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Old 08-23-2012
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Power boater looking to learn to sail

I am looking for some advice on learning to sail I have been boating my whole life with my dad owning boats and I have owned open fisherman type outboard boats but have no experience on sailing. Im looking to get into sailing and buying a used one @ 30-34ft range. I live in south florida and I have seen some postings on craigslist from people offering sailing lessons on their boats but not sure if thats the best idea. Also looked at the sailing certified classes but seems to cover a wide range of basic ocean skills that I am already familar with and would rather get to the actual sailing lessons. Any info would be great- Thanks
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Old 08-23-2012
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Re: Power boater looking to learn to sail

Find a GOOD sailing school close by and take a 3 day course. You will pick up a lot of good information that may take you decades to figure out on your own. It will also give you a good idea whether you will even enjoy sailing. Sailboats are worlds different from power boats and sailing schools are a whole lot cheaper investment than jumping into buying a boat and finding you really don't care for sailing. Good luck on your adventures!
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: Power boater looking to learn to sail

Castle Harbor sailing school in Miami is great


They use Harbor 20s - best keelboat to learn on
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: Power boater looking to learn to sail

You may wish to revisit the size of your first sailboat after taking sailing lessons.
Had I to do it over again I would buy a cheap dingy sloop (Welcome to the International Lightning Class)
comes to mind.
Why?
Because you can then sail and learn through experience at the lowest possible cost, and not get hung up on "working on the boat" syndrome.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: Power boater looking to learn to sail

Sailfl73-

I don't think I'd sign up for a Craigslist sailing instructor, but free lessons from a willing friend are ok. If you're paying, a reputable school is the best route.

I grew up in Cape Coral.

If you pay for a sailing school, you'll learn how to sail on a small boat. This will make you a better, big boat sailor. Hopefully it'll also help you decide if you want a small boat, or if you really want to step up to that 30 footer.

I initially taught myself on a 25 footer. I read a lot, and used the web. Then I made sailing friends who took me racing. That was where I really learned a lot. This helped me refine my boat parameters and I've settled onto my "long-term" boat.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: Power boater looking to learn to sail

Quote:
If you pay for a sailing school, you'll learn how to sail on a small boat. This will make you a better, big boat sailor. Hopefully it'll also help you decide if you want a small boat, or if you really want to step up to that 30 footer.
Agree. Get spanked around in a small boat for a while. Might be cheaper to just buy a small boat after taking a few lessons. Can usually sell a boat for about what you buy it for. Then take lessons on bigger boats b/f buying. OTOH, many have jumped right into multi-ton boats w/o any experience.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: Power boater looking to learn to sail

I agree that small boat experience will make you a better sailor. But you can start off with a large boat, and if your intention is to start off with a 30'+ boat, it makes sense to take a course based on a larger boat. What I'm saying is either way will work.

Larger boats are more forgiving (in general) when it comes to sail trim, tacking, etc. but they have their own challenges over small boats such as docking, handling the loads in the lines, sails; and engine issues.

Many sailing ASA schools offer a 101/103 package over three-four days. See if you can find one that does 101 on a small boat and then 103 on a larger boat.
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Re: Power boater looking to learn to sail

Sorry, its too late for you.

Seriously, a good reputable school is the way to go. If you have good knowledge of all the common things, such as navigation, you will find it substantially easier to focus on the act of sailing. However, if you have bad habits in tying knots, navigating, etc, it could be harder.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: Power boater looking to learn to sail

If you choose a class, I don't think you'll find that all that much time is given to the "basic ocean skills" as opposed to sailing. Maybe so if you move up to the cruising-type lessons, but not so much at the basic keelboat sailing level.

I teach the latter part-time, and most of my students have boating experience (fishing, skiing, even power cruising), which is fine. But aside from a basic safety briefing and "very basic sailing chalk-talk", I try to get them out and on the tiller and sail trim sheets as soon as possible.

Talk, even teaching talk, is quickly boring. Experience is fun, and the talk afterward about how and why what you just did, worked, is much less boring.

You'll find the classes, especially once out on the water, are a "one-room schoolhouse", we teach all grades, and they all learn pretty well. Yeah, we do teach some seamanship stuff, but mostly it's getting you to make, and feel, the boat go, especially upwind.

By all means follow your own path, but don't dismiss lessons out of hand. Sailing lessons really are about *sailing* (assuming there's some wind, ha ha).
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Old 08-25-2012
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Re: Power boater looking to learn to sail

If you take lessons, talk to the school ahead of time and tell them your situation. A good school and a good instructor will do some customizing of their instruction so that you get what you need, especially if you can find a couple of other people in your situation who want lessons or if you get some private lessons.

It's always a good idea to talk to a school beforehand to get a feel for them and their strengths and weaknesses and whether they're a good fit for you.
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