New (at 50 yoa) to sailing, and thinking I wanted to crew on a friend's 25 foot race boat (and perhaps get a 25 foot boat of my own some day), I did as the skipper requested of all his new crew and took a basic sailing class at the local small sailboat club, in dinghies. At the end of the course, I had an entirely new perspective - I realized that nothing about sailing was instinctive to me. Every sport I've ever loved, I have worked to develop the automaticity that allows you to fine-tune, focus, and explore limits. I was surprised (& humbled) by my complete lack of natural ability. I knew after 3 weeks, I did not have the skills/autamaticity that I wanted to bring onto a boat (certainly not someone else's under race conditions). Ended up buying a dinghy, and now a Laser with no regrets. Having fun learning has become an end in itself.
Arguments in favor of dinghies that I haven't seen mentioned is that a person with a smaller boat is more liable to get out and actually sail it, and the generally smaller $ investment to get started (are you folks all trust-funders?
retired bankers? you lucky SOB's!).
cool. Lasers rock.
"Having fun learning being an end in itself."
man, that hits it on the head! A huge part of sailing!
That line grabbed me.
Sailing is about having fun and learning.
Here's the thing:
folks interested in "learning to sail" have many options. Keelboat, dinghy, kiteboard, cat, windsurfer, racing, lake cruising, crewing on race boats, etc. Any, and all, are good ways to enter the game. Start on "whatever floats your boat." All are different. Start anywhere. The learning is the fun. The cool thing is that it continues to be fun!
A feeling of not having a natural ability is normal. You'll get the "natural" feeling of steering, shifting weight, decent sail trim, avoiding lumps on the head, reacting to gusts, surfing, and being in control soon. Likely, you will continue to enjoy "learning" for many years. There's always more to learn, if you wish. There are lots of ways to get started with sailing. It's not that hard to learn basics that will get you home safely. Thinking, learning, improving, challenges, are all part of the fun!
Cool that you got your first sailboat and are enjoying it!
Trust funders? I think it's more about folks that are hooked on sailing. Lots of the bigger boat owners have saved, borrowed, sold the house, drive crappy cars, etc to get the boat of their dreams. I think the trust fund guys are diving large powerboats.
For others starting out:
Go sailing. It won't take long to figure out what floats your boat. There are lots of starting points. The learning is fun.