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post #1 of 10 Old 05-08-2011 Thread Starter
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Crew or a Membership

I'm hooked.
I took my first sailing classes this weekend, and loved every minute of it. The peacefulness of Toronto Harbour, the rocking of the waves, the mechanical aspects of sailing...

My choice right now: I've been offered a couple of crew spots on 30'-40' cruisers that go out one or two evenings a week. I believe each has 4 or 5 people on board. I don't have many more details than that - they just seem to be unstructured runs around the islands.
Also, the Toronto Harbourfront Centre has a membership package where (for the membership price) I can race J24s a couple of nights per week with 2 other people. This also has the included option of using their fleet of 20' to 24' boats, however i'm assuming they won't let you singlehand with just the CYA Basic Cruising certification.

Does anyone have an opinion? I'd love to hear your choices and the reasons behind them.
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-08-2011
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I'm hooked...too

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Originally Posted by InkyMatt View Post
I'm hooked.
I took my first sailing classes this weekend, and loved every minute of it. The peacefulness of Toronto Harbour, the rocking of the waves, the mechanical aspects of sailing...

My choice right now: I've been offered a couple of crew spots on 30'-40' cruisers that go out one or two evenings a week. I believe each has 4 or 5 people on board. I don't have many more details than that - they just seem to be unstructured runs around the islands.
Also, the Toronto Harbourfront Centre has a membership package where (for the membership price) I can race J24s a couple of nights per week with 2 other people. This also has the included option of using their fleet of 20' to 24' boats, however i'm assuming they won't let you singlehand with just the CYA Basic Cruising certification.

Does anyone have an opinion? I'd love to hear your choices and the reasons behind them.
First, good on you for taking the class. Next, why not do both? Sailing as a crew will give you one set of skills, being the captain of a boat will give you another. Racing the J24's will be quite different, and more fun, IMO, than unstructured sailing with 3 or 4 others. However, you will learn tons the first season, if you stay alert and listen and watch, etc., with either option.

If you want to learn fastest, go the racing route, but make sure you sail with knowledgable and patient people - this isn't the end of the world, no matter their attitude.
Just remember, have fun sailing.

Rick
Catalina 22
Columbia River sailing enjoyment
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-10-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks Rorider,
I had thought about going both routes, but wasn't sure if it would be redundant. The racing club seems pretty laid-back (it's for us poor folk that don't have our own yacht yet), and they apparently team you up with more- or less-experienced sailors to balance the boats.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-11-2011
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More is better

Hi Matt,

I don't think that following both tracks would be redundant. These are two different scenarios, and you will take away different things from both. I have been sailing my entire adult life, and still learn when I sail with others. When I was really ramping up my skills, I raced dinghies and keelboats, crewing on some boats, and soon skippering.

Some clubs may allow you to take out a small boat for day use with just the CYA basic, which is what the course is designed to do: allow you to gain experience, but it depends on the club. Some clubs force you to gain a heap of sailing experience before being allowed to sail on your own, and in some clubs 'who gets to sail alone' is a slightly political choice. Depends on the club. A lot of clubs will fast-track you if you put in volunteer hours fixing the boats. However you approach it, get all the time on the water that you can, and sailing with a variety of people exposes you to a wealth of differing styles and methods.

Have fun!!

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Thanks Rorider,
I had thought about going both routes, but wasn't sure if it would be redundant. The racing club seems pretty laid-back (it's for us poor folk that don't have our own yacht yet), and they apparently team you up with more- or less-experienced sailors to balance the boats.

Jeremy Gow
SeaLife Sailing (Sailing School Operator)
Vancouver, BC
Lancer 36
s/v 'Ma Provence'
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-11-2011
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I've got a great option for you! Join the National Yacht Club. They have a fantastic set of programs to get you on the water...
They (we) offer...
- Adult dinghy sailing (CYA Whitesail etc.)
- Adult keelboat courses (CYA)
- 4 (or 3?) days of racing per week
- Racing Crew Bank... get to sail a variety of sailboat types in races. Just come on out and jump on a boat!
- Cruising Crew Bank... Reserve your spot for you and a guest and go out with a skipper who volunteers his time and boat.
- New this year... Match racing!
- .... Regatta's, lots of youth sailing programs and more!

