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Old 07-05-2011
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When to take friends sailing

Hello. My husband and I bought a Pearson 28, and the slip is on the Neuse River at the coast of NC. We are in our 40's and, for all intents and purposes, don't know how to sail. We went on a 4 hour test sail before we bought it, but we didn't do much, and we paid a captain to take us out for a full day once. We took the boat out for the first time ourselves Saturday, and we made many mistakes, some really dumb mistakes due to inexperience. I expect a lot of people do, and I am not worried about that.

What I am worried about is my husband inviting people to go out on our boat with us already.

I know this varies for everyone, but roughly how many beginner hours did you put in before you started inviting your partying friends out on the boat?
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Old 07-05-2011
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My advice is to wait until you feel comfortable enough that you won't get stressed out when something goes wrong. I judged that by seeing how often my wife and I got into heated discussions on what to do in certain situations. Another gauge I use is when I stop having that clumsy feeling on the boat.

You want to be able to instill a sense of calm in your passengers. If you are not calm, they definitely won't be. You want them to enjoy the sail and you want everyone to be safe. You will know when you are ready.

As for the number hours it is different for everyone. I took my in-laws out on the day we picked up our boat. I might have been trying to scare them off.
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Old 07-05-2011
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Depends on where you are taking your friends too. If you are sure you are not risking anyone, why not. Stay in places where help is always nearby, make it a rule to have life vests on and be conservative. Go out in nice breezy conditions. And make a full disclosure about your sailing knowledge.

I would suggest not trying to have friends over every time you go out sailing though. You won't get to experiment/learn much that way.
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Old 07-05-2011
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I would wait until you are VERY comfortable with all aspects of your boat and sailing. Most people you take with you will be a big pain in the ass. If you have some friends that are seasoned sailor's that can help out on the boat you might take them. Even if people are really handy if it isn't second nature to you, you cant explain to them what they need to do in time for it to be done.

In the end extra people will just cause you a lot of extra stress.
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Old 07-05-2011
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Hi there, I sail in the same neighborhood. I think your comment about "partying friends" raises questions for me. I presume they'll get the anchor down before getting lit? Probably not the best idea to tie one on (not a bowline) as skipper with just a few hours of boat handling under your belt.

As far as just friends joining you in general, I wouldn't hesitate to bring some friends along on a sail! I could not have done it without friends early on and we have some great adventures, like romping down the cape fear in contrary wind/current with 8 foot square seas and the main halyard whipping around like a missile. I mean, I did some dumb and dangerous stuff, but all relative with my class 5 kayaking crew.

Now that I am more experienced, I like to think I know what I'm doing more of the time, and want to instill confidence in my crew -- like Nick says. As long as you're safe, and have a sense of humor, I would not hesitate to bring friends along. I would not have them along just to party on my boat, but to sail. That's can be an asset, having another able-bodied adult when learning. The Neuse is a great place to learn and as long as you pick your weather, especially watch these afternoon thunderstorms, and you'll be fine.

Have a blast-
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Old 07-05-2011
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You should be really comfortable will all aspects of sailing YOUR boat before you bring visitors aboard. They will be YOUR responsibility should something happen, and as a rookie you will have issues. Some of the best former friends in the world, have sued and won against "friends" for far less than a day sail that went awry.

When you do take them out, save the adult beverages for After the sail...and be ready to head to shore at any time, in the event someone is afraid, seasick or unsteady, or heat exhaustion...nothing worse than being held hostage by a sailing fanatic when you are looking for neptune and feeding the fish...Some skippers are understanding - some not so much

To answer your question directly, several hundred hours in all kinds of weather, before adding partiers...

Last edited by kd3pc; 07-05-2011 at 03:51 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-05-2011
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Are you ready to put their lives in your inexperienced hands?
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Old 07-05-2011
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Most dirt-dwellers don't care whether they are sailing or motoring, just as long as they are on a boat with friends. TRUE firends also don't care how far away from the dock they get, or if they get away from the dock at all.

My rule of thumb is never to take friends and/or inexperienced crew into weather and/or on a voyage that would push my own personal envelope. A shipful of scared seasick lubbers is not the ideal environment to practice heaving -to and reefing for the first time.

But, definitely take friends on voyages that YOU are comfortable taking. A lot. Go places you have been before, in conditions you have been in before. Guests compliments will grow your confidence, and having witnesses also tends to cut down on the tension between admiral and skipper when docking/mooring/departing.

The best piece of advice I got when I was a greenhorn was to take the time, prior to your first guest cruise, to sit down with the skipper and create a list of departure/sail raising/docking responsibilities and procedures, and PRACTICE them before your guests arrive. It builds confidence, communication and competence.
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Old 07-05-2011
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You guys are giving excellent advise. Thank you very much!

p.s. All I meant by "partying friends" was that, yes, they will be drinking beer, but mainly that they would not be helping to sail one bit. I, of course, would not drink alcohol while sailing. I am a little scared to death at this point
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Old 07-05-2011
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The Neuse River area gives you some nice protected sailing areas. In good conditions you should be able to enjoy some really pleasant sailing with friends. With some common sense you should be fine. Just don't feel pressured to go out in unsuitable weather just because you have arranged a day out.

ALSO remember there is no shame in having a reef in and half your headsail rolled away EVEN IF the local hotshots are burying the rail with full sail up.

If you have a reliable inboard you can motor home in most conditions. Make sure you are set up to anchor at short notice. I believe most of that area is shallow so you can anchor almost anywhere. Get good charts and a GPS so you know where you are.

Sailing is not rocket science, take your time think ahead reef down the FIRST time you think about it and remember you dont have to have both sails up to go sailing. A Pearson willl tack quite nicely just on the mainsail in most conditions.

You propably know this but you have a tough little boat several have circumnavigated and James Baldwin, skipper of Atom, has been round twice in his Pearson 28.
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