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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 07-15-2006
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First step?

So I've recently decided I need to know how to sail. Something tells me that involves learning how to sail.

After reading a bit and searching around some, I've come to a point where I'd like some input from people who know what they're doing.

Being someone with no sailing experiance whatsoever, what is the better way to start: Getting a dingy and sailing around the local lake till I know what wind is, or going to one of the local sailing schools for the ASA 101 class? Both maybe?
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Old 07-15-2006
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I'd recommend taking a ASA101 course. The theory that is taught in most of them is invaluable. It will take you years of sailing to absorb and learn what is taught in a basic ASA101 course.
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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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Old 07-15-2006
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Mr. Tom -- it does not say where you live and I can only tell you what worked for me. 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. I then went to Charlottes harbor and took 2 more lesson from sw fla yachts (remember i live in dallas) which I lived on the boat with the instructor and then took the boat out by for 4 days. I got the fever. I then had to move to conn and started to get serious about a boat - I charted about 1-2 hours from the house - I also went to every boat show I could. met a great broker who while wanting to sell me a boat took time to teach me 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 brought the boat down here - I sail almost every weekend and joined a local sailing club that has a kinda race every month - I race to get to know my boat better but get my butt kicked each and every race - but the knowledge gained is significant - i have taken her to the bahamas and just got back from a 6 day trip to key west -
for you - take the first ASA lesson and then either find a charter in your area or go ahead and take a vacation to take ASA lessons 2 & 3 as you will learn somewhat what living aboard is like. - then you can bareboat charter - 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 I 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 me
chuck and soulmates
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Word. I live in southern california, between santa barbara and oxnard, so there are several places listed on the asa website to check out.
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Old 07-16-2006
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Go to a sailing school, then buy a dinghy if you are still interested.
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Old 07-17-2006
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Try this as well

Here is what I did. My wife worked with a guy who was looking for crew on his boat. I always wanted to learn so what the heck. He was willing to teach me the ropes and it was a great experience. A couple of years later I bought my own boat and stepped right on and off I went.
If you go to a local club on the weekly racing nights there is always someone looking for some crew. Be honest about your experience, or lack of, and you are bound to find someone. If you are really willing to learn you may find a regular crewing slot and get a great deal of sailing experience.

Have Fun,

Andy
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Old 07-17-2006
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I'd advise against running out and getting a dinghy... many people who like to sail on bigger boats, do not like to sail on dinghies. Sailing dinghies, which can be a lot of fun, are also much more demanding of the crew in some ways. They are also generally wetter, require a much more active crew, and not really suitable for certain bodies of water or sailing areas.

I would definitely recommend taking an ASA 101 or equivalent course. Then spend some time sailing, either through a local sailing club or marina
—most have a crew-wanted board of some sort.

Once you've sailed on a few different types of boats for a while, and have a better idea of what you want in a sailboat, or if you even want a sailboat, then I would look towards getting a boat that is suitable for the type of sailing you want to do.
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Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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Old 07-18-2006
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I've had a friend since highschool that is an avid sailor. I've been out with him enough times to have the bug off and on over the years. He invited me to fill in as crew on his J/24 in Annapolis and we won the first race we entered... it was actually pretty impressive... Each of the crew were issued nice glass trophys from the SSA summer sailing series. I wanted to feel more competent on his boat, so I purchased a J/24 for myself and have been learning to sail it. It's quite the adventure. Harken has a cdrom with some racing basics, but I've found just making successful pleasure trips on the lake builds my skills, then I come here and read as I have questions. Oh, and I bother my friend Vince frequently by phone to answer questions also. In retrospect, I spent too much time the first season learning how to rig and launch the boat... I now have it in a slip where although the cost is much higher, I'm able to get more sailing time in. I know sailing can be very expensive, but I've been able to do it on a budget. The boat cost $6000 and the slip is $1450/annually. My sails are from 2000 which means they wouldn't work in an annapolis race, but they're more than suitable for learning how to sail on the lake. I've had all kinds of incidents - like losing a halyard up the mast - but it's all been an adventure... and after all... isn't that what we're after?

Mike
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