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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #21  
Old 06-29-2011
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the boat i have now is 23 ft. its great for a few days afloat, easy to sail in the bay ( water ballast and centerboard ) and because it is trailerable, i dont have to pay for haul outs and splashes so that cuts down on costs, and then in the off season it sits a block from the water in a friends yard. a bigger boat would be nice, but then i would be looking at bigger yearly fees and be restricted to the channel, around here if you venture sometimes no more than 5 feet outside the channel you can end up in 2-3 feet of water.
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  #22  
Old 06-29-2011
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This question is asked by all of us; "How much experience is enough..."

There are lots of shared experiences above, but the only correct answer lies in you. You will undoubtedly get a lot of responses with extreme claims from they knew nothing, bought a boat and sailed it expertly after leaving the dock to those that claim you need many years and formal safety courses and every bit of safety gear. There is tonnes of grey space in between.

The fact that you are asking the question with the feeling of worry about being in over your head might indicate that you aren't ready; Although, that depends on how far over your head you feel it is.

Perhaps answering some questions might help; Do you know what type of sailing you prefer? A laser is far different than a 40' keel boat, each are pleasurable, but which is right for you? If you have enough experience to decide what type of sailing you like, then you'll probably start to get a feel for what type of boat you'd like. Do you want a new, racy Melges that requires a crew to sail or do you like classic boats with a heavier displacement for longer solo missions? The process of answering the above questions gives you practical experience that will sneak up on you.

Experience will also save you money. When you sail on other people's boats, you will find what equipment and rigging you prefer; simple things like using self-tailing winches and standard winches will let you know if that is something you want to have on your boat buying checklist. Experience gained by spending time with sailors will let you over-hear conversations on re-coring a rotten deck or the different benefits of gasoline vs. diesel. This type of valuable experience saves you money from making poor choices (for you) when buying a boat.

If you have little or no experience, how will you know if you even ENJOY sailing? Why invest the money if you can't answer that question.

There's the answer to your first question.

The second question I can answer specifically. I spent probably 6 years or so sailing on other people's boats and trying everything from wind surfing, lasers, J22's, J24's, Shark 24's, Mumm/Farr 30's, an IMX38, Beneteau 36 and a handful of other cruiser-types. I tried club racing, "off-shore" racing (great lakes, isn't exactly off-shore, but they still call it that), messing about in the Caribbean and even sailing a paraw in the Philippines before deciding what my dream boat list looked like. Of those 6-ish years, at least 3 were searching for the exact boat for me.
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  #23  
Old 07-09-2011
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Makes sense to me JordanH. I think i will follow your advice.
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  #24  
Old 07-10-2011
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Notebooks

I know this is geeky, but when I knew that I was really interested in boating, I started keeping notebooks. I started out kayaking and kept lists of potential kayak brands and why. I made lists of places I wanted to kayak and that helped me narrow down the list of boat brands.

When I developed an interest in larger boats I started new notebooks. At first I wasn't sure whether it would be power or sail. When I decided on sail I started lists of sailboats: according to price, type of boat (and what I liked/disliked about them), features that I wanted and those that were required, etc.

I still follow Bernard Moitessier's habit of keeping a notebook and writing down stuff I read or things people tell me that I feel is important (or may be some day) such as advice, local navigational knowledge, places I want to visit, changes I want to make on the boat, questions I have for more experienced sailors, etc.

If they ever stop manufacturing composition books I will be truly unhappy.
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  #25  
Old 08-29-2011
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Just found this thread- interesting read. I am in the early stages of researching and planning to purchase something in the 34-38' range to live aboard in Toronto. While I have spent most summer days of my life (35 yrs old) around the water and operating all sorts of power boats, my hands on sailing experience is very small.

The only things I have ever solo sailed are small lasers, cadets, etc. very few times have I dealt with a jib- usually just a main sail, and even that experience is quite limited.

My love of all things water, and the experience I do have has me totally convinced it is the right move for me, but everyone I tell of my plan thinks I am absolutely bat-**** crazy to make a big purchase/life decision like this without first knowing how to properly sail.

While I plan to spend the next 7-8 months researching, planning, etc, and will try to meet people with boats that are willing to take me out and show me the ropes, I know I will not have the skills to 'sail' the boat away from the dock when I buy it, and will have to rely on my motor for a while (and more skilled friends) as I build the skills and confidence needed.

What do you think- I am bat **** crazy?
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Old 08-29-2011
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Mjs I think you need to see a psychiatrist. And when you get ready to leave, tell him and everyone else to kiss your a**! I say go for it. Hire an instructor to go out with you for a weekend and run you threw some drills.

If that's your dream, don't let anyone talk you out of it. Good luck and keep us posted. Who wants to be a slave to the norm? There's a chick on here that has done the same thing your talking about. Bought a live aboard and learned how to sail it. She has a blog about it. I'll look it up for you. Interesting read.
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Old 08-29-2011
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Check out cktalons she's a member here. She also has a link to her blog on her profile page.
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  #28  
Old 08-29-2011
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MJS, people make choices that have huge impacts on their lives all the time. Learning to sail and care for a large sailboat is a long and steep learning curve. You will be on the steep part for a long time. If you are up for it, I see nothing wrong.
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  #29  
Old 08-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CambridgeKid View Post
I guess I worry about getting in over my head, but your advice seems sound. I'm thinking two months taking lessons here in the harbor and sailing with friends to get some one-on-one instruction is great, but once I've done that and some reading...all that's really left to do is dive in and get a boat of my own, no? Flawed thinking?
Hey we sound like we're in similar situations so I'll relay what info was given to me. What the helpful (though sometimes abrasive) minds on Sailnet suggested to me was that I crew a boat to get some experience, so I did (even though I had ZERO experience, like yourself). It costed less than lessons and I got to spend an entire month in the Bahamas aboard a Watkins 27'. I did this as soon as I graduated from college (no wife, kids or career). So my question would probably be...how old and committed are you? If you've got no obligations would you consider looking at the "crew wanted" section of this site? Could be the best experience of your life, it was for me.
Either way DO NOT STOP pursuing this. Let us know how it all turns out for you!
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  #30  
Old 08-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_J_S View Post
What do you think- I am bat **** crazy?
Crazy? Perhaps not. I would guess that you're going about reaching your goals in a more difficult manner than would be necessary. If you assume that reaching a goal should be done efficiently, then that makes your choices slightly irrational, and hence people view them as a bit crazy. On the other hand, buying a boat is typically an emotional, rather than rational, decision and not one that must be reached in the most efficient method possible. Learning the 'hard way' or learning the 'expensive way' is fine as long as that's what you're expecting.

You didn't ask for advice in your post, but I would say my advice to the OP may still apply. If you don't have the sailing experience, how do you know that 34'-36' is the right size for you? Perhaps too big? Perhaps too small? Perhaps too ? The point is that until you've gained some experience you won't know. Perhaps you have lots of money so it doesn't matter about making a good choice.

For what it's worth, I'm around the next little while and will be doing some sailing. Message me privately if you have some day-time available and we can go out for a sail. Also, if you want to gain some experience, you should join a club and try out lots of different types of boats. The National Yacht Club has programs for cruising & racing, 4 nights per week - that's 4 different boats, 4 different crews you COULD have been gaining experience on all summer long... Check their site for costs.
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