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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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View Poll Results: How did you get your start in sailing!
No formal instruction, just bought a boat and went for it 140 33.10%
No formal instruction, grew up sailing with family/friends 104 24.59%
No formal instruction, sailed with friends/family as an adult 54 12.77%
Formal instruction, US Sailing 22 5.20%
Formal instruction, ASA 55 13.00%
Military service lead to sailing 19 4.49%
Just crewed around randomly 8 1.89%
The boom hit my head on an accidental gybe, I can't remember 9 2.13%
Got in through racing for the most part 12 2.84%
Voters: 423. You may not vote on this poll

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  #101  
Old 05-25-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

When I was one my father was a (the) radio announcer at the only radio station in the Bahamas. We all lived on a 40' Tahiti Ketch. It was around 1959. I was dressed in diapers and life preserver as was my older sister, w/o the diaper of course. She fell in a couple of times. She also drank paint thinner out of a Campbell Soup Can. She's Fine now. Sorta. Today, on my fireplace mantel is a conch horn that dad had used for signalling on that Ketch The Valiant and Later Schooner Privateer. We would fight over who was going to call the launch. When there was a launch. Ya know I think I'll put that horn back into service. That schooner was once owned by Burl Yves Don't ya know? He called it the Bahama Mama. That was about 1930. He was the second owner. Boy she was fast. I had a favorite book when I was young called Seabird. Lots of illustrations. It was about a boy who spent a season on a whaling ship. There was a drawing of him clutched to the tip of the bowsprit, holding a carved seagull on the end of a stick that would appear to be flying. I would spend hours at the end of the bowsprit on Privateer thinking of that image. Gosh I loved it out there.
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  #102  
Old 05-31-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

well....we had a friend who kept a Goman Express 20 in a slip at Lake Ray Hubbard. They did not have time to get much use out of it, so they loaned us their key to the marina, which is fabulous, by the way.
I had never actually been on any kind of boat, I just thought the sailboats were so beautiful, and would spend hours just watching them off the balcony of our lake front town home.
Unlike so many things that appear beautiful until you actually get familiar with them. Sailing was so much more amazing than I ever thought it would be.
We were able to use "Fast Dancer" for four years, until the owner decided to pull her out and sell her. We had already decided that we needed a much bigger boat, as we have often been chuckled at and told that we looked like a refugee boat.
As we got ready to say our last good-bye to our beloved little first experience, we instead,bought her, knowing that she is not what we need to accommodate our large family and opportunistic friends. (which we happen to be some of and appreciate the art thereof)
There is probably a share time among the other owners in the marina with video and pictures of some of our greatest stupid moments, such as in our first year when we would have the whole lake to ourselves, feeling very much as though we held some great secret, only to discover after a bit of education and experience that we are lucky we did not end up at the bottom of Lake Ray Hubbard. I shudder now as I think of the blissful ignorance of 25-30 mph wind, gusting higher, when now anything above 15 causes me to reef so I don't spill my beer. I had no idea what a reef was, or the concept of reducing sail. We just assumed all those sails were meant to be used and the big ones must be better!
I tend to be super optimistic (naive and ignorant) and figure if people have been doing it forever, how hard can it be? Obviously the more we learned, the more we realized just how ignorant we were and have since, began to try to educate ourselves. I did say that was the first year, right? There are so many other stupid moments that I am much too embarrassed to share for now.
We were going to keep her in the slip at Ray Hubbard, but Tim, the husband will be working in South Texas for the next year, so we are taking her with us. I am so glad that we have this little bit of experience behind us. I am quite sure that my optimism would have lead us to a nasty situation down there in The Gulf. I can hear myself saying things like; "Don't worry Tim, Earnest shakelton crossed the ocean in twenty foot boats on his journey to Elephant Island! We got this!"
Fortunately, I am over this portion of my sailing life as we begin more of our education in the bay with our little boat, until we buy the "big boat" and begin our light cruising to somewhere very close and non-intimidating.
Right now, she is sitting in the yard on her trailer waiting for me to finish sanding all the "Surprise", endless blisters she has before I can get her bottom in shape for the bay. Oh and we are thinking we might get a VHF, some real lights(Not the clamp on ones we have been using, new lines, safety equipment, a depth meter, a new motor that doesn't die, (although I have gotten totally great at working on it in the middle of the lake when stranded) and on and on......yep she needs one of everything, but how could we have resisted buying her? .......she has great cushions
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  #103  
Old 06-01-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

I bought a boat 3 years ago and grew up sailing with family/friends. I sailed my one boat to my friend before 4 months.
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  #104  
Old 06-05-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

when I was 12 and we lived on a lake, 1mile X 1mile, and a plane flew over the house and it dropped a pod that looked like a torpedo. it was bolted together , so I un-bolted it and that gave me two, I cut out some ply wood and sealed it to the pods, and made a hobie type sailboat out of it . the woods gave me the mast and boom and the rest of the ply gave me the rudder, Mom sewed the sails out of some old sheets. I thought at the time that the wider the dagger board the better, and I quickly found out that I could sail like crazy down wind and had to call Dad to come get me and pull me back home . and after a few times of that Dad told me that if I wanted to sail, that I had to go to the books and figure out why I could not turn around . (dagger board only needed to be 1 foot wide not 4 ft. and after that it was all over for me, I was hooked on sailing and here we are some 50 years later and 12 sailboat later , I'm 68 now and wife and I sail a 30 ft sloop out of lake michigan , and I talked to a sailboater today that is 89 years old and I hope that will be me at that age. Seabee
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  #105  
Old 06-05-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

I went sailing a couple of times as a teen...totally a passenger! Loved it though!

Then quite some time later on a lake in an 18' cat boat a couple times. Got to take the helm those times shortly. Gusty as could be. Small lake, lots of coves.

Then some years again later a friend offered me an O'day 22 just to get it out of his yard. It needed everything! Got her all fixed up and the wife hired a guy from cape cod to come sail with us. He got us out for about 3 hours and said, "you should be all set." I'll head back now. We dropped him off back at the marina and went back out on our own.

I sailed on the Taunton river nearly every day after that. On my own mostly, after work. Again very gusty and lots of surprises. The wind would come howling down the streets onto the river like a tunnel...kept me on my toes and had to make lots of tacks and gibes in short order.

Then moved out to Mt. hope bay and then out to Narragansett bay and now I've just purchases a 1973 Viling 33 that needed everything! I should have her in this month I hope! I'm on Buzzards bay now. A whole new experience awaits!
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  #106  
Old 06-05-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

SeaBee- that's a GREAT story! Love the ingenuity!
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  #107  
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

Sailfish on Lake Maxinkuckee, Culver, Indiana, age 13 - who knew how this would stay with me all these years . . .
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  #108  
Old 06-07-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

We are reading many books on sailing, trying to understand the basics. We will be totally new to sailing and really enjoy family adventure stories. For us reading about their everyday experiences offers a great insight to the sport.
We find all lesson books offer their own techniques and it becomes confusing from book to book. It would be nice to find a lesson book the just talks about the basics and leave the special techniques for later?
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

I give friends the U.S. Sailing "Basic Keelboat" text when they are starting to sail - works much better than the big tells you everything books - I have found the larger books have too much for beginners.
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  #110  
Old 06-07-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

My first boy scout merit badge was sailing! Was hooked at a very early age!
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