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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 07-26-2010
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What's the best way to get started?

Hi all!

First post. I've always dreamed about buying a boat and sailing all over the world. Recently, I have decided to take the first step: buy one and learn to sail. I have a long way to go, but I'm going to start now. I have owned small motor boats in the past, so I know a thing or two about boating. I have been out on sailboats before, but I know nothing about sailing. Before I buy a boat and jump right into this thing, I figure I should learn how to do it and get some experience on different boats.

So....what is the best way to get my feet wet? I have looked into getting certifications, but it looks expensive! It would be ideal if I could connect with someone who needs an extra hand on the weekends, or something like that. Are there any websites where people post and link up like this? I live in San Diego, and there are tons of sailboats around. I figure there should be some type of a situation like this available.

Thanks everyone. All comments and help is much appreciated.

Dave
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Old 07-26-2010
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Yes, look in the sailing rags (boating stores) for ads. I think there's a section under "Crew wanted" San Diego harbor is a great place to learn although you have to keep an eye out for military traffic, etc... but overall a good place.
I would start out small and simple (e.g Cat rigged dinghies) in your area, you can get them pretty cheap, I would guess. Then as you get really comfortable, look for something bigger e.g Cal 20.....I would discourage you buying a 30 footer right away. You can learn a lot by sailing a small boat, dinghies,etc....very little overhead and maybe it can be stored at your house.
If you happen to find an experienced crew that will take you along ,that would also be a good choice. Best of luck
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Old 07-26-2010
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Walk the marinas and yacht clubs in the area and find out who runs weekday evening races. Lots of people need crew, if for nothing else than rail meat to start. Get on a few boats, LISTEN, and learn.....as you get better you will get to learn more. There are many very good sailors that don't own a boat but sail as much as they want because they are good crew.
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Old 08-14-2010
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I believe at the Mission Bay aquatic center you can do ala carte lessons or short classes and hourly dinghy rentals, and Mission Bay doesn't have the heavy traffic of the main bay. It looks like a good way to start.
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Old 08-14-2010
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I agree with the previous answers you have received; start small and work your way up. That doesn't mean you can't makes friends with the owners of larger boats and crew for them from time to time. But, you'll learn MUCH more by taking a dinghy out on a quiet body of water for an afternoon than you will watching someone else sail a 35-footer.

Read as much as you can, talk to people, get experience in different boats, and resist the temptation to buy a "proper yacht" (for lack of a better term) as long as you can. Then, when you can't stand it anymore and become a boat owner, you'll be in a much better position to get the right boat.

Good luck.
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Old 08-14-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgscpat View Post
I believe at the Mission Bay aquatic center you can do ala carte lessons or short classes and hourly dinghy rentals, and Mission Bay doesn't have the heavy traffic of the main bay. It looks like a good way to start.
I've never sailed on Mission bay, but I have spent a bit of time around it. It looks like a great place to learn to sail. I'm sure there are places there that offer basic sailing instruction. You don't need certification, but you do need to learn to sail. I would imagine that there would be some sailing clubs in that area, where you could sail a variety of small boats for not much money.

Once you know how to sail, and are down on the water a lot, you will run into opportunities to crew on larger boats.

FWIW, I think your approach, ie learn before you buy, is the most sensible.

Dave
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Old 08-14-2010
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PS About Mission Bay

In addition to the Mission Bay Aquatic Center and other schools and rental companies, I know that the Mission Bay Yacht Club has a very strong dinghy program and they do week evening races where people sail right by their porch. My son has sailed in Mission Bay at regattas hosted there and has found them to be very welcoming.
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Old 08-15-2010
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I'd add that reading can teach you a lot about the techniques and theories behind how a sailboat works. I generally recommend Dave Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor, as one of the better primers on sailing. While it isn't strictly speaking a learn-to-sail book, it works as one far better than many others I've seen.
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Old 08-16-2010
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Thanks a lot .that can help me to sail :>
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Old 08-16-2010
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I'd highly recommend just an introduction to dinghy sailing, these should not be too expensive. Almost all the sailing skills I have learned, I learned from learning on dinghies. It puts you on the helm as well as you will have to trim your own sails, this will teach you about the theories and needed skills to sail. There are many great big boat sailors out there, but those on top usually started out with dinghies.

I also would like to say that you made a good choice, instead of buying your own boat right away, you should learn how to sail and heck rent or sail with bigger boats first, do not rush things, it's almost like Marriage

Most of all Have fun!

TTFN
Arvin
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