Originally Posted by Shortnsalty
Scanning through this part of the forum I notice that for someone like myself it's a little a little advanced for greenhorns like myself. So can anyone suggest any good websites for "learning to sail"?
Also I am looking to take lessons. Anyone have a suggestion for the south Fl. area?
Find a local YC that has wednesday night (usually) racing and offer yourself up. Just be clear that you're keen but with no experience, worst thing you could do is lie about experience. Someone will take you, plenty of boats need ballast... maybe after a few outings of hanging out on the high side and handing out beer, ask if you can trim some sails on the way back in from the race, grow from there.
Be there early, ask a lot, don't be afraid to just talk to people and if they don't need crew if they could point you to someone who does. Once on the boat, observe, and if things seem chill feel free to ask a couple small questions esp if they're something like "okay, so for the next x what should I do / where should I be?" Stay late and help put the boat away, then once that's done ask alllll the questions you like.
That's how I did it 3 or 4 years ago, now I'm the crew boss/tactician/jib&spinnaker trimmer... sometimes racing (and winning) helm, do the odd tour of duty on the foredeck. Next week I'll be doing my 6th ocean crossing.... first Newport-Bermuda though. For one design racing I regularly trim/tactics/drive a J/24, do main or spin trim on a J/105... and sail all sorts of weird and wonderful things in handicap racing.
Just get out there and do it... racers aren't scary, they don't bite, and most desperately want to get people involved in sailing. You don't have to end up being a racer yourself, but there isn't a much faster way to learn the basics I think. You may also find "the complete sailor" handy so you'll understand what's going on on the boat when you're out