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Old 01-25-2000
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Mark Matthews is on a distinguished road
Experience without Buying a Boat

I am looking for information on how to increase my sailing time without actually buying a boat. Can you help?


Mark Matthews responds:


There's a couple of ways you can go. Try checking with a local yacht club since boats often look for crew. Put an index card on a bulletin board with your contact information and don't forget to mention you're not afraid to work on the boat either. You can post these at marinas too. This is a time-tested way for sailors to get out on the water without their own boat and acquire experience. Hanging around the marina any sunny weekend day with a smile and some PR skills can also be an effective method.

At some sailing schools its possible to rent a boat for the day, although you’re likely to have to prove you’re capable of handling a boat safely, whether by showing official certification paperwork, or an instructor-check out, or both.

Another route, depending on your skill level, is teaching at sailing schools, which is as close to an ideal vocation as there is—sailing on someone else's boat while getting paid for it! And even if you don’t have the experience right away to teach, every charter fleet needs a small crew of workers to maintain the boats. The more you are around boats, the more you’ll get to know them and their systems, as well as what works and what doesn’t work on board. Before you know it, you’ll be plying the waters one way or another.

I hope this helps,

Mark Matthews

Suggested reading Great Books for Beginners


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