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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 02-27-2013
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Sailing On A Shoestring?

Hello all,

My question for you all is, how can I get time sailing, without dropping 4 or $500 on a charter every now and then? Iím fairly new, and only have an ASA 101 course, and a couple of sails since then under my belt, and want to get more time on the water before moving on to the next courses. There are a few sailing clubs in the Kemah/Clear Lake area, but Iím not entirely sure how they all Ďworkí, and Iíve seen some people recommend offering to be rail meat for racers that arenít too picky. Iím not sure how to accomplish either one of those. Many thanks for any advice.

-Jonathan.
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Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?

Offering to be 'rail meat' is a place to start, but indicate that you're eager and anxious to learn and you shouldn't be on the rail too long.

Most clubs and casual racing fleets are welcoming to enthusiastic newcomers. Key here is to be reliable.. ie show up when you say you will, and don't bail because it's raining, or too cold, etc. Reliable crew is a tough find so if you make yourself one you'll be routinely invited back, likely with increasing responsibility as you learn.

You really can 'learn for free'.. if you get lucky you'll experience a variety of boat styles and sizes so that when the inevitable time comes when you want to queer the good (free) deal you've got going and want to buy your own boat you'll have a better idea of what you want!

Just find out when race day is and hang out and ask if anyone needs crew... easy....
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Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?

Another option is to buy a used boat and get out on the water. If you're interested in learning to sail, and don't care about the boat as much as truly learning the art of sailing, boats can be found for cheap. I bought my first boat, a Catalina 25, for $1000. I picked up an Albacore 14 on a trailer for the cost of two dinners out. Sure, the boats needed elbow grease, but all boats do, or soon will. There also may be less expensive venues from which to rent. Our local lake charged something like $20-30 per hour to rent a 14' sailboat. Small, planing boats are great fun, go relatively fast, and really make you pay attention to what you're doing, what's going on around you, etc. They (generally) don't have cabins, don't have heads, don't have high-tech doohickies, etc., but that's not needed to learn how to sail.
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Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?

It is really easy in Kemah. Here are a few good options:

GBCA Discussion Forum - Index (use "Crew Finder")
Sailing Clubs Meetups near Houston, Texas - Sailing Clubs Meetups - Houston
Seabrook Sailing Club - Home
South Coast Sailing Club
TASS Homepage - online home port of TASS!
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Old 02-27-2013
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Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?

Everybody sails on a shoestring. Some are just shorter than others. Racing weekly will give you plenty of experience with different situations & crew. A willingness to participate in seasonal and weekly boat preparation will take you a long way in learning boat ownership skills too. Look at these as the building blocks you will need to build your future sailing and boat owning plans.

I have many years of boat manufacturing & service experience, and a lifelong love of sailing that started in summer camp. We race crew with an owner that was on the 1952 German Olympic Sailing Team, and it's amazing to see the 17 year old alive in a man that is now in his late 70's. He's competitive and knows more about making a boat go than some of the club members that think they know it all. Maintenance is now beyond him, but my wife and I have stepped in to fill the void.

Find your way to a like-minded owner and you will be on the right tack. Sail on!
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Old 03-04-2013
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Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?

Maybe there is an experienced sailor in the area that is w/o a boat, that would be willing to go into one with you 60:40 in exchange for some lessons, and labor on the boat.

OTOH, just get an old sunfish for $400, and sail the crap out of it.
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Old 03-04-2013
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Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?

Hang out at the local marina, get to know your Harbormaster. Soon you will be on lots of boats...Dale
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rugosa View Post
Everybody sails on a shoestring. Some are just shorter than others.
So true...!
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?

I've been sailing a classic gaff ketch for years, doing all my own maintenance.That becomes a tad tedious and I would welcome an offer of help in return for sailing.I leave the dock daily at 1pm so it's not hard to figure the deal. The offer is even on my web page. So far no response. Maybe newbies dream of a plastic Benni while they send out endless resumes.
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Old 03-07-2013
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Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?

I learned to sail in on a GBCA boat, a Tartan 10 named Gotcha. The Friday night races were great. I also crewed in the Houston Regatta on a J24.
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