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Is it easy to learn how to sail on your own?
Is it easy to learn how to sail on your own? You know, that's a very interesting question. I am a newbie who is in the process of learning how to sail, and it is taking me a while, and the reason is because I am hardly ever at my boat. The boat was priced low, it came with no trailer, and the marina cost was very low, and so, this is why I have a sailboat an hour and a half away from me. The previous owner of my boat gave me three lessons, but he was not really much of a sailor himself, and the lessons were about two or three weeks apart, and they were very informal lessons and not very comprehensive. The famous writer Jack London said that sailors are born. And after pondering that over for a long while, even when considering my difficulty in learning, I really think that he was full of crap. If you start out at the age of 12 with a dinghy and gradually work yourself up to bigger boats, I would suppose after 20 years of constant sailing, one would probably feel that sailing was something that came natural. I suppose anyone with that kind of experience would feel that way, yet that doesn't take away the fact that Jack London was stupid for writing such a thing. But to answer the question, to just start out on a first sailboat -- a sailboat that is a little more complex than a sailing dinghy --for a grown adult that is way past his or her college years, without the proper instruction or proper knowledge on how all of the parts on your boat functions and how they are rigged and tied off while sailing and while not sailing, learning how to sail is indeed difficult. If you are a middle aged person who is trying to teach yourself sailing and don't have a whole lot of time to spend with your boat, then learning on your own is the hard way, and it is also a very dangerous thing to do. I know, I just gave myself a very good lesson in sailing, but I also came close to damaging the sailboat and myself in the process. I wouldn't recommend learning the hard way to anyone. It takes time to learn. And a good sailor will tell you that you don't stop learning how to sail. It is a continuous process. But to reach the point that you feel comfortable with taking a small sailboat out on your own, unless you are young and have lots of time on your hands to learn a little at a time, a significant amount of knowledge needs to be acquired. Sailing is not easy; however, once you learn it and feel comfortable with it, you then tell people that it is. That is what I have observed. The best thing for a new sailor to do is to find an experienced sailor -- who is not a genuine ******** -- who has the same model of boat that you have and ask that person if he or she would go over every single part of the boat with you, explain what it is meant for, how it works, and how it is rigged -- when sailing and when docked or moored. There are all kinds of sailboats with all kinds of rigging and sailors who have all kinds of agendas out there, and so just going to one source to learn everything you need to know on the internet or even in a book (unless it is a very comprehensive owner's manual) is almost impossible. Without any doubt in my mind, the main goal for every new sailor who wants to learn how to sail a 20ft sailboat -- give or take four feet -- should be to know every part on the sailboat and how every everything is rigged and secured on the sailboat -- when sailing and when not sailing -- right down to the smallest of fittings, and once you have done that, then you're on your way. Unless you are an engineer type of person who can figure out things on your own, you should never stop asking questions and you should never stop learning.
Last edited by ThrillerDillerSchwill; 08-23-2010 at 12:37 AM.