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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....
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Thread: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or.... Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-30-2012 05:07 PM
crstophr
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

I've been learning without lessons and am about 1 year in to this process now. I had been sailing about 6 times with a friend and decided I needed to do this for myself. I looked at the cost of lessons vs the cost of buying an old boat and decided to go for the boat. I spent 3k for an old but well kept boat with good sails. Ready to go the day I bought it and the PO took me out for a sail that day to get me familiar with it.

Here's my thoughts on this process:

Folks have already advised a lot of reading. If it's related to learning sailing and is available on the web read it. Free is a great price for knowledge. Search the various forums for more critical advice too.

EASE into it. If you can start in an area without crazy winds and currents it's a lot easier. Just cruise around protected waters for a while and then start making small pushes out to more unprotected areas a little at a time.

Don't expect it to be relaxing for a good while. Every time I go out I'm facing a challenge and it feels like it. There's no kicking back and sipping rum drinks at this point. I'm hyper aware of everything and on edge a lot. All I worry about is getting myself and the boat back in one piece. There are moments of bliss but they're the exception. Like screwing up my return timing and coming in near dark. Sunset was amazing but I would never have seen it from the water without the mistake.

It's OK to scare yourself a little. You have to push your comfort zone a bit each time in order to keep learning. Often the best feeling comes when back in the skip and realizing that I handled something new and survived

So yeah... buy a small boat you can manage... sail with a friend a time or two to get familiar and then ease yourself into it one new experience at a time.

--Chris
11-30-2012 11:31 AM
chucklesR
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

Smack, send me 3k, I'll send you some nicely printed certificates that end with you being qualified to circumnavigate.
11-30-2012 11:24 AM
smackdaddy
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

Oohh - good catch RobG. I forgot "asshat". That's another fine one.
11-30-2012 11:22 AM
RobGallagher
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

Read Sailing for Dummies. It has all the information contained in the ASA book, but fun to read.
Sail with nice people who know more than you.
The ASA coastal navigation course is very good. Any asshat can teach you to tack and jibe, most won't want to sit you down and teach you to navigate.
11-30-2012 11:09 AM
nolatom
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

I teach the basic keelboat course part-time so take this with a grain of salt.

I learned to sail without a school. Got the rudiments from my Dad, then knocked around in Turnaboats and 110s up east til I sort of knew what I was doing.

I was a kid, and had all the time in the world (and little money and my own boat), so it worked for me.

Less time? Not sure if you'll like it? Then you might try a lesson or three. You'll pick up fewer bad habits along with the good ones.

Then I agree, go race. That's what *really* taught me. Try to pick a skipper who's not a screamer. Or become one, just don't scream. Your crew can teach you stuff if you don't scream.
11-30-2012 11:02 AM
MokaKat
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

Smackdaddy, I agree with most of your statement! I learned how to sail by buying a cheap sailboat and sailed everytime that I had a chance at the local lake. I am considering cruising and have been reading books and blogs for about a year. I then signed up for the ASA101,103,104,114 Catamaran Cruising class and took the class in October. I did this mainly to get some ocean experience, but also to decide if the cruising life was something that I was really wanting to do. It all looks good on the web and in books, but reality is different. I totally enjoyed my week, and was drinking with a firehose to learn as much as I could. I know that I am not experience and still have a lot to learn, but the class accomplished what I had wanted to achieve. I also can now charter, so that is the next step. You can read my thoughts about sailing school and my experience on www.MokaKat.com.
11-30-2012 10:46 AM
cruisingdream
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimMcGee View Post
If you don't have some actual time on the water you'll be worse than useless on that race boat.
Every boat that races could benefit from some rail meat, so not worse that useless.
11-30-2012 10:42 AM
boatpoker
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Sure. My rate is $600/hr.

Oh, and Bubble's right above...any kind of sailing will do. Doesn't have to be off-shore. That's just how I've rolled.

SIX HUNDRED BUCKS AN HOUR ! Who do you think you are ....
a surveyor ?
11-30-2012 10:33 AM
smackdaddy
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Hey Smack, if you cruised 1500 miles offshore and it did not cost you a penny .... can I hire you to manage my boat ?
Sure. My rate is $600/hr.

Oh, and Bubble's right above...any kind of sailing will do. Doesn't have to be off-shore. That's just how I've rolled.
11-30-2012 10:29 AM
boatpoker
Re: Should I spend thousands on lessons, or....

Hey Smack, if you cruised 1500 miles offshore and it did not cost you a penny .... can I hire you to manage my boat ?

CalebD - I think the Moldy Dick comment was uncalled for
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