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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 03-10-2008
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Post First sail in 25 years

I took sailing lessons 25 yrs ago and hav not sailed since. I am now 57 and once again the love for sailing has gotten a strong, caressing hold on my heart My question is - I live over 2 hrs away from the closest sailing body of water - lake Erie. I know I could go to Erie and sail but I have found nothing that offers my next choice.

So I am considering going to Blue Water Sailing School and take the 7 days live aboard class which will get me three certificates. The A101, A103, and A104. My future desire is to eventually own a boat and possibly do some cruising with my wife. Please give me your HONEST opinion on my choice of BWSS.

I realize that if I take the BWSS course I am still 2 hrs away from a sailing body of water and it will be quit some time before we can float a boat

Thanks,
John Stahl
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Old 03-10-2008
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We live 2.5 hours away from Lake Champlain (where we keep our boat). From May through October - Every Friday afternoon we make the drive up, and every Sunday evening we make the drive back. We now consider our house "where we bide our time" until we can get to our real home on the weekends.
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Old 03-10-2008
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Not sailing when you want to is a shame. How far are you from a decent sized inland lake? Anything around there big enough for something like a Catalina 22 in a slip? (hauling and launching is a pain in the butt IMHO). Sailing's sailing, after all. Something close by would get you out on the weekends and maybe in the evening. A 22 footer is big enough to have a head on it and modest accommodations for comfortable day sailing. Just a thought.

You didn't ask, but given the fact that you're equidistant from the ocean and Lake Erie, consider that Lake Erie is salt-free and maybe less expensive? Of course you're connected to the other Great Lakes for extended cruising (I'm on Lake Michigan btw).

Bottom line, again IMHO, is to get your mitts on a tiller on a regular basis. I have no knowledge of the bluewater school, but can agree that the certification will allow you to charter. But, there's nothing like many many hours on the tiller in all kinds of weather and conditions to sharpen your skills and reflexes, and to make sailing second nature. I wouldn't under-estimate a good sized inland lake for developing your sailing. And those skills you develop on a 22 footer will transfer to your 30 some odd footer veeeery well.
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Old 03-10-2008
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We are an hour and a half drive away from our Marina.
Like Labatt, we make the drive up on Friday evening and return on Sunday evening every weekend.
I would not let a two hour drive back and forth deter you.
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Old 03-10-2008
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We had a two hour drive each way to my boat. Four years ago The Admiral I got tired of it and devised a three year plan to sell the house and move. Six weeks later we bought our current house (we can see our boat out our kitchen window) - THEN we sold the old house.

Wouldn't try that in today's market, but priortites are priorities.

Last year we bought a new boat with a ten year 'plan' to pack up and go south...I think that means we are overdue to leave.
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Old 03-10-2008
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Sailing quandry

I'm new at this forum thing so please be patient with me. Most all the answers were the same advice. It would be cheaper for me to go to lake Erie and take basic sailing lessons rather than BWSS and then get a boat. Also there is a lake within 45 mins. that I could sail on But I really want to be on a bigger body of water.

Not to mention what may be my bigger problem, convincing my wife to buy a boat. That is why I thought about taking the 7 day course so we might be able to charter and introduce her to sailing that way. No matter, I appreciate all of the input. Please continue to give me your thoughts. And if anyone knows anyone or anywhere on Erie I might get hooked up to sail please let me know.

John
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Old 03-10-2008
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John...you need to take her to the BWSS in the Bahamas. After that...SHE will never let up UNTIL you buy a boat!! First things first!!
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Old 03-10-2008
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Get a smaller boat and use it on the lake. You'll meet plenty of people with larger boats and can rent larger boats on either lake Erie or the ocean. Start with what's closest and less expensive. Then you won't feel bad if you beat it up alittle. You'll get to learn more. I'd get some more expierence then take the wife out. It will make her feel much safer. Plus you won't be as worried about who's watching.
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Old 03-10-2008
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I'd second cam's suggestion... getting the admiral on your side is always helpful. It is much easier to act if the admiral authorizes your actions than to beg for forgiveness or apologize.

A smaller boat would be a good way to keep your sailing skills fresh. A pocket cruiser, like a Catalina 22, might be a good choice, since it would also allow you to practice skills like anchoring, overnighting, provisioning, etc.
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Old 03-10-2008
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There's been a thread or two about BWSS. We went with them and were very happy.

edit: I tried to link to an old thread and it didn't work, try a search for "BWSS"
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"... the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my alloted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze." - Richard Bode, First you have to row a little boat (pg. 94)

Last edited by ReverendMike; 03-10-2008 at 05:37 PM.
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