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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > My learn to sail experience!
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Thread: My learn to sail experience! Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-30-2008 11:08 PM
sailingdog Only two things I'd add.

First, get Dave Seidman's The Complete Sailor.

Second, get good foul weather gear... it is at least as important gloves or a PFD.
05-30-2008 05:43 PM
Andyman
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
I read a couple of books, bought a small, cheap boat and taught myself. I then crewed on bigger boats racing, read lot's more books and bought a big boat. Reading and hands on have always worked for me. Nice post by the OP BTW.
Sorta kinda for me. I sailed one day on a friends boat (Catalina 25) and was hooked. Sold both my motorcycles a couple months later and bought a 23' Aquarius. I'm in my second season. I still don't know what a lot of stuff is called and last season sailed with just the main. This year the jib goes up. It took a bit of getting used to on the heeling part but I ok with it now...sorta kinda

At least I feel comfortabel that my boat won't tip over, me fall into the water, get tangled up in the rigging and drown....sorta kinda.

Anyway, I'm having fun and that's what matters.

Andy
05-30-2008 12:40 PM
merlin2375 JohnR, thanks for the comment.

I have a great appreciation for what instructors do. They have a lot of hurdles to overcome. One of them is that often they are given a class of students who have a WIDE variety of experience from never sailed before to regular-sailor-just-trying-to-brush-up. You're comment is right-on, if you have questions ask them but do it at an appropriate time but definitely ask them. Read, sail, learn, read, sail, learn and ask along the way
05-30-2008 12:19 PM
JohnRPollard
Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin2375 View Post
2) Push your instructor to give you the best for your time. Ask a ton of questions. Most instructors are FULL of knowledge but they won't always give it all to you. The more you read (see number 1), the more questions you'll have, the better. It's your time make the best of it. Also, if you don't understand something ask. Don't just sit there.
Excellent post, Merlin.

Regarding your point #2 quoted above: As a former sailing instructor, I'll mention that sometimes we have to be careful about dumping too much information on novices. We've all made that mistake, and watched as our students' eyes began to glaze over from information overload. So if your instructor at times seems a bit reticent, it's from experience, realizing that the most important objective of a learn-to-sail course is to master the basics.

By all means, pepper your instructor with questions if you have them. Usually they will be more than happy to share their knowledge. They hold back at times only for fear of saturating the students with more information than some can process in the short period they're together.
05-30-2008 10:09 AM
merlin2375
Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Learning starts with feeling the wind on your face and the tiller in your hand. Learning never ends; and that my friends is the joy of sailing.
I couldn't agree more with this statement. Thanks for posting the additions. I often find myself asking maintenance questions and poking around when I'm crewing just to get an idea of what owner's are dealing with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
I read a couple of books, bought a small, cheap boat and taught myself. I then crewed on bigger boats racing, read lot's more books and bought a big boat. Reading and hands on have always worked for me. Nice post by the OP BTW.
Thanks Charlie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShockValue View Post
Thanks, this is a really helpfull post to me. I'm just at the point where I'm questioning my options on how to learn. Sailing club? buy a cheap boat? etc.
Luckily I work at a library, and share a cubicle with a circumnavigator. So I have some book learning, and lots of great inspirational stories. But I still need to get my feet wet
Glad the post helped. Get those feet wet! Get out there and find a way on the water

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
Excellent post, Merlin, I hope it helps anyone else out there who is contemplating learning to sail.
Thanks nolatom! I also agree with you on the reading, that's a great point. In fact, the difference between a tack and gybe (something now taken for granted) didn't really make sense to me until I had sailed a few times!
05-29-2008 07:30 PM
nolatom Excellent post, Merlin, I hope it helps anyone else out there who is contemplating learning to sail.

My viewpoint is that of an instructor. I occasionally teach sailing as a part-time gig, and am interested in students' feedback, so thanks, what you said rings true.

I agree that the best sailors come from small boats, so learn on the small sloops, then you can sail the big stuff. Not necessarily vice-versa.

And I also agree (mostly) that the only way to learn sailing is to get on the helm and sail. When I teach, I honestly try never to touch the helm unless it's a true emergency, which it almost never is.

I agree about read, read, read, with a small reservation: I think the reading can only take you so far, then you have to sail, and handle the helm and the sheets. Then read, now it will make more sense. Then sail. Then read again. Book learning will only take you so far, though it's valuable.

Would I guess correctly that you came out of Community Boating in Boston?? A great place. I learned how to sail a little north of there, and now I have the privilege of teaching way down south, on Lake Pontchartrain.

Best wishes, and thanks for an informative post.
05-29-2008 07:12 PM
ShockValue Thanks, this is a really helpfull post to me. I'm just at the point where I'm questioning my options on how to learn. Sailing club? buy a cheap boat? etc.
Luckily I work at a library, and share a cubicle with a circumnavigator. So I have some book learning, and lots of great inspirational stories. But I still need to get my feet wet
05-29-2008 03:36 PM
CharlieCobra I read a couple of books, bought a small, cheap boat and taught myself. I then crewed on bigger boats racing, read lot's more books and bought a big boat. Reading and hands on have always worked for me. Nice post by the OP BTW.
05-29-2008 03:21 PM
chucklesR I'll add a thing or two.
Merlin has talked quite abit about how to go about learning the 'fun' part of sailing: to wit the making the boat move through the water.

Look around at this forum and note how many of the threads are not about 'how do I trim my sails' - uh uh, most are about - 'help my ??? broke and I don't know how to fix it'.
Small boats are nice - they have no systems that need repair and upgrade that are more complicated than a level and pulley system.

Bigger boats require bigger systems, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Hydraulic etc.
I'm one of those guys that learned by buying a bigger boat and diving into the whole gesalt of sailing and boating head first.
Get your library of maintenance books out and start reading, take community college classes in diesel engine maintenance and repair, electrical system repair, theory etc, etc. etc. ad nauseum etc.
There is no side of the road to pull over to when water is coming in at 3000 gallons per hour and your bilge pump is rated at 2000 gph at zero head.
How many of you even know what your bilge pump is rated at, and how to recalculate for the head you have (how many of you know what I mean when I say head - and it's not bathrooms on board so wipe so the smile of your face if you said that).
Dinghy's don't have fire extinquishers, Nav lights, and usually only know racing rules right of way problems. They don't have batteries that must be recharged, topped off or have daily load calculations and charging concerns.
You will never, in a dinghy, need to know how many gallons of water you need per day per crew just to get by, and seldom worry about medical supplies and communications devices and how many, what types etc.. you should carry.

They say chess takes minutes to learn and a life time to master, sailing is as simple as chess, or far more complex.

Learning starts with feeling the wind on your face and the tiller in your hand. Learning never ends; and that my friends is the joy of sailing.
05-29-2008 02:38 PM
merlin2375 Thanks Cam/Frog....glad you guys enjoyed. Positive rep always welcome [g]

Questions/comments/additions welcome! Hope this thread can be a resource for those looking to get into the game!
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