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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 10-01-2003
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pilot2sailor is on a distinguished road
How do I start?

Hello, all. New to the board here. I''ve been employed as an airline pilot for the last 18 years and have recently been bitten by the sailing bug. As of right now, my pilot logbook is full but my sailing resume'' is blank. I would like to change that soon. I live in south Louisiana (not the sailing capital of the US) and would like to know how to get started in sailing. Lessons? Just do it? I know that there will be many opinions on the "right" way to go about this but I am willing to listen to and consider each one.

I live about 2 hrs west of New Orleans and would love to buy my own boat eventually and keep it on Lake Pontchartrain. As it stands now, my longer term goal is coastal cruising with maybe some offshore passagemaking thrown in when my competence allows.

If anyone out there has a boat in the New Orleans area (north or south shore) and needs someone to help out for a daysail, let me know and I''ll be happy to bring the "refreshments".

My ideal situation would be to find someone who is very experienced at sailing and has been bitten by the flying bug (in other words, my opposite). I don''t own my own airplane (you think boats are expensive?) but I would be willing to divulge any and all information I have about aviation. I was a flight instructor years ago and I could probably help you out or at least steer you in the right direction.

Let''s talk!

Phil
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2003
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mdougan is on a distinguished road
How do I start?

Hi Phil,

I think you''re on the right track. Make as many sailing contacts as you can, especially nearest to where you live. Captains can almost always use another hand on board and the best way to learn is by doing.

However, if you really want to get off to a good start, you might want to consider taking formal lessons.

There are a couple of major schools, I''m thinking of J World (www.jworldschool.com) or one of the American Sailing Association schools (www.american-sailing.com). Usually, they have a 1 week basic boating course that could give you a pretty good level of knowledge for helping out on other people''s boats. Then, they usually have a more advanced course that would qualify you for doing a "bareboat" charter (charter with you being the captain). After this level of instruction, you''d be pretty qualified to own and sail your own boat.

Another alternative is to charter a boat through someone like the Moorings, in the British Virgin Islands (www.moorings.com), and rent a captain along with it (an additional 100-200 per day). If you tell the captain that you''re hoping to learn enough to bareboat then they''ll show you the ropes so to speak. The Moorings also will match you up with other people who want to learn, if you''re by yourself and getting your own boat for the week is too expensive.

Other than that, keep doing what you''re doing, crew on other people''s boats as much as you can, read some basic books like Chapman''s Piloting and that will get you started.

Good Luck!
Mike
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2003
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Silmaril is on a distinguished road
How do I start?

I guess I never really realized how lucky I was, learning to sail at age 10, starting in dingy''s and moving up through larger and more complex craft, and now 37 years later, it is an integral part of my life.

But the basic principal remains the same. Take lessons and start out small. It is amazing how by learning to properly sail a small boat will give you a greater understanding of how it all works. Larger cruising boats just seem to mask all the underlying details.

I started in a sailing program at my fathers yacht club on a Blue Jay. Main, Jib, Spinn, no motor. It gave you direct response to every action and you could get an incredible feel for what you were doing. Most importantly, you learned all the basics. Sort of the sailing equivalent to "I learned everything I needed to know about life in Kindergarten" Once those basic principals were firmly entrenched, all other aspects were just fine tuning the process. I guess you could say that learning in something like a Blue Jay is the equivalent of a Cessna 172.

Every day I sail, I am using those basic principals I learned. It also amazes me when I watch someone who learned on a larger cruising boat do something wrong that should have been second nature to them.

Start out small, move up as you are more comfortable, and enjoy the sense of freedom sailing gives you.
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Old 10-03-2003
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pilot2sailor is on a distinguished road
How do I start?

>>Start out small, move up as you are more comfortable, and enjoy the sense of freedom sailing gives you.<<

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it very much.

Phil
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Old 10-03-2003
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pilot2sailor is on a distinguished road
How do I start?

>> Then, they usually have a more advanced course that would qualify you for doing a "bareboat" charter (charter with you being the captain). After this level of instruction, you''d be pretty qualified to own and sail your own boat.<<

That''s where I''d eventually like to end up. Thanks for your encouraging words.

Phil
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