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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 02-28-2007
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Brand new, What now?

Hi all, Ive been hovering around here for a while, trying to soak it all in. Lots of great info on here unfortunatley I dont understand most of it. Anyway, the thought if sailing has always intrigued me. I have spent a great deal of my summers on ski boats zipping up and down the delta waterways of northern california. My mood has definatley been changing and the wife and I are thinking about hanging up the slolom ski and wakeboard and getting into sailing. We have looked at sailing schools and figured a 1 week live aboard school would fit the bill(101,103,104) considering a baby sitter(grandma) for 1 week straight is easier than lots of weekend trips to the bay area for spread out classes.
The question is, Are we biting off more than we should. We have zero experience on a sailboat. Our goal is to be compitent enough to bareboat in the Keys with our Kids when they are older.(preschool and diapers now)
Thanks any imput would be appreciated.
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Old 02-28-2007
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If you and the wife are going to take classes... I highly recommend that you take them separately, rather than together. It generally works out better if you do it that way in my experience.
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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 02-28-2007
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Although sometimes that is not feasible or desirable, especially from the wife's point of view. ffsmo, the sailing classes are a great way to start. You might even just take 101 first to see if it is something you really want to do. You should also read a sailing book of two. Try this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Annapolis-Book...e=UTF8&s=books

or this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Your-First-Sai...e=UTF8&s=books

I highly recommend the second book as a beginner's beginning book.
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Old 02-28-2007
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The reason I recommend that you take the classes separately is that in most couples one spouse will defer to the other if they are in a class together, which generally means that one is going to get a lot less actual experience and learning in the class.

By taking them separately, this problem is eliminated. Both people in a sailing couple should have the skills necessary to sail the boat by themselves, without a reliance on their partner being there.

The reasons for this should be obvious, but if you're the type that can't figure it out...what happens in a MOB situation and the more capable partner ends up in the water... As has been reported in news stories not all that long ago...it usually ends with the more capable partner drowning and the other calling for help and getting lifted off the boat by the USCG. Also, much of sailing long-distances is effectively single-handing when the other half of a couple is down below getting much needed rest...

Another good example is if the couple has small children... while one spouse is taking care of the children, the other is effectively stuck single-handing the boat. You can't be handling the jib sheets if you're down below changing a diaper.

As for books, the one I most often recommend is David Seidman's "The Complete Sailor".
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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 02-28-2007
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Thats a goog thought, never even considered doing it separatley, ill run that by her and check out the books, thanks.
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Old 02-28-2007
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The one week "cruise and learn" programs that operate in our neck of the woods are a great way to start - you get the theory, the practice that goes with the learn to sail part, but you also get the exposure to cruising, anchoring and beautifully scenic spots, the whole concept of "living" on the boat and there are usually other paricipants so you get the whole crew "team" exposure as well. (As well as tolerance of others in close quarters)

These, too, could be taken separately as SD suggests though usually couples get a slightly better rate. If you each took the course from a different instructor you may get a more rounded experience when you work together on your own later on.
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Old 02-28-2007
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Like SD said, spouses together can be counterproductive. It very much depends on whether the two of you can both be absolutely certain that having the other one around won't change your behavior--which is pretty much the norm.

You might be able to take one weekend class (beginning to sail) alone while your wife has the kids, then swap while she's off. Get the basics under your belts and compare notes, because each of you will have a slightly different experience and that's a good thing. Then, once you've gotten the basics of sailing, do the bareboat thing together, because managing a boat with systems on it is totally different from the sailing part.

In terms of rates...I think that if you told any sailing school you both wanted to do it, but wanted to do it separately, they would understand immediately and still give you a "couples" rate.

If you're one of the rare couples who only reinforce each other...it might be great, but this is "lessons" not a "vacation", think that over carefully.
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If you take a ASA class in basic keel boat in San Fransico bay area you will be able to sail anywhere.
The class is not only a written test but a hands on doing everything on the boat.
Each person rotates during the class as crew,1stmate and Captain.
The ASA instructor will take the time with you until you get it right , what ever it is.
Have fun.........
paulj
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Old 02-28-2007
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Talked to her a little and the idea of doing it seperate does not apeal to her. She was seeing it as a joint adventure. The weeklong schools we have looked into would be private instruction just the 2 of us. This was down in san diego. Thought of combining a vacation with the learning experience. The San francisco base keel boating class only was definatley a thought but the price for the 2 of us is almost half of what the 3 course liva board would be.
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Old 02-28-2007
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ffsmo-
If you have to do it together, hellosailor's remark should be your theme: 'lessons, not a vacation'. My wife and I did the 101,103,104 together (in the USVI) and it went great! A lot of factors made us the exception rather than the rule, most important (i think) was the level of experience of the instructor. He'd taught with couples in the class before, and had the 'true sea stories' to back it up. We went into it with hellosailor's attitude (and also considered it an 'adventure' ). If your wife has a good backbone, she won't let you run over her. And if she doesn't (No offense intended), it's better to learn before you take off with children on board. One thing though: squeezing the 3 courses into a week is a bit too short, but with only the two of you, it might be better. We had 4 students total, us plus two with zero experience, and it did feel like we lost time teaching the other 2 the difference between port and starboard. However you decide to do it, do it! Don't let us talk you out of it, even a bad day sailing is heaven on water!
Cheers
Mike
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