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  #1  
Old 10-11-2012
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Is Dinghy sailing for me?

Im on the fence about taking up sailing.

I did a weekend intro at a local club a year ago but didn't follow through. Came across one of the instructors in passing this week, had a chat and he invited me down to crew with him to have another go.

It comes down to this, I am somewhat prone to calf cramps when doing alot of squatting and awkard leg positions. I can count on one hand how many ive gotten doing actual sports - rather than at home or asleep which is most common, but they are so horrifically painful and crippling I am out for the count for the rest of the day.

At the intro weekend it became clear how extremely cramped the smaller boats are - I believe I tried a Topper and Laser - I did not like these at all.
We also had quite a few goes in a GP14(iirc) as 3 man crew which had alot more room which I much preferred.

At the end though I thoroughly spooked myself with thoughts of getting a calf cramp while out and either being stuck out on the water unable to make my way back or even worse, capsizing and falling into the water with the cramp at which I either imagined myself nearly drowning or having to abandon the boat.

Now im not sure whether to take him up and go down for another try. I like being on the water and what sailing has to offer is appealing to me but these cramps have shaken my confidence in the last couple of years.

Thoughts or advice welcome
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Old 10-11-2012
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Re: Is Dinghy sailing for me?

With what you describe, I'd think real "body english" boats (eg Laser) where you leg-hike a lot may not be for you unless the cramping condition gets better.

But no reason you couldn't sail on something larger where your physical positioning is less critical. So we're talking maybe at least, what, maybe 20 times your own weight? Say 3000 pound boat for 150-pound you? That may take some of the anxiety away compared to a laser where you and the boat weigh the same.

You also should discuss your plans with your doctor, if you haven't yet. But there's got to be a way for this to work out for you, I'd think.
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Old 10-11-2012
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Re: Is Dinghy sailing for me?

I agree with nolatom. The small boats such as you were on are very physical. I started out on a 22 footer and didn't need to move much at all while under sail. Mostly it was to raise and lower the anchor or raise and lower the sails. But I wasn't hopping from one side of the cockpit to the other as the boom moved across the boat. Weight distribution wasn't as much of a factor on that size boat.

Best of luck.
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Re: Is Dinghy sailing for me?

Hi

Thanks for responses.

You are suggestions are moving out of the dinghy class and into larger ones?.
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Old 10-11-2012
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Re: Is Dinghy sailing for me?

A larger boat with a proper cockpit, sheet and halyard lines means the only moving you will have to do is changing seating positions. Leaving and returning to the dock may require you to stand up but often not require any magical leg positions unless you are steering into a slip solo. The smaller boats require you to move your body often because not only are you constantly adjusting for the wind but you are also part of the ballast. On a larger boat you are the pilot only and get to do all the fun pilot things without having to worry about shifting another 30lbs over the beam to keep the keel making way right.

Not to pull rank but I almost lost both my legs to wonderful specialist that misdiagnosed a shattered heal, crushed ankle and a massive crush muscle group as a pulled muscle and a bruise. After changing docs when one leg went necrotic I was on the way to recovery and now I can walk again (not well mind you but good enough). I am missing a lot of bone and half my ligaments on my left foot and my right leg is missing 1/3 of the muscle. I am in constant pain from my left leg while walking and occasionally have issues with the right because of massive scar tissue....and I love sailing. It sets me free and even in my condition I can handle sails and pilot. You need to work it out and try sailing on something larger like a 22'. You may find that the experience is not only liberating but helps you condition your mind to handle and redirect the pain to more constructive purposes like reaching for a camera to take pictures of the dolphins coming up on the bow.


JUST SAIL!
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Old 10-11-2012
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Re: Is Dinghy sailing for me?

A. Get a bigger boat...

B. Stay "in" the boat...
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Old 10-13-2012
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Re: Is Dinghy sailing for me?

When considering whether you are a good fit for a dinghy, ask yourself, "Am I up to the physicality required of dinghy sailors?" Are you physically active? For example, do you hike, cross country ski, or bicycle? Unless you enjoy physically demanding activities, you are unlikely to enjoy dinghy sailing.

If you fit the profile, you will find that sailing a dinghy is more invigorating, develops skills faster, and costs less than other types of sailing.
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Old 10-13-2012
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Re: Is Dinghy sailing for me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudsonian View Post
When considering whether you are a good fit for a dinghy, ask yourself, "Am I up to the physicality required of dinghy sailors?" Are you physically active? For example, do you hike, cross country ski, or bicycle? Unless you enjoy physically demanding activities, you are unlikely to enjoy dinghy sailing.

If you fit the profile, you will find that sailing a dinghy is more invigorating, develops skills faster, and costs less than other types of sailing.

I enjoyed Dinghy sailing for years, and did none of the aforementioned activities. However, I horsebackride, and am pretty active. With that, I totally identify with the OP... I get cramps like mad, and they are extremely uncomfortable. I've gotten them sailing, and after going for a swim (very unsettling to say the least). First might I recommend some of the "leg cramp" meds... they are homeopathic (vitamins), and seem to reduce the pain of the cramps or eliminate them.

Second, I think he ought to consider a keelboat. If it's about racing/go fast, any number of boats will do, but if it's class racing, then perhaps a J/22. If it's just "lets find a faster sailboat that I can be less concerned about leg cramps" then might I recommend a Capri 22. They are cheap, plentiful, and sail really well. It's a current boat, with a current class, you can buy them used all day long for about $5k (with working motor and trailer). If you get the Tall rig fin keel, they are also quite a lively boat (speed). If your area gets decent winds, stick with the regular rig fin keel... if you will be trailering lots, then get the wing keel.

Tons of other small keelboats to consider, all over the spectrum. But seriously, I think a keelboat is in order, just something a little bigger than a dinghy.
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