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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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  #81  
Old 04-30-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

I moved across Canada to Vancouver. In 96 I was following the Vendee Globe and thought that these people surely must be mad. The whole Pete Goss/Raphael I found amazing. I then started reading anything on sailing and the crazy things sailors found themselves in. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Pete Goss knew he was hooked on sailing when he was sitting on the bow of a boat as they were cresting some monstrous swell and he was looking straight down. For some reason that mental image caused me to book my CYA basic course the next day.

Then for about 10 yr.'s I would read anything about boats to the point it was almost a sickness and I kept zeroing in on Lyle Hess boats. Then I decided that I had to have a Montgomery 17 but the search was on for one and 2010 I found the one I bought. With one successful sailing season behind me I now look forward to the many ahead.

What I found funny the most about looking back is how addicted to boats I became.I'm sure my circle of friends were sick to death of hearing about boats,sailing,Vendee,Lin & Larry,Lyle Hess,Pete Goss,Ellen Macarthur you get the idea. I really couldn't say who was more happy when I got my boat, my friends and girlfriend or me. Some commented to me " hopefully now you will shut the F up"

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Fabe
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  #82  
Old 04-30-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

Started with outboard skiff at age 8. When I was 20 staying at the Polynesian Resort at Disney World, looked out and saw a few small sailboats on the beach of the lagoon. Thought I'd give it a try, and was hooked. Went to Guam and Spain via Uncle Sam and was out every weekend on Catalina 22's--hook set!
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  #83  
Old 04-30-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

My dad brought home an old International Moth when I was about 7 years old, and he taught me and my brothers to sail on the muddy lakes near the small town in Alabama where we grew up, and on vacations we'd sail it on some lakes in central Florida. That little 11 foot boat seemed as big as a square-rigger to me at the time..........
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  #84  
Old 04-30-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

Oh wow, the memories coming back after reading these posts.

The first writing I did for this was very slim of words. Basically, I remember water and boats while standing along:
  • The Detroit River
  • Great Lakes
  • Mississippi River
  • lakes
  • ponds
  • sloughs
as a very small child. Then reading the posts brought more.
More memories of scout camps, friends of the family, friends, school groups and more during my early life.

If it went on, and even occasionally slightly under the water, I was on it. Power, sail, row, pole and paddle. Swimming, snorkling and scuba filled out my childhood, youth and very young adult life.

Then 38 years of high plains desert. A place where water arrived either in 2" rainfall (that is two inches between rain drops) or hail or snow. Lots of snow. But every year the average was a little less than 12" of moisture.

Now. A boat, the Chesapeake Bay and some time to play. Get to relive old memories while creating new. A chance to learn, and I forgot a lot that needs to be relearned too.
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  #85  
Old 04-30-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

I used to rig up canoes and rafts with sheets for the downwind stretch. Never forgot how much I loved messing about with all of that...

Just purchased a Cal 21 and am getting started on the real education...
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  #86  
Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

Emailed a friend about going to a conference. He emailed back that he was going to Mallorca to help a buddy who was bringing his boat back to Scotland from the Med. I emailed back wishing him a bon voyage and that if ever needed I would like to try my hand at crewing. He emailed me back saying they had a guy drop out and so had a spare plane ticket. Two days later I was on the boat for an 800nm leg.
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Old 05-04-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

My Dad built a couple of home made plywood kit boxes with his students when I was 5 years old. At the time nobody knew how to sail
Dad has gone on to be a instructor on both sides of the border, and has been the Ed Officer for a Squadron down south for 20 years or so
The bug caught on with my older brothers immediately. Oldest took classes on the "Pathfinder" out of Kingston
The other two took joy playing on Flying J's and Y Flyers. I was always the cautious one staying in the back ground.
30 years after that, having acquired the means, jumped in with almost no experience , and bought a 29 C&C. Still learning, but never a shortage of knowledgable crew
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  #88  
Old 05-05-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

I sustained a pretty severe injury at the age of three. As a result I was banned from any sports activities and, generally, was not free to be a kid. But shortly before my 12th birthday my father came to the realization just how much I was missing out on. Now divorced, my 'rents had a knock down dragged out argument about this. Even though my mother had custody, my father prevailed.

The following summer I was sent off to a sailing camp for a month. It was a small, family-owned place staffed with 20 people for about 75 kids. By now the concept of my need to approach life differently is totally ingrained in me. But the counselors hadn't been indoctrinated and simply said, "Mike, if you can't do this the way we would you will just have to figure out other ways." One day Chuck Melcher, the head of sailing, asked me how it was going. I explained I was having a hard time getting over the centerboard trunk (while handling the jib) fast enough to please the skippers (more skilled campers). No problem, he said, next time you race you'll be a skipper and there will be no obstacles in your way when you tack or jibe.

I was floored. I mean, I had been so marginalized the notion I could take control was completely foreign to me. But I had some successes, like winning 2nd place in a race. And when I returned in a subsequent year for the whole 2 month program I managed to get through it all. It was an eye-opening experience. And so it is no surprise I really latched onto sailing. One summer soon thereafter I was a deck hand aboard a yacht cruising the Virgin Islands. With that experience and others, a few years later the camp hired me as a sailing counselor. For two summers I had a cabin full of 11 and 12 year old kids who, oddly enough, looked up to me. It truly was a Catcher In The Rye experience. Eat your heart out, Holden Caufield!

Chuck and everyone else from way back, if you happen to read this please know I'm forever grateful for your guidance, kindness, and friendship.
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  #89  
Old 05-07-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

The wife and I had been talking about learning to sail over the last couple of years. Last fall we were able to find a used sailboat at a decent price so we bought. This past month or so we have been taking a rules of racing seminar at the local yacht club. After having met so many great people at this club we decided to join them for the fun. Several of the members have taken the time to be out with us on the water so that we are able to learn. So far it has been a great experience. Looking forward to many a good day sailing this year.
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Old 05-08-2012
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Re: How did you get your start in sailing?

Had a passing interest in sailing for a number of years. Grew up with lake powerboats and wanted to do something "not that". Life took a couple of unexpected turns and I ended up in a relationship with a woman from a sailing family and living in the SF Bay Area. Seeing all the sails out on the bay on the weekends convinced me this was the time and place to learn to sail.

After ignoring several of her pleading attempts at "Please don't buy a boat!". I found an old Ranger 23 that while not pretty had been well taken care of, didn't need any work (other than topside paint), and had a good reputation as a day sailer on the bay. Once the deal was done she became supportive and even sails with me on occasion

I had been out maybe a half dozen times on other people's boats but was still VERY inexperienced. I sort of just went for it. Getting in and out of the tiny little slip is still the most nerve wracking part of the day. Next is avoiding the: rowing races, dingy races, other sail boats, ferrys, tugs, and occasional huge container ship that all constitute traffic in the confined space of the Oakland Estuary. It took a couple months of stressing out while trying to sail in the estuary to realize it was much easier to just be out on the open bay.

I've single handed a few times now and I learn something new every time I go out. I have just reached the point where I'm inviting friends out for weekend sails which is almost like single handing although I can typically get them to drive or pull a line when needed.

Because I didn't take any "real" lessons and mainly learned by voraciously reading the books, the internet, and forums like this the learning process has had some really tense times. Sometimes it it as much about perseverance as fun and adventure. I'm still working on this one and hope to get comfortable enough to leave the worry behind soon.
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