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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-05-2014 09:38 PM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

I generally agree with Delta's comments. However, it is important to point out that you need to clearly define your needs. For example, will you most often be sailing alone or with one, two, or more people? Will you mostly be day sailing, weekending, or going for longer cruises? If you don't know the answer to these questions, you might want to start smaller simply because of the costs.

Starting small can be a great way to see whether you like sailing, and how much you'll use a boat. If you're unsure about getting your feet wet, you can pick up a Catalina 22 for pretty cheap (a few thousand) and if you decide you hate sailing, you can sell her for close to what you paid for her. If you decide you love sailing and want to move up to something bigger, you can sell her for about what you paid for her. And if you decide she's the right boat for you, you can keep her. Some will tell you that you are likely to lose money doing it my way, and I agree with them. Let's say you buy a C22 on a trailer for $4,000 and a year later you and your companions decide it's time for a bigger boat, and you wind up selling her for $3,000. Yes, you've lost $1,000. But that year with her, or however long you'll get her, will help you define and refine your wants and needs. Do you want a big cockpit so you can entertain? Split transom? Wheel or tiller? Do you need a separate shower in the cabin? Do you NEED refrigeration, air conditioning, etc.? What kind of rig do you want? Are you going to be racing at all? These are all issues/questions/etc. that you'll need to answer. Trying to answer them NOW is, with all due respect, probably foolish. I'd be willing to bet that a year or two from now, your answer to a fair number of these questions will probably have changed. If you start with a $20,000+ 30' boat and a year from now you decide to sell her because you want/need something else, I suspect you'll lose significantly more than the $1,000 if you go with the "start small" approach.

For what it's worth, we bought our Catalina 25 for $1,000. We probably put another $1000 into her, not including the new engine, that winter. I used the C22 in my example above, but the same would basically hold true for a 25.
04-05-2014 05:12 PM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising


The difference in handling, IMHO, between a 27' and a 30' is inconsequential; except for docking fees!

Remember..costs rise geometrically with increase in footage. I'd goforthe smallesst boat that you'd be comfortable on in most situations AND the largest you can afford the $$ and timefeeding and maintaining..
Even if I didn't need to worry abouit $$ or maint,; I'd *still* have my 27', as it suits mejust fine I spend more time sailing than fixin' and it's so simple that I can fix/mainttain on the cheap and on the go..

Best of luck,
04-05-2014 01:16 PM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Well, this is an interesting thread that comes close to answering a similar question that I've been wrestling with--so I hope the original poster doesn't mind if I build on this discussion rather than starting a whole new thread...

I live near the Chesapeake and have been seriously considering buying my first cruising sailboat. Given family size, and planned retirement in 3 years +/-, I've been thinking that a boat in the 30-32 foot range would let me do just about everything I'd like to end up being able to do. The question is--first go for a smaller boat, say 24-27 foot, then move up, or start out at 30-32 feet?
My background--as a teenager/20-something I sailed constantly in LI Sound and the LI harbors with a Sailfish, including trips of 10-20 miles. Haven't sailed since, except once a year ago with my son in a 24 foot Rainbow, which I had no problem at all managing (much to his amazement). I'm a sea kayaking instructor--not sailing I know, but a lot of the coastal seamanship carries over--winds, currents, sea state, coastal piloting, weather, radio communication. I would absolutely plan to obtain formal instruction & achieve ASA 103 level certification before or immediately after purchase. Thoughts?
04-04-2014 12:44 PM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

there is a couple on youtube, with a channel about their cruising , they didn't take any courses in fact the one guy barely knew how to sail, they have videos up going from Alaska, to Hawaii , as long as your relatively smart , and not prone to rushing out you'll be fine . i have little experience with sailing let a lone cruising . I've been reading a lot and from what i read, it's really not that hard, if you pay attention to the weather before planing your tip and leave during windows of fair weather it's prolly better and safer too, i have also read not being in a particular hurry also helps, things like reefing the sails before it's dark, regardless of weather make cruising slower, but a lot less stressful, trying to reef a sail in 40 knot winds and stuff is not very easy, according to the videos i see of people doing that anyways. classes and stuff can't hurt you, but i don't think they are totally necessary , you can also join a yacht club, they will have a lot of sailors, and a lot of info and help, and usually it doesn't cost all that much to be part of a yacht club (for me in Ohio it's around $1,000 to $1,500 a year + or - 500 depending on if you use slips or whatever and how big your boat is, it sounds like a lot, but really it's not that much since I've seen one sailing class cost 1k before.
I am going to join a yacht club before i even have a boat, i figure i can help out around the place, help people with their boats and stuff I'll learn a lot just doing that , i really don't have much desire to cruise though my family does live in Florida so that option is open eventually whenever i get a boat.
03-29-2014 10:28 PM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

I did the same transition 4 years ago - I had sailed a 14' dinghy for a couple years and I bought a 27' Oday. The big boat is a LOT easier to sail. It's harder to maintain, but sailing is 100% easier.

