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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 11-25-2007
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dreaming of sailing

I am working at the moment on my goal of sailing around the world. I have backpacked around and it never felt right, growing up around the ocean I feel sick if I don't see It on a regular basis. then a friend took me sailing and it was all over. the smell of the sea, the salty wind I could not belive that I have ever lived any other way. I would love any advice that you all might have, I want to learn as much as I can. Any pointers that you wish you knew in the beginning would be great. I have the passion and the drive, now i'm working on the rest. thank you.
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Old 11-25-2007
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Find someone else's boat to go out on as much as possible!
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Old 11-25-2007
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I started out by reading everything I could find about sailing, designing and building boats. I volunteered to help on everybody’s boats doing both the maintenance and sailing and finally got a berth on several racing boats. It got me started 40 years ago and I would think its still a good way to start.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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Never design a boat that is weaker then the mast

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Last edited by Tartan34C; 11-25-2007 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 11-25-2007
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I agree. In a general guideline, start small and work your way up. Also, do not wait for self-imposed ideal opportunities. If you do not have a boat, go sailing with others as much as possible, whether for an hour or a day, get some experience then maybe volunteer for an offshore delivery trip. Do not say to yourself, I want to sail offshore so I will only look for those opportunities, go sailing as much as possible, and when on the boat ask the captain if you can helm, trim sails, and not just be ballast.

Go to local yacht clubs or marinas and post your name to crew for weekly races - even if you are not interested in racing the experience will be valuable and teach you about sail trim, etc.

Also, I learned a lot once I boat a bought, being captain is very different than being crew. If you want to buy a boat, do not delay for the next 10 years to buy 'that' world cruiser you think you want, get a boat you can afford and sail today. You do not know yet what you want, experience will help you find out.

See the Dreamers v. Doers thread: Dreamers vs Doers. My best advise is to be a doer.

Also, sailing is only one component of seamanship. Reading cannot supplant experience, but it will give you a foundation to learn the basics. Consider the Annapolis Book of Seamanship: http://www.amazon.com/Annapolis-Book.../dp/0684854201, there are plenty others too, but that is a start.

This is a friendly board with many knowledgeable people, as you have more questions, let us know. Welcome to sailnet. You may want to post your location, there may be local people on this board to help you get going.
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Old 11-25-2007
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Katejoy,

First, learn sailing thoroughly. This will take a couple of years, but since you live near the ocean, you can find ways to do it. A hint--don't overlook crewing for people who race, because they're the ones who most regularly need crew, and racing will teach you the most about the finer points of what makes a sailboat go (meaning how to make it go that last 2 percent faster) than any other kind of sailing. And volunteer to go out no matter what the weather, it's in adverse conditions where you learn the lessons that aren't apparent on the nice days.

Then, get yourself invited cruising, or volunteer for some delivery trips. Get experienced at coastwise sailing and piloting, and you'll begin to understand what's involved in an ocean crossing. Learn slow, and you'll learn forever.

Then, if you still want to follow that dream, you'll have the contacts to find out how to do it, and the experience to be able to.
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Old 11-26-2007
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I second the idea of crewing race. However I think racing doesn't only teach you the finer things, if racers don't have the basics down they ain't competing. The sailors you'll find there can teach you everything you need to know.

I would also recommend taking basic keelboat. Sometimes belonging to a club makes sense too, but probably you can get a ride every weekend racing for free.
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Old 11-26-2007
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KateJoy-

Welcome to sailnet... get as much time sailing on different boats and under different weather conditions as you can... crewing on racing boats is always a good, if high-paced, way to get a lot of experience in a relatively short time.

Get as much experience with coastal pilotage and navigation skills, as you'll need them for anything you do. Learn as much as you can about doing your own maintenance and learn as much as you can about the different systems on the boats.

When you do get a boat... take everything apart on it...and learn everything you can about it... the better you know the boat, the more likely it is that if anything goes wrong, you'll be able to fix it or work around it. In the long run, this knowledge will pay for itself and may save your life.
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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.

óCpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 11-26-2007
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Learn to navigate without that GPS.
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Old 11-26-2007
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I would say that you need to learn how to navigate using all the tools available to the modern mariner. Coastal pilotage skills, dead reckoning, GPS, and celestial navigation all tools in the good navigator's kit...

Being overly dependent on any one tool is a big mistake. GPS has its uses, but don't make the mistake of thinking that the icon of your position on the GPS Chartplotter is really where your boat is. The icon really represents the possible position of your boat in an interpretation of the possible world as seen by the cartographers making the charts your using—which may not always be accurate, and is subject to inaccuracies beyond that of the chart, due to weather, electrical interference, and so on. While it may be fairly accurate under some conditions... it can also be very misleading.

Also, using a GPS chartplotter, without using paper charts alongside it...is a huge mistake. Last summer, I had to go out and help a friend find their way back, when their chartplotter died unexpectedly on them... they didn't have paper charts aboard. That has since been corrected... and they're pretty good at keeping a track on both paper and electronically.
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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.

óCpt. 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.
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StillóDON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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