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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2010
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2010
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I'm sorry to see this thread turn into a heated debate. Having read other threads on this and other web sites which turned nasty I cannot imagine such a direction will be beneficial for anyone. Let's hope it doesn't get any worse. Having said that, I can offer a thought or two.

I was taught to sail in a structured program back in 1974, when I was 12. As it was the only sport permitted me, due to medical issues, I really embraced it. Ultimately, I became a sailing instructor and operated a small business to that end. I also sought out sailing opportunities both near and far; the blue water experience -- offered by some truly gracious and open-minded people -- was enough for me to realize I ought to pursue a USCG license, which I earned in 1987 and put to good use for several more years. What a great time it was!

But life has a way of tricking some of us who think we want more from it. I went back to grad school and traded my shorts, t-shirts and bare feet for suits and ties. In doing so, I almost completely gave up sailing for 12 years. At that point I had a chance to step back; it was then that I realized I was missing something that had become important to me long ago.

I've been back on the water now for three years. But I feel far less competent now than before the career change. The long hiatus from sailing was, no doubt, detrimental to my boating skills. While I have maintained the hard-earned license all these years and likely know more than I give myself credit, paper knowledge and practical skill are two different things. As such, I have often thought about seeking out more formal training even if only to fill in the gaps I intuitively feel I now have. And so, FWIW, I too believe that structured instruction by well-versed pros is worthy of consideration -- even for those with plenty of prior experience. As Bubblehead put it in his title, "It is nice to know"!

Last edited by Michael K; 04-03-2010 at 10:58 AM.
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  #13  
Old 04-03-2010
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Great Post Michael,

I took a similar route, but in reverse. I sailed recreationally for many years, while doing the suit and tie routine. Knowing that I would retire early, and still want to be productive, I went through all the ASA instructor qualification clinics and I'm now on my second 100 ton masters license.

I will say, that while I felt myself to be a competent sailor/boater, when I began the ASA instructor Quals, and USCG process; I have learned more in the last 8 years than I did in the 1st 30.

As with most knowledge; the more we know, the more we realize what we don't know.

The internet has opened up yet another dimension of information sharing that was unavailable when I was learning. Sites like this and others allow real life experiences and knowledge to be shared at the speed of light. I've mined these sites for a few years now. The wealth of information here can't be found in magazines.
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Guys,

Please take a deep breath and relax, and don't make us have to stop this car.....;-)

I learned as a kid, partly from my dad, with no classes, and mostly by making mistakes in a Turnabout woodie (they all were, back then). Then raced, then raced and coached in college/grad school.

Now I teach ASA Basic Keelboat part-time. There are many ways to learn, and home-grown is one of them. You learn your mistakes the hard way, as I did, so you never forget them. That's good.

Or you can take the class, and benefit from the mistakes I made the hard way without necessarily having to make them (or at least all of them) yourself. That's also good.

So, choose your poison. Each is "good" poison. But I think I learned better and faster as a kid than I would as an adult, with more demands on my time and attention. If starting out now, I'd probably take the class, since I would have fewer years left to "uningrain" bad habits than I did decades ago.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempest View Post

As with most knowledge; the more we know, the more we realize what we don't know.
That's absolutely true. And so, imagine how much more we don't know if we haven't gotten that far! And, as in my case, imagine how disconcerting it feels to know one has forgotten a variety of bits and pieces in absentia. In other words, both those new or old to the sport have plenty to (re)learn, and likely better done when around one another. Why, I bet if Bubblehead invited me for a sail, I'd certainly (re)gain some skill in the process (hint...hint).

Last edited by Faster; 04-03-2010 at 06:26 PM. Reason: fix quote
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Old 04-03-2010
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I went out for another sail today and had time to think about it.

First, I'm not eschewing structured courses. I still hope to attend some. This whole thing was not intended as a "nyah-nyah". I'm not going to re-hash what I said above.

Second, there is a wealth of knowledge here. That's why I turn to forums whenever I learn something new. However there are a few people here (not i2f specifically, but he's working hard at it) who have made this one of the most un-welcoming places on the web that I've ever visited. There are some good, encouraging people here, like Smack, Charlie Cobra and a few others but they are being drowned out by the "Doom & Gloom Brigade". Smack is practically a pariah, which is a terrible shame.

I've decided that I'm not going to "do ugly" with i2f or anyone else. I have 2 other sailing forums for quick information that have a more encouraging atmosphere, I live in Annapolis so I have access to structured education, and I've been invited to be rail meat on a few racing boats, so there's really no need for me to stay here and roll in the mud with the D & G Brigade.

My friends already know how to contact me. For those of you who have provided useful information without a shovel full of bad attitude, many thanks. To everyone else, I say

Fair winds and following seas.
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  #17  
Old 04-03-2010
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Old 04-03-2010
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It sorta amazes me when people think that something they just picked up is like some holy grail of knowledge.

Uh...people have been sailing since recorded history. Some guy ( or chick, who knows) looked at the wind, and a log, and thought 'hey, if the wind is pushing me...when I put this palm frond up, and hold it on the floating log....will it push me and the log?"

I know it feels like rocket science to a lot of people, but the basic thing is that it's about as natural as it gets. Observe a bird, closely. You have it.
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Old 04-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
Smack is practically a pariah, which is a terrible shame.
Hey - WTH do you mean "practically"? I guess I need to work harder.

Love,

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Proudly Serving as SN's Pariah Since 2008
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Old 04-03-2010
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I have a firm grasp of the fundamentals and that I am not a hazard to myself or others
Isn't that what they used to say to the special kids at school?

Follow your path, wherever it may lead, and have fun doing it.
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