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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #71  
Old 02-07-2011
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Well I just Bought my Classroom 56 ketch so i will let you know if I taught myself or not
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  #72  
Old 02-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
If you don't have it yet, buy Dave Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor... you won't regret it.
And another self-taught sailor here who recommends Seidman's book. Don't be fooled - when you first look through it you'll think it's way too basic. It's not too basic, and there is a ton of information there. I bought it on the strength of one drawing - how to heave-to. Of all the books I was looking at, this had the clearest explanation, via a drawing, of how to heave-to. It made immediate sense to me.

Go get it. Enjoyable reading, too.

Carlos
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  #73  
Old 04-26-2011
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Another vote for Seidman's book.

I am basically self taught. First an FJ for a season and a half and now a Lockley-Newport Whitecap. My boys and I sail out of Spruce Run, NJ. My oldest is 15 and I told him that this is the year he gets promoted to helmsman...if he can handle to job I told him he needs to brush up on his sailing glossary and skillset, and out of the dozen or so sailing books I have acquired, I gave him Dave Seidman's book to study. There always seems to be something new in there every time I pick it up.
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  #74  
Old 04-28-2011
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Yet another vote for Seidmans book. I have others and have literally studied them all but Seidmans was the first and still the one I turn to first. I spent an entire winter reading everything I could find in books and on the net before I ever splashed. Set the boat up in the driveway often enough that I was familiar with everything before I ever got close to the water.

I taught myself to sail...kinda. I have/had no mentor but there are lots of great folks on lots of web sites that helped me along....and I needed it. Right after my wife and I got married, 33+ years ago, we had a neighbor who would let me play with his little 10 foot. boat. I didn't learn much and did not sail again until last summer, some 30 years later. I started with a Chrysler Buccanneer....there's one for a beginner....then because it was so uncomfortable for my disabled wife moved to a Cat-22. I also came across a 1974 O'Day Widgeon for 2 bills and added it to the fleet. I use it on the little local lake and probably learn more from it than the Cat due to being able to sail it more often.

I suppose it depends on where you live and what you're used to, to some extent. I'm in the middle of the country and only sail inland lakes so navigation as regards setting a course or finding out where you are doesn't come into play. It isn't very likely I'll get lost. I don't yet sail in high winds but have reefed a few times cuz winds can be quirky here....well...I'm certain they can be everywhere. But I can heave to, head for a cove or drop sail and motor back to the harbor whereas out in the middle of a big bay, one of the Great Lakes or out in the ocean that isn't an alternative. I've learned a lot but intend on taking a course this summer so I can rent boats. I have one son in Florida and another on Lake Michigan and I'd like to be better prepared and more knowledgeable before I take on something like the Gulf or Lake Michigan. I learned very quickly that this is a lifetime learning experience, which is just one reason it is so much fun and so interesting.
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  #75  
Old 04-28-2011
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Yet another self taught sailor here. I had help on learning to set and recover a spinnaker set on a pole [ thanks Jim the schuss ] and on crossing the English channel at the start of a seven year cruise on my first big boat [ thanks Jack ]

Most of it is common sense like others say. However if you can get an experienced racing sailor to come out with you one day and go through how to get the most out of your boat and sails, go for it. Watching him or her improving the set of your sails and getting the most out of her upwind will be enlightening.

Me, I usually just hang the rags on the sticks and wait till I get there with george steering while I make a nice drink.
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  #76  
Old 04-28-2011
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I'm in the process of teaching myself to sail. I bought Bob Bond's book, The Handbook of Sailing and read it cover to cover. Gave me a good foundation in the various topics. Now I'm studying The Annapolis Book of Seamanship. I've read it completely and watched all the DVD's. I go back and re-read sections as I need them, especially on sail trim, heavy weather sailing, etc.

I've actually gone sailing a grand total of 5 times so far. The first time was a couple months ago, on a Catalina 36, and it was this experience that got me hooked. I bought my boat a month ago and outside of all the work I've been doing (thanks go to Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual) I've taken her out 4 times. The first time was with a friend who sails, in light winds, the rest of the times I've been out by myself....once in strong winds (I consider them strong, 18-25) and worked my butt off! The other times were fun and relaxing, but that strong wind experience really taught me about playing the sails, setting them, and handling puffs. Although I knew what "rounding up" was, until I experienced the boat trying to do it in a strong puff I wasn't ready for.....pucker factor way up there. She never did it as I was quick enough to spill some wind but there was a moment she was heeled way over and trying to turn. Makes you appreciate the gentle 12 knot breezes....

