what is a realistic learning curve? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 17 Old 03-03-2008
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Catamaran's are very forgiving. If you take the courses you have listed and go with a bareboat in Greece you will be fine. Taking another couple that has more experience the first time is double icing on the cake, cost and experience wise. My wife and I always take other couples on Charters because it's also more fun to share.

My experience - bought a 26 ft grampian (mono) sailed it 9 times over a 4 month winter - sold it, bought a 31 ft hunter, sailed it weekends for a year meanwhile taking asa classes through 105. Took a bareboat catamaran out of the BVI and had an absolute blast. I was the skipper of record although the other couple had owned a boat for 11 years I was better qualified. Most sailors never take classes.

At the time of my first bareboat I had never dropped an anchor, reefed a sail or changed a fuel filter. I knew how, just hadn't ever done it (except in classes).

Now (all of five years of sailing) I own my catamaran - a Gemini 105Mc and sail it single handed or crewed anywhere I want on the Chesapeake. Owning a Gemini is the best thing to happen to me in a long long time.

The best way to get sailing experience without spending lots of money is to simply go down to the docks, join a club and get some experience on someone elses boat. If you are ever in the Annapolis area just holler I'll be glad to take you out (Private message me here first and I'll shoot you a phone number).

Patience Two; Gemini 105Mc #987
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post #12 of 17 Old 03-03-2008
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Originally Posted by akallabeth View Post
I had hoped to do any initial bareboat chartering is a limited sailing region - the Northern Sporades islands are close to my wife's home in Greece and are all within site of each other for the most part. We've also considered BVI etc., but that would be for another season, but may indeed be where we decide to do this. Chartering a skipper may also be in the plan.

Welcome to Sailnet! I like your handle too! Lots of good advice on this thread, with which I mostly agree (particularly the point that education is helpful, but there's no substitute for experience). I did just want to make one additional point:

I don't know what time of year you hope to do your chartering in the Greek isles, but just be aware that during the summer months you can encounter some very challenging conditions there. Beginning in June, the Meltemi begins to blow, and it builds stronger during July and August, then gradually diminishes in September-October. You probably realize that the Meltemi is a strong, consistent northeast wind that blows in the Aegean during the summer months, especially in the Sporades and Cyclades. Beaufort Force 5-7 wind and sea state are typical, which can make for exciting but challenging sailing. So I'm not sure it's the place I would recommend that a novice charterer go for practice. Keep that in mind as you work your way up.

Sailing is a great past-time, take it slow and you can look forward to a lifetime of enjoyment from it. Best of luck to you!!

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post #13 of 17 Old 04-22-2008
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Greek waters... can be tricky... but really nice...

For a novice sailor I would personally recommend to start in the Ionian sea. Plenty of beautiful beaches, distances between islands and harbours (forget marinas) reasonable requiring no night sailing... and most importantly light winds mostly in the afternoon (no meltemi in the Ionian). The problem is refuelling and getting water as most of the islands with the exception of Corfu and Lefkas and the town of Preveza have no facilities on the pier (personal experience two years ago). You may be boarded by Greek, Italian or US patrol vessels if you venture north of Corfu into international waters bordering Albania, as they might be searching for weapons and/or drugs. I was checked once by Italians and they were very courteous and professional. I don;t think a skipper will be essential in the Ionian, but joining a flotilla is advisable, as they will help with mooring and take care of diesel and water provisioning.

In the Sporades (less than in the Cyclades south or the Dodecanese further southeast) you will be affected by strong northerly winds (meltemi) often at 15-25 knots and sometimes reaching 30 or 35, force 8-9. It gets a bit hairy, but it is not dangerous as such provided you know how to deal with it (wait till dusk when wind dies down and find a harbour or cove for protection). I would advise getting a skipper at least for a couple of days.

The southern Aegean is a bit more tricky and there is at times quite some traffic especially as you cross sea lanes: be very careful, as most passenger ferries are deceptively quick and do not take kindly to changing course... I would definitely advise getting a skipper at least for the first week.

Get lots of practice in mooring "Med style", e.g. dropping anchor and reversing slowly into a (usually very cramped) position without damaging other boats... it's easy as long as there is no strong wind, since no charter boat has bow thrusters and you may find it difficult to reverse in a straight line... well as i said it takes some practice...

I would definitely avoid a catamaran because of mooring problems in harbours. I have personally witnessed cats being asked (politely) to anchor in the bay, as they take up too much space in the harbour (marinas have no particular problem, they just charge you extra...).

Having said all that I am sure that you will enjoy sailing Greek (or Turkish) waters tremendously. Let me know if you want any more info on locations...

Last edited by Xoxonis; 04-22-2008 at 05:17 PM.
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post #14 of 17 Old 04-28-2008
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Welcome aboard. Courses are okay, but experience teaches the best scho0l and the lessons are longer remembered. There's a saying in tennis that applies to sailing as well: It takes a year to learn how to play tennis, it takes five years to become a tennis player.

s/v Paloma, Bristol 29.9, #141
Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
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post #15 of 17 Old 04-28-2008
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Sailing does not have to be all that expensive. The key is how you go about it, and a willingness to cruise the way that earlier sailors routinely went cruising. These days people seem to want to bring all of the comforts of home, but in times past, cruising was about leaving the complexities of shore life ashore. There are still many good solid, simple boats out there that can be purchased cheaply and these good basic boats can provide a great platform to learn to sail on.

Learning to sail, like any complex skill set, requires a kind of apprenticehip but the good news is that you are enjoying sailing while you are building skills.

I also second the suggestion that racing other people's boats is a cheap way to build skills.

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post #16 of 17 Old 04-28-2008
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My wife and I are taking a course this summer 7days/6 nights in the San Juans. We will be taking the courses for certification up to and including Bareboat: Basic Keel boat 101, Coastal crusing 103 and Bareboat Chartering 104 . The course we are taking has a lot of up front study as the school expects that we will have the basic knowledge BEFORE we show up
Texts: Sailing Fundamentals By Jobson; Cruising Fundamentals and Annapolis Book of Seamanship
We study as many Sundays as we can for at least 2-3 hours. It will take some committment on your part but it is doable.
Good Luck and Happy Sailing
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post #17 of 17 Old 05-06-2008
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thanks for all of the great info
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