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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 08-08-2007
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Getting started. . .

I'm a stupid newbie who's heart was yanked a'sea on a Sunfish about 11 years ago. It was a blast and I could sail it pretty well in like 15 minutes!

Now 11 years latter, I would like to learn how to sail, probably short handed, but with the family(5 or partial) aboard at times. I know nothing about buying a boat, renting a boat or . . .

I think I would like to buy a dinghy or small trailorsailor and go from there. I would like to rent a dinghy(with main and jib) this fall to get the feeling again.

Any idea where to rent a dinghy in central OH? . . .or, I will be in Boston for a few days in September? Buying will probably happen after motorcycle sells next spring!

Also, what kinds of maintenance items do I need to be financially prepared for with a small fiberglass boat?

. . .maybe I'm gettting ahead of myself.
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Old 08-08-2007
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How small is small... A sunfish would have very little in the way of maintenance relatively speaking. There is no rigging, other than a halyard and a sheet. There's the centerboard and rudder, usually both wood... and then you have to wash and wax the boat hull and deck.
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Old 08-09-2007
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I would like to be big enough to have a main and a jib. I think that is critical to learning to sail and expand my knowledge. My end goal would be to move to something in the 25' - 30' range in the next 10 years. I also want to haul at least 3 on this firsst boat. It would be best if I could haul 5 in calmer conditions.
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Why not look at a small trailerable, like a catalina 22 or venture 21 or compac. most will cary 3-5 people comfortably and are sloop rigged with mainsail and jib. Most also have abbreviated versions of most of the big boat systems like plumbing, electrical, etc., so you can get used to working with such things like battery chargers.
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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.

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Old 08-09-2007
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If your budget isn't too tight, you might look at the Flying Scot. If it is, you might check into the Thistle, but itsn't as heavy/stable (depending on age of kids, it might not be as good a choice). These are both class boats, meaning you could likely find a nearby fleet if you wanted to race and/or cruise. Lots of others using exactly the same boat to learn from both off and on the water (there is a lot to learn in the parking lot to rig quickly and properly).

http://www.fssa.com/

http://www.thistleclass.com/

The trailer sailors are another good option; swing keel boats from 17' to around 25' that have little cabins.

Also, look for a local sailing club. I found one nearby that has days where prospective members are invited out and they will get you a crew spot or even sometimes a boat to use. I have been loaned a Bucc 18 a couple of times and just told to pay it forward when I told the owner how indebted I felt. Hopefully I will get the chance to before long. I havel pretty much decided that a 17' trailer sailor (Venture, Siren or similar) is probably the boat that makes sense for me right now based on space to store it, car to haul it, family ages and interests, etc.

Last edited by arbarnhart; 08-09-2007 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 08-09-2007
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You could also look at something like the O'Day Daysailer. I used to have one. It can easily fit three, though five might be a stretch. They are also inexpensive. I bought mine about five years ago for $1200. She wasn't pretty but she came with newer sails and a trailer.

http://www.daysailer.org/
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Old 08-09-2007
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All good suggestions.
I'll second the vote for the Flying Scott.

Also, Hunter and Catalina both include in their current line's smaller trailor sailors. I would look into these. Something in the 18' range with a main and jib. These would make a great family boat.
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Old 08-09-2007
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I am gonna suggest that with family involved you should get something with a bit more ballast...maybe a swing keel in the 20-22 foot range. It is easy to dump a small boat in a gust and something with a bit more inherent stability might be a better choice. Certainly go rent some daysailors as you pick up the skills again but once you start bringing the kids on board you will probably want something a bit safer for them. I'm thinking of something like the Catalina 22 but there are lots of similar trailerable boats.
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Old 08-09-2007
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Plenty of good suggestions above. Since the Flying Scot already came up, DO take a look at the class web site and forum. I recall a recent thread with details about a FS fleet in central Ohio that actively invites and encourages newbies. Also see the long thread on the strengths of the Scot design and its capabilities as a family day sailer.

Have fun,

Kurt
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