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rconn2 06-26-2012 09:51 PM

New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD
We're a couple of new sailors looking for some private instruction on our boat located on Rock Creek in Pasadena, MD.

Our boat is a 1978 Catalina 27 with an atomic 4 inboard. We've been out with it a few times, but with mixed results. A few years ago we took a weekend basic keelboat course and rented a Rainbow in Annapolis for the day. But... there's so much more to learn and master...

We've become intimidated to even leave and enter our slip... it's been embarrassing... at least we go as slow as possible so it's not so hard for other owners to hop on board to take over with our eager acceptance ;). Just to learn to confidently and safely dock and undock would be a major hurdle overcome.

We also need more guidance on sailing techniques and safely handling the boat on the bay. Also... to learn about our boat itself -- parts, maintenance and so on.

A weekend course with 4 students on a 22' boat barely scratches the surface. We're at that "we must be really dumb" early stage. But, we're eager to get past this and learn.

If anyone is interested in providing some instruction, or has a recommendation, please let us know by reply (I'll monitor) or PM. Thanks!

-- Rob

Donna_F 06-26-2012 09:59 PM

Re: New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD

You may want to Google and have an ASA or US Sailing instructor provide you with a couple of lessons on your boat. They should be a dime a dozen in that area.

Good luck and slow is not bad.

lapworth 06-26-2012 10:51 PM

Re: New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD
My first sail was on a 22' Rainbow and I have been sailing ever since. If you would like some extra help send me PM.

scratchee 06-26-2012 11:02 PM

Re: New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD
Hi Rob,

I'm in a nearly identical situation equipment and location-wise. I have a Cal 2-27 with an Atomic 4, also on Rock Creek. I did a fair amount of sailing years ago in college and the decade after, but just bought my first boat this past April. As far as sailing, I'm more re-learning than learning, so in that respect we have different challenges.

However, with all that sailing as a youngster, I had done very little boat handling around the dock. So for the past couple months I've been focusing on picking up that new skill. And I can tell you that it will come with practice. The first thing I did was go out with a single able-bodied hand--no "passengers" or family gawkers looking to enjoy a day on the water--and just made several runs at the dock. My slip is very tricky to get into, but after a few tries I started to get a real feel for how she felt while turning, slowing, backing, etc. I actually drew a diagram of my slip and posted it above my desk so I could engage in zen-practice during the week. I thought very carefully about how to get the lines ready and where to tie the fenders. I learned how to use the prop walk (to port while backing, to starboard going forward) to my advantage. I learned how to come to a stop before I hit the dock, and get that first critical line tied up. My crewmate handled a fender and boat hook, and offered some good advice about how to get in. Now I've got a set pattern that I do every time.

Getting some training is a good idea, I suppose, (never done it so I can't advise,) but in the mean time you might want to consider working on your BOAT HANDLING before you worry too much about SAILING. Take the boat out in the creek, and leave the sail cover on. Make a bunch of runs at your slip, with fenders and lines ready. If it doesn't look right, turn away and reset for another pass.

There is some hidden logic here: I sense a hesitancy that I have experienced in both boats and planes (another hobby from my past.) You are worried about either damaging your boat, or damaging somebody else's boat, or just looking foolish. You need to get over that before you can be comfortable in your boat, and you can't handle her well until you are comfortable.

I'm very far from an expert, but I'd be happy to come by and take a look at your slip situation, to see if any of my recent learning would be of help to you.

jsaronson 06-27-2012 10:32 AM

Re: New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD
Congrats to both of you!

Learning to compensate for prop-walk is essential to handling a sailboat in tight quarters. One way to compensate for it is to get the boat moving and then put the engine in neutral. The boat will glide a fair distance and will steer more true to course. Sometimes when backing in, you need to put the engine in forward, turn the wheel hard over and give it a couple seconds of throttle to kick the stern in the right direction.

I'm on Mill Creek and come over.

As far as nomenclature, there are plenty of good books that will teach you the names of the ropes, the parts of the sail etc. Probably find it on-line too.

Sailormon6 06-27-2012 11:24 AM

Re: New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD
I'm not ASA or US Sailing certified, but am Red Cross certified to teach sailing. In the past couple years, I helped the owners of a 43' Beneteau and a Catalina 27 learn to maneuver and dock their boats. I'm retired and will be glad to help, at no cost. If you still can't handle your boat after one session, I'll refund everything you paid. ;) Contact me by PM if you'd like to schedule a time.

zeilfanaat 06-27-2012 03:24 PM

Re: New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD
Welcome to Rock Creek!

I would echo others' advice: practice, practice, practice. Pick a calm day so you only have the boat’s response to the rudder and throttle to worry about, not winds that are blowing you across the slip. Go out on the open water and practice getting the boat to back up from a dead stop or after coming out of a turn. Do a figure-eight in reverse and try to end up in the same spot where you started. (Keep an eye out for other boats while you’re doing this, of course).

Before leaving or returning to the dock, talk through the procedure so you are both mentally prepared for what to do. Draw pictures or use props for boat, pilings, etc. if you have to.

If you haven’t already, rigging a tight “chickenline” parallel to your boat between the dock and the forward piling will give you something to hold onto (or hook a boathook to) to keep the boat centered in the slip or pull you in those last few feet.

Finally, you’ll be amazed what a clean propeller will do to improve the boat’s response to forward and especially reverse throttle.

With some practice, I am sure you’ll get the hang of it and before long, you’ll be secretly high-fiving each other on yet another docking where you just greased the boat into the slip under the admiring looks of your dock mates!

rconn2 06-28-2012 09:42 AM

Re: New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD
Thanks for all the replies! I'll post a better response later, but this is just a quick one to let you know I'm actively reading...

rconn2 06-29-2012 09:53 AM

Re: New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD
Hi Sailormon6 -- sent a PM.

johnnyquest37 06-29-2012 10:33 AM

Re: New sailors iso private instruction Pasadena, MD
Hey Rob;

Practice helps, but it is counter-productive to practice incorrect procedures.

I am an ASA instructor and am pretty familar with many of the sailing schools in the area. Schools will happily design instruction for your specific needs and set you up with an instructor on your boat, although you'll have to pay for it. I've personally taken new boat owners from essentially zero to capable in about three days of training. Have also done many one day boat familiarization classes designed to show new owners critical boat systems, getting in and out of the dock, and how to raise, trim, reef and douse sails. Am sure you can find an 'old salt' willing to show you the ropes and help teach you docking outside of the schools. At worst, you'll end up wasting a day and have to buff out some hull dings, so it might be worth the effort to try that first. If that doesn't do the trick for you, I'd suggest getting a trained instructor on your boat. The confidence an instructor can give you will be well worth the expense.

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