Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere south of civilization
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Re: Testing the waters in Pennsylvania
Rather than dump a bunch of money on sailing courses my suggestion would be to buy a 15 foot or smaller very cheap dinghy that's pretty beat up, but serviceable. This is not going to be a boat to take your friends out on, but instead you will be crashing into docks, running aground and even tipping her over on occasion. This is the boat to make all your beginner's mistakes on, before you buy a nicer, more expensive boat. And believe me, if you start with the more expensive boat, you are still going to make all the same mistakes, classes or not, but the repair bills will be much more expensive, and if you load the boat up with friends, there is the possibility of someone getting hurt. Sailing isn't rocket science, but it does take a lot of sailing to get it.
This is how almost every professional sailor of note learned to sail, not through some expensive cookie cutter course.
Along with your little beater, I would highly recommend a great little book called Royce's Sailing Illustrated, a fun yet very comprehensive book filled with important information for the novice sailor or experienced professional. No massive preachy tome this, just a well put together book with everything from rigging to docking and even splicing. I've been using it to teach sailing for over 45 years, and still refer to it now and then, myself.
Good luck and remember, sailing is supposed to be fun, so keep that in mind when you are having a hard day.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
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