It's absolutely necessary to have a good base of book knowledge and theory (just IMHO) so you know "why" things work and what to do to get you in the ballpark, but getting out there and doing it is what it's all about. I really like going out by myself, because I can experiment without fear of looking like an idiot, and since I have to depend on myself 100% I learn alot every time I go out.

Really, once you have an idea of the basics, it's not that hard. As Penny Whiting says, if it's hard you're doing it wrong.
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  #77  
Old 04-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeDiver View Post
I really like going out by myself, because I can experiment without fear of looking like an idiot, and since I have to depend on myself 100% I learn alot every time I go out.
The first time I did this when I was learning, which was about ten years ago, I taught myself how to heave-to. Not that I was trying to heave-to, I was trying to tack but as the bow passed through the wind I reached for the windward jib sheet to take it off the cleat and my hand came off the tiller. I lost my balance and fell backward onto the settee pushing the tiller to leeward. My jib was still cleated to windward and suddenly the boat had a comfortable, easy motion. "Wow, I'm hove-to!" I thought, trying my hardest to make it appear to the other boaters nearby that I had MEANT to do that.

BTW, self taught: yes, and another strong endorsement for David Seidman's book.

Bob
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  #78  
Old 04-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptFoolhardy View Post
"Wow, I'm hove-to!"
That's pretty awesome. I haven't done that yet but need to learn the maneuver.

The very first tack I did was a jibe. I didn't have enough room to turn to port, so I had to turn to starboard with the wind coming aft, so it was to be a jibe. BUT, I knew how to do it, thought about it, and went for it. By the time the wind was directly aft and the main luff'd, I had trimmed in the main all the way so it was just a small "pop" over to the other side and started letting her out. Textbook jibe. I was so happy I considered renaming my boat the Jibe Turkey.
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  #79  
Old 05-02-2011
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I grew up on a sailboat and had some instruction from my dad, but at that time I wasn't interested in sailing. I didn't really start to "learn" until I was on my own in a dinghy. I was pretty much self taught, meaning I didn't have someone over my shoulder. I still remembered the basics and theory taught from when I was a kid. I was able to bounce questions off of my dad over the phone when I got back into sailing. I got the basics down myself but I need to work on better trim and I want to be more comfortable single handed.
As of late, I've been going out with a friend who used to race, a very good and experienced sailor, to look over my shoulder. He's willing so I'd be a fool not to use him. I learned more just one day with him than I have an entire season. Sometimes you just don't know you're doing something wrong.

I'm really glad I learned on a dinghy. Bigger boats are just so forgiving and it makes it harder to see mistakes you're making. In a dinghy, you make a mistake and you might be in the water. The feedback is instant and absolute. Also learned what stresses a rig and what doesn't since bad trim meant very tired and sore arms since I didn't have cleats.

One thing I've learned is sailing can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. It's easy to get the boat moving with the sail. It's difficult to squeeze just that little bit more speed out of it. Of course it can also be as relaxing or as terrorizing as anything else. Really a dynamic sport.
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  #80  
Old 05-11-2011
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Originally self-taught, unless you count an 'ashore lesson' in windsurfing theory.
I spent a lot of time in Canoes and rowboats as a kid, then windsurfers, and after a summer with my step-father's power tender, saved up and bought a 14' runabout with a 50hp. My step-father had a 20' Cygnus and my brother picked up a Catamaran, which he frequently dragged me out on as moveable ballast. Summers working on the water got me playing around with Sunfish and Lasers. I got to make all of the serious mistakes in these boats. Ate lots of water at this stage. When I began working at summer resorts in my late teens, it wasn't long before I was sailing in storms, and shortly thereafter, assigned to run the waterfront. I did have mentorship along the way, mind you from friends who were very good sailors, including one buddy whose brothers were competing in the Olympics as a team; he coached a provincial windsurfing team and was a very talented racer. I eventually
wound up teaching sailing at the resorts I worked at, on sunfish, lasers, and a 20' Cygnus identical to the one my family had owned.

Later, I got into the racing scene in the Okanagan Valley, mostly on a 24' Hinterholler Shark (though I crewed on almost every boat in each fleet), and that's when I started doing a lot of reading to become more competitive.

Many more years of putzing about in anything with a sail in Vancouver, BC; Lasers, Laser II's, Hobie Cats, 29ers, 49ers, anything fast and fun. Then I got into a smaller keelboat in Washington State (a Haida 26') and a few years of cruising extensively before purchasing my current boat (a Lancer 36'), then taking stacks of courses and becoming a professional sailing instructor. I still learn something pretty much every time I sail.

Last edited by SeaLifeSailing; 05-25-2011 at 05:13 AM.
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