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tausap 05-26-2008 03:26 AM

Questions from a newbie.
Hi All,

Total n00b here, 1st post, so please excuse any stupid questions.

I have been taking the ASA 101 & 103 courses and am almost finished, one more lesson to go. I have been bitten by the bug hard and spend all my time either on the computer looking at sailing and boat sites, reading sailing books, or cruising harbors, marinas, and anywhere else there are sailboats checking out the scene and the boats. I am hoping to buy an inexpensive used 22 - 27 foot boat to continue gaining experience on over the next few years and, of course, I have the dream of quitting my job and cruising when my kids are out of the house in 5 more years. In the meantime I intend to take more ASA courses to get some education.

I am hoping for any good advice, gained from experience by those of you who have been doing this for a while, on what to do/not do while I gain experience and work towards a cruising life someday. I want to learn as much as possible without putting myself and any others sailing with me at undue risk. For instance, how do I learn how to deal with weather? If I always avoid it I will never learn how to deal with it. On the other hand, I do not want to put myself in a situation over my head.

I work as an airline pilot and I like to think back to when I learned to fly over 25 years ago and liken myself to the newly minted private pilot I was at that time. As a new pilot, one knows just barely enough to go out by oneself and get killed if not careful. On the other hand, it was some of the experiences which scared me which taught me the most. I assume it is that way with sailing... as I gain experience I will continue to test my skills and knowledge and occasionally get a good lesson, I just want to know which ones to avoid ahead of time if you have any tips.


sailingdog 05-26-2008 07:04 AM

Avoid lightning... that's a bad one.. :) Don't let the boom hit you... that's a bad one too.

Welcome to sailnet. I'd highly suggest you read the post in my signature to help you get the most out of your time here on sailnet.

I'd also recommend you get and read and use as a reference, David Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor. It is one of the best written, basic sailing primers and covers a fairly wide range of subjects as well as has good (and amusing) illustrations to back the writing up.

Joining a sailing club or yacht club is a good idea, if it gets you time on boats. Before trying to buy your first boat, sail on as many different types of boats as you can, so you can at least have an idea of what you're looking for in a first boat. Crewing on weekly beer can races is also a good way to get a lot of experience, since a lot of what you learn racing applies to cruising.

A few things to remember:
  • If you're thinking about reefing the sails, do it.
  • One hand for you, one hand for the boat.
  • When singlehanding, wear your PFD and STAY ON THE BOAT. That means using a tether and harness.
  • Don't hit anyone else's boat. Don't get hit by anyone else's boat.
  • Pointy end forward, black side down, big stick up. :)

landlockvasailor 05-26-2008 08:54 AM

You will find that these ladies and gentlemen are very helpful and have a wide knowledge base. I have asked a number of questions and attempted to answer several, to some degree, but you wll find it very friendly group


tausap 05-26-2008 01:14 PM

Thanks for the advice, and good posting link sailingdog. How about the Annapolis Book of Seamanship? I've been reading that and it seems very good.


Freesail99 05-26-2008 01:29 PM

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is a great book and new and old sailors could learn a lot from it.

dongreerps 05-26-2008 01:53 PM

newbie questions
The best place to learn to sail is . . . on the water. Before buying yourself a boat hang around the local sailboat racing scene, volunteering to serve as crew. Crewing on a racing boat you will very quickly learn more about sail trim, rules of the road, how to make good distance to weather, and all sorts of other good things. All at somebody else's expense. After you get a reputation as good crew, you will have lots of opportunity to crew on different types of boats, which will help you decide which boat you want for yourself. Furthermore, one of the joys of sailing is the really nice people you meet. Enjoy

Leland 05-26-2008 02:00 PM

Buy This Book
I recommend the Annapolis Book of Seamanship as #1 for beginning sailors. I read a book to help me get sailing and was doing alright. once I read this book I realized all the things I was doing wrong aor not doing altogether! Spend the money on it. You will not be disappointed.

camaraderie 05-26-2008 03:06 PM


Originally Posted by tausap (Post 320185)
Thanks for the advice, and good posting link sailingdog. How about the Annapolis Book of Seamanship? I've been reading that and it seems very good.


Brett...welcome...and yes it is a very good book. John R. is a member here and posts from time to time.

nolatom 05-26-2008 09:28 PM

What dongreerps said.

I teach from time to time, and tell my students (once they've learned the basics) to hook on to a racing crew list, and crew whenever asked (or just show up and look for a ride). Do what's asked, pay attention, and you'll get essentially free sailing lessons and free beer too.

I think your weather question will answer itself in due time. Don't go out looking for it, for it will find you eventually, and you'll learn from it when it comes. No sense intentionally rushing it, any more than you would rush emergency evasion maneuvers in a car (or whatever the equivalent is in an aircraft).

Sailing's easier than flying in this respect: if we manage to stall or otherwise screw up the wind flow over the airfoil, it only hurts our speed, while the ocean still holds us up. Not so for you aviators...;-)

hunter27 05-29-2008 10:14 PM

Get out and sail, its the best teacher!

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