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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 05-29-2008
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Talking My learn to sail experience!

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Last edited by merlin2375; 02-19-2009 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 05-29-2008
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Nice post.

Thanks
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Old 05-29-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin2375 View Post
I'm not sure there's anything than better than being out on the water.
Sex and phenol barbitol are better.
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Old 05-29-2008
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Great post Merlin!

Hawg...the only thing NOT better on the water is irritabe bowl syndrome, as you well know!
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Old 05-29-2008
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Thanks Cam/Frog....glad you guys enjoyed. Positive rep always welcome [g]

Questions/comments/additions welcome! Hope this thread can be a resource for those looking to get into the game!
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Old 05-29-2008
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I'll add a thing or two.
Merlin has talked quite abit about how to go about learning the 'fun' part of sailing: to wit the making the boat move through the water.

Look around at this forum and note how many of the threads are not about 'how do I trim my sails' - uh uh, most are about - 'help my ??? broke and I don't know how to fix it'.
Small boats are nice - they have no systems that need repair and upgrade that are more complicated than a level and pulley system.

Bigger boats require bigger systems, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Hydraulic etc.
I'm one of those guys that learned by buying a bigger boat and diving into the whole gesalt of sailing and boating head first.
Get your library of maintenance books out and start reading, take community college classes in diesel engine maintenance and repair, electrical system repair, theory etc, etc. etc. ad nauseum etc.
There is no side of the road to pull over to when water is coming in at 3000 gallons per hour and your bilge pump is rated at 2000 gph at zero head.
How many of you even know what your bilge pump is rated at, and how to recalculate for the head you have (how many of you know what I mean when I say head - and it's not bathrooms on board so wipe so the smile of your face if you said that).
Dinghy's don't have fire extinquishers, Nav lights, and usually only know racing rules right of way problems. They don't have batteries that must be recharged, topped off or have daily load calculations and charging concerns.
You will never, in a dinghy, need to know how many gallons of water you need per day per crew just to get by, and seldom worry about medical supplies and communications devices and how many, what types etc.. you should carry.

They say chess takes minutes to learn and a life time to master, sailing is as simple as chess, or far more complex.

Learning starts with feeling the wind on your face and the tiller in your hand. Learning never ends; and that my friends is the joy of sailing.
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Old 05-29-2008
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I read a couple of books, bought a small, cheap boat and taught myself. I then crewed on bigger boats racing, read lot's more books and bought a big boat. Reading and hands on have always worked for me. Nice post by the OP BTW.
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Old 05-29-2008
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Thanks, this is a really helpfull post to me. I'm just at the point where I'm questioning my options on how to learn. Sailing club? buy a cheap boat? etc.
Luckily I work at a library, and share a cubicle with a circumnavigator. So I have some book learning, and lots of great inspirational stories. But I still need to get my feet wet
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Old 05-29-2008
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Excellent post, Merlin, I hope it helps anyone else out there who is contemplating learning to sail.

My viewpoint is that of an instructor. I occasionally teach sailing as a part-time gig, and am interested in students' feedback, so thanks, what you said rings true.

I agree that the best sailors come from small boats, so learn on the small sloops, then you can sail the big stuff. Not necessarily vice-versa.

And I also agree (mostly) that the only way to learn sailing is to get on the helm and sail. When I teach, I honestly try never to touch the helm unless it's a true emergency, which it almost never is.

I agree about read, read, read, with a small reservation: I think the reading can only take you so far, then you have to sail, and handle the helm and the sheets. Then read, now it will make more sense. Then sail. Then read again. Book learning will only take you so far, though it's valuable.

Would I guess correctly that you came out of Community Boating in Boston?? A great place. I learned how to sail a little north of there, and now I have the privilege of teaching way down south, on Lake Pontchartrain.

Best wishes, and thanks for an informative post.
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Old 05-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Learning starts with feeling the wind on your face and the tiller in your hand. Learning never ends; and that my friends is the joy of sailing.
I couldn't agree more with this statement. Thanks for posting the additions. I often find myself asking maintenance questions and poking around when I'm crewing just to get an idea of what owner's are dealing with.

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Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
I read a couple of books, bought a small, cheap boat and taught myself. I then crewed on bigger boats racing, read lot's more books and bought a big boat. Reading and hands on have always worked for me. Nice post by the OP BTW.
Thanks Charlie!

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Originally Posted by ShockValue View Post
Thanks, this is a really helpfull post to me. I'm just at the point where I'm questioning my options on how to learn. Sailing club? buy a cheap boat? etc.
Luckily I work at a library, and share a cubicle with a circumnavigator. So I have some book learning, and lots of great inspirational stories. But I still need to get my feet wet
Glad the post helped. Get those feet wet! Get out there and find a way on the water

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Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
Excellent post, Merlin, I hope it helps anyone else out there who is contemplating learning to sail.
Thanks nolatom! I also agree with you on the reading, that's a great point. In fact, the difference between a tack and gybe (something now taken for granted) didn't really make sense to me until I had sailed a few times!
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