Join Date: Aug 2003
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You will probably find that more that one are needed to fit your own learning curve, and almost all of them will offer something. I say read whatever you can get your hands on and then see which "fits" best for you.
But from a cruising, costal & liveaboard bent I eat alive & learn something from every issue of:
Lattitudes & Attitudes (mandatory!)
Cruising World (mandatory)
Blue Water Sailing
Just found "Sailing Today" and it looks great. Sometimes get ''Sailing World'' to see what the rich racers are up to.
It also helps to read any brokers'' and sales listings for sailboats. Reading lots if ads will teach you the common sizes and accessories for sailboats, help you plan a budget and sailing goals, and help you see that some things seem to be done in 5 different ways on 5 different boats. I couldn''t ''grok'' what a roller fuller was until I read a fella''s used boat ad bragging & offer cool pictures of his. And I fully learned the dangers of blistering and what that meant by looking at used boat ads claiming their boat''s only had a little (sure...). No flames please, newbies hard at work here! We all have to start somewhere & learn about it in whatever way WORKS for us. For me, I read magazines, surf the net, and read books. And dream of sailing. A lot. I know a hell of a lot more than when I started, and only a inverted dimple of what I will know by this time next year.
For books my first three picks would be "Start Sailing Right" from US Sailing & The Red Cross (beginner-beginner) or "Sailing Fundamentals" by Gary Jobson (intermediate-beginner) or maybe "Sailing The Basics" by Dave Franzel (advanced-beginner) if you learn better from cold facts, awful graphics & assumed pre-knowledge. Steve Colgate''s "Colgate''s Basic Sailing Theory" seems to have a loyal cult following as well so it has to be on the list too.
And once you find the magazine(s) which "fit" for you, check closely into buying their back issues which hit a specific interest for you. Aside from cutting-edge technology, the same info remains constant for many, many, years in sailing. If you think about how long folks have been sucking the wind in the exact same fundamental way, it makes sense.
And don''t let the economy or sailing scare you off. If you can''t afford the size boat you want/need/dream about - make friends with somebody who can! Wind sailors strike me as an abnormally social and friendly crowd; quick to help, quick to smile, and very quick to understand your dreams.