On top of that, there's the club-within-the-club that we call the Shark Club. There are 4 or 5 communal Shark 24's that you help maintain and can sail with another member whenever you like. Just sign out the boats and go!

Basically, it's everything you wanted above. It's crewing, it's learning, it's sailing yourself.
Check here for current membership rates National Yacht Club and then give Samantha a call (ext. 27). Don't quote me, but I think the intoductory rates are $359/year + Shark club... $350? $250? That is ridiculously good value!

Disclosure: I am a happy member of the National Yacht Club and therefore am biased. I'd be happy to take you in and show you around. PM me.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-11-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks SLS and Jordan. I'm looking for a good balance of learning, excitement, and fun (but without that over-competitive edge).
Jordan, I'm going to PM you for your gratious offer to show me the NYC.

I'm also writing this because i just discovered that you have to have a 5-post count to PM...
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-11-2011
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Hi Matt,
I replied in PM, but will post here for the record as well.
The NYC is not over-competitive in all the classes; They have beginner, women's (I think that's still on), white-sail and open classes as well as the new match racing group and some one-design classes on different nights of the week. Even within the open classes, the different PHRF classes have a variety of "levels" of competitiveness... from beer drinkers to hard-core types. Find a crew with whom you gel through the Racing Crew Bank and then stick with 'em. Everyone is willing to teach if you're willing to learn.

They do some regattas as well as "fun" events like Adult Opti sailing! I haven't done that yet, but it sounds like a blast.

ok, sorry, this is starting to sound like an advertisement. Truly, I'm just a happy member that was recently in your position with the same goals and attitude.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-11-2011
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Traditional wisdom tells us that we learn more while racing, albeit often the hard way. On the other hand, cruising with an experienced crew will teach you plenty of tricks coming from different backgrounds and you will have enough time to consolidate the knowledge. I understand that you would very much want to have it both ways. Is it that impossible to follow both courses after all?
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InkyMatt View Post
I'm hooked.
I took my first sailing classes this weekend, and loved every minute of it. The peacefulness of Toronto Harbour, the rocking of the waves, the mechanical aspects of sailing...

My choice right now: I've been offered a couple of crew spots on 30'-40' cruisers that go out one or two evenings a week. I believe each has 4 or 5 people on board. I don't have many more details than that - they just seem to be unstructured runs around the islands.
Also, the Toronto Harbourfront Centre has a membership package where (for the membership price) I can race J24s a couple of nights per week with 2 other people. This also has the included option of using their fleet of 20' to 24' boats, however i'm assuming they won't let you singlehand with just the CYA Basic Cruising certification.

Does anyone have an opinion? I'd love to hear your choices and the reasons behind them.
In the US it's normal to be able to skipper those size boats with BCC. But my club won't allow singlehandling at all. So find a like-minded friend.

I certainly found a similar kind of membership to be very enjoyable - there's nothing like being in charge of your own (kind of your own) boat without any of the worries of boat ownership.

Sounds like either option will give you valuable experience. However I definitely felt after a while that I wanted to start to make my own decisions instead of just obeying instructions.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-14-2011 Thread Starter
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Well, i've decided to sign up for a membership with the Harbourfront Centre. it's a little more expensive than the National Yacht Club that JordanH recommended, but they have a really positive vibe. Not that NYC doesn't, just that my HC 25% discount expires tomorrow... lol. And i've heard some good feedback from non-members about their club. I figure it's worth the one-year committment, i can always look elsewhere down the road.
So it looks like i'll be taking out their J24s for the next while to get some more experience.

Still, i'm not bound to the club - if anyone local is looking for an extra body that doesn't require a second membership, PM me! Sailing is a new-found fascination, but is digging in pretty quickly.
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