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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #21  
Old 08-06-2010
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nolatom will become famous soon enough
Sailed with family around age 7, but really learned (the hard way) starting about age 10 when they got me a Turnabout (11-foot kids' boat, very popular then up East). Then learned how to sail faster by getting the snot beat out of me in races.

I was lucky, my dad was a yacht broker/dealer, and at 17 I was doing the occasional delivery around New England when someone bought a boat and wanted it delivered (to someplace with no sales tax, like New Hampshire). I had taken a Power Squadrons Course at age 14, which taught me chart work and navigation.

Then my "finishing school" was racing in college, and later coaching that same team during grad school.

Did I 'teach myself'? In a way I did, but I had lots of 'role models'. And I had to get rid of some bad habits I 'taught myself'.

Now, as a grayhead, I get to teach others part-time.

Lucky guy, huh?
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  #22  
Old 08-06-2010
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I spent time on a few wind jammers when in Maine on vacations over the years. I've always loved sail boats. Finally I bought a Hunter 23 at my Yacht club, because everyone said "get a smaller boat first" I learned on my own like many others I just went out there after reading a few books. In less then a year I sold the 23 and went for the Oday 30. Which I should have looked for first!
It was said to me one day "you can learn to sail in 1/2 hour, and spend the rest of your life improving how you sail."
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  #23  
Old 08-06-2010
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cruisingdream is on a distinguished road
Taught myself on a 22 foot chrysler
First time out didn't know the proper rigging , the head sail only had one sheet attached (and I didn't know beter), I had to run it back & forth around the mast to tack, when I got back went stright to WM & bought new headsail sheets.
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  #24  
Old 08-06-2010
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arf145 is on a distinguished road
Took a 2-day course before we'd even decided to get a boat, but that only gives you the barest of a foundation. I think I'll always be teaching myself to sail--with the help of others when I can get them. I watch, listen, read, and experiment, and just try to improve while out sailing. The Complete Sailor was my go-to book, and I still look it over now and then.
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Old 08-10-2010
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tyztoy is on a distinguished road
You can do it

I bought a Catalina 25 late last fall. I read books and a LOT of forum threads. In the Spring I went out with someone else and he let me sail. Then he and the most experienced sailor in our marina went out for a couple hours in my boat. I've been sailing the entire summer on Lake Erie since.
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  #26  
Old 08-11-2010
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I taught myself most of the technical stuff by reading up on it for a whole winter, then took a course and learned even more, then bought my boat and every time I go out I learn something new, about sailing and the boat but also about myself and others.

Also, I learn a LOT more when I'm out singlehanding than when I have crew. You can basically spend time playing around and experimenting without looking like an idiot, without distractions, figuring out the best ways of doing things, making all the mistakes you want, doing everything exactly the way you want and, goshdarn, relaxing, thinking and enjoying the sail. Just me, the boat and nature makes for the best learning environment.
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  #27  
Old 08-23-2010
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Rooker is on a distinguished road
I had never sailed a boat in my life when I bought a Hunter 23 at 19. I had a buddy who had been on a sunfish once so with a full cooler him, I, and 3 others headed out from my marina which was 2 hours down river from Lake Michigan. By the time we hit the lake we were slightly toasted and ready to sail. The wind was huge, way to much for some drunk kids and we had horrible time. I eventually moved the boat to Muskegon and got off water lessons from an old cuban who lived aboard. learned a lot tried staying more sober for safety sake and had a lot more fun. Now I'm 32 with kids and after not having a boat for about 6 years my wife and I are "re-learning". Its not like a bike. We are having a great time still learning and the kids love it.
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  #28  
Old 08-23-2010
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I've never taken a sailing course, but grew up around boats and have read several books and articles as well as watching several videos...actually still do most of the later. As a kid we sailed my Uncles Sunfish off the Magothy, as a teenager I would go sailing with a family friend on their Morgan OI 33 and spent a few weekends on my Aunt & Uncles Bristol 35.5. It wasn't until we purchased our first sailboat, a Buccaneer 20 did I really start to take it seriously and got the bug to learn more. Crewed a few races and after a couple of seasons with the Buc we bought our current boat and love it.

I like to relate sailing to cooking, once you learn the basics you can spend your entire life trying to learn more and perfect your skills...probably one the reason I love sailing so much is the challenge it presents, no matter who you are or how much experience you have, everyday its something new.
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  #29  
Old 08-24-2010
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My wife and I started sailing by chartering a yacht for a week. We had never been sailing. I got few books from the library. The only one that made sense to a complete novice was "The young yachtsman" written for about 10 year olds.
At the end of the week I thought I could sail reasonably well. 25 years later I realise there is still a lot to learn.
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  #30  
Old 08-24-2010
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sterilecuckoo58 is on a distinguished road
Did not learn by myself; college offered Tech dinghy's and I loved it. A few years later my Dad was thinking sailboat, and we (family) rented a few on the Great South Bay. We played with two Phantoms one day, and sailed little sloops for a few trips. I taught him everything I knew. He bought a Vivacity 24 then (Echo in case her former owners are reading) and in the early years I sailed often with my folks, but haven't in the past 20 years.

As a father, I took advantage of the Community Boating Inc.s program on the Charles River, and both my kids learned to sail, my daughter instructed there, my son learned some racing skills.

My father transferred her to us before he left on his final voyage into eternity. Ten days ago Milady, my son and I took her out from her home port and headed her east x northeast and it was my son teaching his father a few things about sailing. I had a few things to teach him too, but an interesting replay.

More important than the sailing skills themselves though, was the preparedness to deal with things when they went awry. Spare parts for the motor, rigging, tools and sail repair capabilities are essential. Knowing where they are in urgent moment clinches the deal.
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