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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > what is a realistic learning curve?
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Thread: what is a realistic learning curve? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-06-2008 11:10 AM
flyinmike thanks for all of the great info
04-28-2008 07:45 PM
billjoy My wife and I are taking a course this summer 7days/6 nights in the San Juans. We will be taking the courses for certification up to and including Bareboat: Basic Keel boat 101, Coastal crusing 103 and Bareboat Chartering 104 . The course we are taking has a lot of up front study as the school expects that we will have the basic knowledge BEFORE we show up
Texts: Sailing Fundamentals By Jobson; Cruising Fundamentals and Annapolis Book of Seamanship
We study as many Sundays as we can for at least 2-3 hours. It will take some committment on your part but it is doable.
Good Luck and Happy Sailing
04-28-2008 07:26 PM
Jeff_H Sailing does not have to be all that expensive. The key is how you go about it, and a willingness to cruise the way that earlier sailors routinely went cruising. These days people seem to want to bring all of the comforts of home, but in times past, cruising was about leaving the complexities of shore life ashore. There are still many good solid, simple boats out there that can be purchased cheaply and these good basic boats can provide a great platform to learn to sail on.

Learning to sail, like any complex skill set, requires a kind of apprenticehip but the good news is that you are enjoying sailing while you are building skills.

I also second the suggestion that racing other people's boats is a cheap way to build skills.

Jeff
04-28-2008 11:06 AM
johnshasteen Welcome aboard. Courses are okay, but experience teaches the best scho0l and the lessons are longer remembered. There's a saying in tennis that applies to sailing as well: It takes a year to learn how to play tennis, it takes five years to become a tennis player.
04-22-2008 06:13 PM
Xoxonis
Greek waters... can be tricky... but really nice...

For a novice sailor I would personally recommend to start in the Ionian sea. Plenty of beautiful beaches, distances between islands and harbours (forget marinas) reasonable requiring no night sailing... and most importantly light winds mostly in the afternoon (no meltemi in the Ionian). The problem is refuelling and getting water as most of the islands with the exception of Corfu and Lefkas and the town of Preveza have no facilities on the pier (personal experience two years ago). You may be boarded by Greek, Italian or US patrol vessels if you venture north of Corfu into international waters bordering Albania, as they might be searching for weapons and/or drugs. I was checked once by Italians and they were very courteous and professional. I don;t think a skipper will be essential in the Ionian, but joining a flotilla is advisable, as they will help with mooring and take care of diesel and water provisioning.

In the Sporades (less than in the Cyclades south or the Dodecanese further southeast) you will be affected by strong northerly winds (meltemi) often at 15-25 knots and sometimes reaching 30 or 35, force 8-9. It gets a bit hairy, but it is not dangerous as such provided you know how to deal with it (wait till dusk when wind dies down and find a harbour or cove for protection). I would advise getting a skipper at least for a couple of days.

The southern Aegean is a bit more tricky and there is at times quite some traffic especially as you cross sea lanes: be very careful, as most passenger ferries are deceptively quick and do not take kindly to changing course... I would definitely advise getting a skipper at least for the first week.

Get lots of practice in mooring "Med style", e.g. dropping anchor and reversing slowly into a (usually very cramped) position without damaging other boats... it's easy as long as there is no strong wind, since no charter boat has bow thrusters and you may find it difficult to reverse in a straight line... well as i said it takes some practice...

I would definitely avoid a catamaran because of mooring problems in harbours. I have personally witnessed cats being asked (politely) to anchor in the bay, as they take up too much space in the harbour (marinas have no particular problem, they just charge you extra...).

Having said all that I am sure that you will enjoy sailing Greek (or Turkish) waters tremendously. Let me know if you want any more info on locations...
03-03-2008 11:04 AM
JohnRPollard
Quote:
Originally Posted by akallabeth View Post
I had hoped to do any initial bareboat chartering is a limited sailing region - the Northern Sporades islands are close to my wife's home in Greece and are all within site of each other for the most part. We've also considered BVI etc., but that would be for another season, but may indeed be where we decide to do this. Chartering a skipper may also be in the plan.
Akallabeth,

Welcome to Sailnet! I like your handle too! Lots of good advice on this thread, with which I mostly agree (particularly the point that education is helpful, but there's no substitute for experience). I did just want to make one additional point:

I don't know what time of year you hope to do your chartering in the Greek isles, but just be aware that during the summer months you can encounter some very challenging conditions there. Beginning in June, the Meltemi begins to blow, and it builds stronger during July and August, then gradually diminishes in September-October. You probably realize that the Meltemi is a strong, consistent northeast wind that blows in the Aegean during the summer months, especially in the Sporades and Cyclades. Beaufort Force 5-7 wind and sea state are typical, which can make for exciting but challenging sailing. So I'm not sure it's the place I would recommend that a novice charterer go for practice. Keep that in mind as you work your way up.

