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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 05-13-2008
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Taken a lesson now, buy or rent?

Having limited sailing experience (occasional crew with uncles as a kid/teen) I decided it best to read some books and then take a basic sailing class (with wife so she knows what we are getting into).

What we want, I think, is an older, comfortable bay cruiser, something in the 25'-33' range (wide range) for daysailing and weekending on the Chesapeake. Something like that is not in the budget right now, maybe next year or the following, and perhaps more importantly I would like to improve my skills before getting into a bigger boat. So that leaves me in a bit of a dilemma for this season, do I join a club with ~20-24' daysailers or purchase my very own inexpensive (kinda beat up) practice boat.

I've looked at a couple of clubs so far and my reservations with the club are: beat up boats, halyards not rigged to cockpit, limited hours and availability, no overnights, need to supply VHF, GPS.... And the cost of a club is comparable to a season of slip rental, but no maintenance for me.

I've looked at a few boats in the <$2k range and one I am currently considering is pretty beat up, but the big things are a crack at the top of the rudder, a couple of cracks at the underside of the deck (exposed foam core) and the need for some new ropes. Other than that all lines are rigged to the cockpit, it has a main traveler, a decent suite of sails and a decent outboard. I figure I could sail this for a year or 2 while I get more experience and the initial investment isn't too great.

I suppose a third option is to try to crew some races and rent-a-boat whenever I can. I'm within 30 minute drive to the Raritan and Chesapeake.

Any advice for a budding sailor?
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Old 05-13-2008
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There's nothing more expensive than a cheap boat like they say. The problems you mentioned sound pretty ugly, especially the cracked rudder. Hate to see you lose steerage.

Perhaps someone can recommend a good club in your area?
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Old 05-13-2008
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I teach sometimes, and think it's invaluable for a student to be able to go out in a daysailing boat and "try out" what was taught in the lesson.

But you don't have to buy a boat to do it, and since you're waiting to buy your "eventual" boat, the club may be a good option. Or, find another club where they race, and offer yourself as a beginner crew. Lots of these I would think around the Chesapeake.

Or if you want your own boat, get a small one, maybe even a singlehander like a Laser or a Sunfish. The principles are the same, the budget impact is smaller, and any repairs won't eat up your wallet.

Best of luck whatever you decide.
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Old 05-13-2008
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I'd also say go the club route, I spent my first summer of sailing at Community Boating - Boston, MA, sailing daysailers as often as I could, which quickly became all day Saturdays and Sundays and most evenings. I bought my first boat, a 23' the next spring. I think there is no learning substitute for time in the boat, the more time the better, plus some opportunity to sail with more experienced sailors. serving as race crew is excellent.

Community Boating is a non-profit, adult membership is only $229 and you can use a boat as often as you wish, although you may have to wait on the dock a bit if you are there when the crowd arrives, Sat/Sun afternoons. You should check in your area for a similar club, otherwise pay more for a plac ewith bigger boats, perhaps less use of them.

Buy something next year if you both are still in the game.
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Last edited by sailingfool; 05-13-2008 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 05-13-2008
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I agree, the club is probably the best way to go. While cost is close to slip fee price there is no maint/improvemnt costs, insurance, rego, etc... that go along. Some clubs do offer cruising memberships that allow overnighting/extended cruising. Don't get hung-up on the "all lines lead to cockpit" thing. Much better to learn what they do the old school way before worrying about things like that. (What if something breaks and you HAVE to go to the mast?)

Try J World in Annapolis. I think they offer both daysailing and cruising and you should be able to crew for Wed. races some if you are interested. However, if your current screen name is correct you may have some issues getting accepted to many clubs.
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Old 05-13-2008
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Find a yacht club, like mine Welcome To The Yacht Club of Cape St. Claire, close to where you want to sail. Send a email to the commodore (me in the above case) and see if they can hook you up with a sailor. I do this routinely, it's part of the duties and responsibilities I love most.
We 'race' fridays. It's more about sailing the course as best you can than speed demons with Mylar sails. For you, it's free.
The best way to learn to sail is free, on someone elses boat. The down side is you only learn to sail as good as the skipper/owner of that boat. The up side is you have a heck of a lot of fun and meet fellow sailors for free.

Buying a beater can have liabilities. Not just slip fees, maintenance etc - but if it's really a beater you will not be able to sell it (or even donate it, ask me how I know) - you will have to pay more to trash it (yes, cut it up and haul it off) than the boat cost.
Think it through, find and make a sailing buddy. Sailnet or local yacht clubs are a good place to start.
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Old 05-13-2008
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I'd second Community Boating, if you're in the Boston area. I spent many days sailing on their fleet of Cape Cod Mercuries.
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Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
I'd also say go the club route, I spent my first summer of sailing at Community Boating - Boston, MA, sailing daysailers as often as I could, which quickly became all day Saturdays and Sundays and most evenings. I bought my first boat, a 23' the next spring. I think there is no learning substitute for time in the boat, the more time the better, plus some opportunity to sail with more experienced sailors. serving as race crew is excellent.

Community Boating is a non-profit, adult membership is only $229 and you can use a boat as often as you wish, although you may have to wait on the dock a bit if you are there when the crowd arrives, Sat/Sun afternoons. You should check in your area for a similar club, otherwise pay more for a plac ewith bigger boats, perhaps less use of them.

Buy something next year if you both are still in the game.
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Old 05-13-2008
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Okay......I'LL Ask.........

are you a Senator or Congressman? or just a fan?

cuz if you are.......then I have some questions for you........
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I would humbly suggest crewing on club race nights, etc... and taking out the club boat whenever it's available to you.

If you spend $2k on a boat this year, and we'll say for argument's sake that you don't spend any money fixing/maintaining it this year, that's $2k that you won't have next fall when you want to buy your 30-footer. It's not a given that you'll be able to unload the $2k boat right away for the $2k that you spent buying it... Just a thought.
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Old 05-13-2008
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I certainly have no particularly good insight other than what you have received above, but, you are asking good questions and ABSOLUTELY MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION getting back in to sailing.

Welcome!

David
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