If you can sail a Laser well, you could buy say, a 24 foot sailboat to start and work you way up over time. You would find a dinghy is harder to sail than a larger boat but the overall dynamics are identical.

What I did was to read a book on learning to sail, then bought a laser style sailboat and just did it by trial and error. It is a great way to learn to sail and you can read more as your skill develops. The worst thing that could happen to you is getting wet and sailing is one of the few sports that you can teach yourself and end up proficient. We all made lots of mistakes while learning and all the lessons in the world can't cover all the things you will run into out here.
I am as addicted to sailing now as I was when I started 30 years ago. I have spent my life living aboard and it all started with a book and a 14 foot sailboat.
All the very best with whatever you decide. cheers John
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Old 06-03-2009
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I just wanted to point out that the OP posted in 2006 (and hasn't posted since). I'd be curious to know what rahima53 ended up doing and how it worked for him.
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Old 06-03-2009
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Learn to sail..

I agree with most on this subject. Buy a smal 15' sloop and apply what you read to a small body of water (a lake or cove) and go from there. Sailing is a bit of an art, and you truly must get a feel of the wind, the limits of your boat, and what the seas are doing around you. It can be scary at first, but you will get the hang of it. It just takes time and consistency.

I however was lucky. at 21 years old I got a job aboard a 60' catamaran when I lived in Key West and for two years I worked as a mate aboard the boat which was a charter. Then at 25 I enlisted in the Coast Guard and became a boatswain's mate at three different small boat units where I went to school and learned on the job about the details of navigation, seamanship, and ultimately became a coxswain.

At the age of 34 I bought a 34' catamaran and that was the first boat I truly sailed solo, however my experience and training made me somewhat confident. Now after 3 years and over 4000 miles sailed, I am very confident in my 44' catamaran I recently aquired in the Caribbean. There is not a whole lot I am afraid of, but I have a few safety rules I never break no matter what.

The amount of time to learn to sail takes years, and a sincere interest and respect for the ocean in order to learn to be a sailor aboard the larger boats. But it is a never ending learning experience and I never think my education is complete. I am constantly reading and applying ideas when underway.

You have to love it to truly enjoy it. As I do. I don't think I could ever part with sailing. It is truly one of the last frontiers that exists in the world.
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