Sailing is a great past-time, take it slow and you can look forward to a lifetime of enjoyment from it. Best of luck to you!!
03-03-2008 10:30 AM
chucklesR akallabeth,
Catamaran's are very forgiving. If you take the courses you have listed and go with a bareboat in Greece you will be fine. Taking another couple that has more experience the first time is double icing on the cake, cost and experience wise. My wife and I always take other couples on Charters because it's also more fun to share.

My experience - bought a 26 ft grampian (mono) sailed it 9 times over a 4 month winter - sold it, bought a 31 ft hunter, sailed it weekends for a year meanwhile taking asa classes through 105. Took a bareboat catamaran out of the BVI and had an absolute blast. I was the skipper of record although the other couple had owned a boat for 11 years I was better qualified. Most sailors never take classes.

At the time of my first bareboat I had never dropped an anchor, reefed a sail or changed a fuel filter. I knew how, just hadn't ever done it (except in classes).

Now (all of five years of sailing) I own my catamaran - a Gemini 105Mc and sail it single handed or crewed anywhere I want on the Chesapeake. Owning a Gemini is the best thing to happen to me in a long long time.

The best way to get sailing experience without spending lots of money is to simply go down to the docks, join a club and get some experience on someone elses boat. If you are ever in the Annapolis area just holler I'll be glad to take you out (Private message me here first and I'll shoot you a phone number).

Chuck
Patience Two; Gemini 105Mc #987
03-03-2008 10:11 AM
sailingdog One other point about racing... the fine sail trim techniques you can learn while racing will prove to be invaluable when you're out cruising, especially if you've learned how to maximize boat speed in light winds.

About the OPYC, it helps if you're handy and willing to learn about doing stuff on the boat. People who help out are generally asked to crew more often than people who just show up for the ride. You can also learn quite a bit about those maintenance and repair tasks and generally pick up a few pointers on them in the process, which is always a good thing to do before actually having to use said knowledge on your own boat.
03-02-2008 11:14 PM
nolatom I thought about your "why so expensive" question. There are lots of ways to sail on the cheap, most involve being a member of the "OPBC" (the "Other Peoples' Boat Club"), wherein you make friends with sailboat owners, who usually are looking for crew (betcha a whole lot of them around western Long I. Sound once you get a little experience and start asking around).

Look at the average harbor or marina. Those nice boats sit idle about 95% of the time (and 100% of the time in winter up north). Would you buy a house or car that you used so infrequently? Me, I'd rent or borrow, or go to the gatherings where they need guests (read: crew). There are sailing clubs you can join, or buy a boat with one or two others and share it (takes some cooperation for sure) or join a boat club that has boats you can take out as much or little as you want.

Actually, some well-used but decent coastal cruisers for two can be had for under ten grand. Much of the expense though, is where to keep it, because waterfront property (for docks, marinas, boatyards, yacht clubs) has become so precious that it's more expensive than the boat.

So maybe this doesn't help, but down here (Gulf south) lessons aren't that expensive, the ones I have taught on, whether yacht club adult ed., or private, are (for a group of four per boat/instructor), less than $20 per hour per person. So look around. And don't pass up racing just because you want to learn to cruise. Those owners are *always* looking for reliable crews, and racing is a concentrated course in how to sail in general (though not how to do lots of the cruising/logistics stuff Sailingdog rightly mentioned above). Plus they may even feed you and give you beer ;-)
03-02-2008 02:14 PM
akallabeth Thanks for the replies to date - especially the rough estimate for time, which I understand is rough based on so many things.

My handle - yes, I thought that it might seem odd to those that know the tale! But its frequently been mine on message boards - it was my favorite story in the Silmarilion. I guess even if it ended badly, there was a long age of glory, and well, I wouldn't mind having that before the end! But I'd kind of like to avoid entanglements with Sauron....

I live in New York City, so there are a lot of possibilities in the tri-state area for sailing. To meet our schedule, in fact, our courses are planned over three schools, one in CT, one in NY, and one in NJ.

I had done a lot of reading and based on theory, thought for what we'd like (long term), a multihull like a cat seemed right. Proponents argue that well designed and not-overloaded cats can perform very well as cruising vessels. But there is not a single cat in the area that is available for chartering or part of a club (there is one for crewed chartering and the ASA-114 course, but not for anything else). So most of our practice would be on monohulls. At least I'll get to know both types of boat this way.

Thanks also for the list of topics we would have to know AND be comfortable with. And the idea of having personal experience over classroom is appreciated. I had hoped to do any initial bareboat chartering is a limited sailing region - the Northern Sporades islands are close to my wife's home in Greece and are all within site of each other for the most part. We've also considered BVI etc., but that would be for another season, but may indeed be where we decide to do this. Chartering a skipper may also be in the plan.

I'll try to read up more on the forum as suggested. I'm sure more questions would be answered there. Again thanks for your responses and any more that come!

ps So any thoughts on why sailing is so expensive? Is it that its just not practiced in large numbers (so no economy of scale benefits)? The technology is expensive? It's a "luxury" pursuit? I was prepared for courses to cost a bit, but not so much for everything else to cost so much as well!

But it is a dream. My wife definitely has the Greek blood for the sea. I honestly think she gains in health and happiness just being near it for a while!
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