The big boat will be more powerful, but also much more stable. It's like going from a dirtbike to a humvee. I can only imagine what its like to move to an even bigger boat.
03-29-2014 09:47 PM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Originally Posted by emcentar View Post
After sailing dinghys (Flying Scots) for the last few years, I started a search for a cruising boat in earnest this year.

I had planned to take a cruising course while I was searching. From the stories I read here, I expected I might search all year and not buy. But instead I found what appears to be a good boat early in my search and I have put a deposit on her.

So it's highly likely I'll be a boat owner before long, and before I've had a chance to take a cruising course. I've negotiated a couple of lessons on the boat after the sale as part of the deal, which hopefully will allow me to better understand the systems on this particular boat as well as serve as an introduction to cruising.

What else can I do to prepare for the transition? I have no experience sailing under power, anchoring, docking under power, wheel steering, etc. I'm studying books, and watching a number of sailing instructional videos to prepare, and I'm hoping that all these things plus my dinghy experience and lots of practice on my own boat will substitute for a cruising course altogether, at least in the short term.

Thoughts? Any suggestions or tips for making the transition from dinghy to cruising?

Thanks for the thread. I'm in the same position, so it's good info. Do you like any of the books or videos well enough to recommend them?

07-10-2013 02:27 AM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Originally Posted by emcentar View Post
So I had my first sail with the previous owner last Saturday. Everything went pretty smoothly, but I'm sure that's because I was relaxed knowing I had someone with me that I could ask questions. This Friday we're going to take her out for the first time on our own. I'm fighting a case of nerves.

Suddenly I'm sure I'm going to hit my neighbor coming out of the slip and let the jib sheets fly off the boat when I put up the sails. Very hard to focus on work this week - all I want to do is watch docking technique videos.

Any tips for my first time out with my new boat on our own?
You'll be fine relax have fun, experience and experiences will come
07-10-2013 12:28 AM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Yes, take lots of pictures and post them. How many times do we have to ask?

To me, as a fellow novice, the thing that scares me more than anything is docking. I can usually leave the slip without too many mishaps (like forgetting to untie one of the six lines, or forgetting to unhook the shore power), but pulling down the fairway past boats that probably cost more to have buffed than I paid for my boat was (and still is) very intimidating. The oft-given advice here of "never approach the dock faster than you are willing to hit it" is excellent advice. As long as the conditions allow it, go slow, stay in the middle of the fairway, and swing your turns wide enough to avoid issues. Fenders/bumpers go out as you approach the marina, and the boat hook(s) come out at that time, too.

Make sure you've set up a springline that you can use to stop the boat. Know where that line is when you leave, and make sure your companion knows that it is THE one thing that they are to do. If the springline is set up properly, the forward momentum of the boat will both pull you against the finger and keep the boat from hitting the dock. If you are unsure, try it a few times, and adjust the length/placement before you head out for your "real" sail. Once that is set up properly, you'll be able to attach the springline where it belongs and KNOW that the boat isn't going anywhere, so you can pay more attention to getting everything else tied off. Learning about the springlines, and how to configure them, was really one of the best things I learned last season.

Honestly, the rest of it is a piece of cake. Yeah, you'll forget to release the traveler or vang before you hoist the sail and it won't go all the way up. Or, if you have one, you'll forget to let the boom off the pigtail before you hoist the main. You'll forget to release the furling line before you try to pull on the jib sheets. You'll forget where you put the stupid sail ties. You'll forget to point into the wind when raising/lowering the main. The sail will spill all over the deck. You'll knock your significant other in the head with the boom. You'll get rope burn. You'll trip over lines that you swear weren't there a second ago. The winch handle will always be out of reach on the other side of the cockpit, or up at the mast, just when you need it most. But these are all things that only you will even know about, and (except for the hitting your SO in the head with the boom one, which we now laugh about) really don't impact your sail. They are all learning experiences ("teachable moments"), and we all do them. Don't get hung up on them, accept that they have happened, and will happen again, and you'll be fine.
07-09-2013 08:52 PM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

So I had my first sail with the previous owner last Saturday. Everything went pretty smoothly, but I'm sure that's because I was relaxed knowing I had someone with me that I could ask questions. This Friday we're going to take her out for the first time on our own. I'm fighting a case of nerves.

Suddenly I'm sure I'm going to hit my neighbor coming out of the slip and let the jib sheets fly off the boat when I put up the sails. Very hard to focus on work this week - all I want to do is watch docking technique videos.

Any tips for my first time out with my new boat on our own?
07-05-2013 01:18 AM
Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Just wanted to say that although it was expensive, my wife and I took a 5-day ASA course in San Diego where we got to live aboard a 31-ish Beneteau and get private lessons each day in the bay. We spent the first two days learning the basics on a little Capri 22 footer which by day 3 we were able to take out on our own and sail with no problem. Days 4-5, we sailed the boat that we had been living on and aside for the steering into the dock and a few additional lines to pay attention to, the difference were fairly minimal. The end result was that not only did my wife realized that she really could do it (be comfortable on a boat and enjoy sailing) but we built confidence as a team in a variety of situations. Oh yea, plus we got to hang in SD for a week :-)

I guess my point is that having the confidence on a smaller boat translates to confidence on something bigger...
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