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smallboatsailor 09-08-2001 07:52 PM

should i take more lessons
Hello I took sailing lessons at a small lake this summer and im going to probly buy a laser pico and sail it in the ocean (very closes to shore) not more than a 1/4 mile.My question is if i should take "ocean lesson" or something like that. thanks also is a laser pico to small for the ocean its 11''6"

Jeff_H 09-09-2001 06:08 AM

should i take more lessons
It is not that you can''t sail small boats in the ocean. These are after all ''beach boats'' but whether the pico makes sense depends on where you are sailing. There is ocean and then there is OCEAN. There is a big diference in sailing off the beach at some place like Miami (almost no waves most of the time) and some place like Hatteras or Malibu which is supposed to have pretty good surf.

The Pico is not my idea of a surf boat and launching in surf takes a specialized set of skills. I don''t know of a school that teaches launching in surf skills. Launching in bigger surf can be quite dangerous as the combination of wind and waves can push the boat back over you breaking limbs. But even launching in small waves can be tricky.


MikeMoss 09-09-2001 09:09 PM

should i take more lessons
Surf may not be in the equation! This is how I started sailing when I bought a cottage on the shore. It was in a harbor and came with a sunfish. That''s where I learned how to plan with the currents.

Now that I think back on how I fell off of that thing and swallowed salt water, stepped on the dagger board and scrambled back in. Only sissies used life jackets back then.

I made some long trips on LIS with that boat. I never did like the sunfish however but I did like sailing. That boat was 14'' long as I recall. If that laser is lot smaller!

dhartdallas 09-10-2001 12:20 PM

should i take more lessons
I sailed a GP 14 in Trinidad and Tobago and spent a lot of time coming into and off the beach. I use to gunkhole and coastal cruise that dinghy. She was a general purpose dinghy
and had some displacement and volume although
she had a very powerful sail plan and could be raced. Cruising in a dinghy is a blast. A guy once cruised 1,000 miles of the Great Barrier Reef in an eleven foot Mirror dinghy.
You can anchor, throw a tarp over the boom and sleep under boom tent, or you can beach her. Sailing into the beach is simple. You come in under Jib alone and just let go of the sheet at the right moment, jumping out and dragging her up on the beach. Going out is a matter of timing with the incoming waves
and the wind. You basically sail off on a close reach. Of course, you need a lift up rudder and you have to remember to get the dagger board up coming in and delay putting it down going out until the water is deep enough. This being said, I''ve never come in through breaking surf or gone out through breaking surf in a dinghy, nor have I ever seen anyone else. I don''t know of anyone who teaches it. A simple vision will bring this home. You get rolled, the mast, taller that the water is deep, is driven into the bottom with the force of the wave on the bottom of the boat. Hello! If your dinghy is loaded for cruising, you can add that to the mess. If you want to surf, get a surf board. If you want to sail, come in where the only breaker is the last small one right at the beach. That one is no problem. Going out you can walk your dinghy out past that easily before you jump in and take off. For just daysailing
off the beach, either a laser or a sunfish is
fine, especially if you are singlehanded. Have fun. Stay out of breaking surf. Good luck. dhartdallas.

dimwit 10-21-2001 01:29 PM

should i take more lessons
Since these guys all started talking about their adventures and the dangers of starting off in surf, I''ll stick to your question:
The basic class was plenty for you to go out and practice the principles you''ve learned. What you need now is not another class; it''s hours with your hand on the tiller. Experience will be your best teacher now.
You show good sense in wanting to stay within sight (swimming distance, among other traffic who may be able to assist you, etc.) of land. That''s very prudent. The biggest variable in open water in a small daysailer will be tide, swell size, surface chop (the little wind-waves), and of course windspeed (oh, and motor-boaters: your biggest hazard). Try to choose a day with relatively flat water and light-to-moderate wind, so that you can concentrate on honing your skill and not battling for survival during a very wet ride. What you want now is a reasonable window for skill development.
In a small daysailor like that, I''d make sure I was wearing at least a partial wetsuit: hypothermia will set in quickly, causing you to shake, tire quickly, and a fog over your judgment.
You must assume that you WILL tip it over repeatedly, you WILL be soaked to the bone, and that you WILL lose everything overboard that you haven''t strapped down. But that''s the fun of learning. Go for it! And when you get tired of getting so wet, you can buy a trailer-sailer with a swing-keel. . .
Have fun.

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