Single handed sailing without actual sailing experience - Page 7 - SailNet Community
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post #61 of 67 Old 05-08-2016
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Re: Single handed sailing without actual sailing experience

Great thread, i'm in the same position you're in. I learned from books, youtube, and talking to sailors. I bought a San Juan 7.7 and just went for it. The first few times out you will feel anxious, excited, scared *hitless! But that's OK, that's how we all feel the first few times out of the gate. My advice is keep a journal, detail each sail - wind conditions, tides, sails used and trim, route, everything that occurred. Then you can analyse the days events and make changes as required so the next time out is smoother, more prepared, more enjoyable. Take care of everything possible at the dock... Clambering around with sailcovers and rigging that should have been set up at the dock sucks and is stressful. Also, an autohelm is really sweet to have onboard. Gives you time to set up before tacks, take a leak, grab a sandwich. Worth every penny in my opinion.

You'll learn and build confidence fast. Docking can be exciting so take it slow when single handing. Know what the tide is doing!. The last couple times out I find i want more wind, more waves, more challenge. Im setting my sites further now.. Circumnav Vancouver island or up to the Charlotte's perhaps.

Good luck.
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post #62 of 67 Old 05-08-2016
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good luck I can't wait to be on my own similar journey.
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post #63 of 67 Old 05-09-2016
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Re: Single handed sailing without actual sailing experience

Hi Simon,
I started with sailing courses, both in the US and the UK, but I knew I will never truly learn unless doing it alone as well, and not just the "sailing" aspect but full boat maintenance and repair too.
So meanwhile I also bought my first 28 feet sailboat about 8 months ago, and had to face everything now, buying it, sorting it for winter with everything that implies, now getting it ready for summer (did the bottom work, hull paint etc), and then sorting all sort of refitting aspects which are still ongoing. This afternoon I was literally arranging my things on her for a full liveaboard and lots of sailing ( ie, plan everything that is fully secured at all times, so things dont fly around when sailing) although the boat isnt fully ready, but living on her will push the refitting aspects, some are very necessary, some are more cosmetics.
There is something to learn at every corner of it, something to do, something I totally scratch my head about more often than not. I had no idea how to use the drill before, well, I know now and I am so darn proud of my tools!
When I get overwhelmed, I just take a step back, look at only and only one thing that I need to do and simply ignore the others for few hours. And slowly, I have to admit its so great how I see myself managing to do some things all alone. Two days ago I opened and cleaned the water tank. Seems so simple, and it is (now that I know), but it wasnt for me when I said ok today I do the water talk, I had no idea what to expect, will I figure it out myself, etc. It is a custom made water tank. And yes, I could have paid someone to do it for me, for some things that are truly a bit too advanced I do get help but I try to get things done myself as much as I can.
I do ask around, here at the marina or in Sailnet although sometimes I get even more confused getting the answers, but then I continue the research and I try this and that.
I dont think I ever learnt so much about so many things in such a short time, reading is one thing, doing is totally different. And mostly I love how it allows me to think outside the box and sometimes trying to just come up to some solutions to this or that or discussing the solutions with others.

Good luck and go for it! It can only enhance your life.
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post #64 of 67 Old 05-09-2016
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I'm not a particular fan of races as sailing to me means going where I please when I please, for as long as I please. Offshore races like the VOR are another story however. I started out on my fathers boat at the age of two which was a 22ft and we are now partners in his current vessel. Reading is a must and havin friends with experience is a major help but for me I didn't care about racing. All the sports I do are non organized like surfing, snowboarding and sailing. That being said, learning to race isn't bad by any means but if you chose not to go that route it's very doable. Started at 2 and by the age of 15 was sailing my old mans boat solo and going out for weekends afloat. I'm 32 now with a wife and 2 kids that love sailing and the wife and I are able to spend some nights at anchor which she loves. Best of luck!
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post #65 of 67 Old 05-10-2016
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Re: Single handed sailing without actual sailing experience

I started sailing in similar fashion. I had always wanted to do it, but had plenty of other family commitments, hobbies, work, etc. that always was higher up on the priority list. My wife and I were on a cruise and they had some Hobie Waves to rent, so gave that a try and had an absolute blast. I had already read about it, so understood the basic concepts and did have many years of power boating under my belt, so it was pretty easy to figure out. After that experience I decided that I would get a boat at one point. I read The Complete Sailor a couple of times. I found a local sailing club that has fun races, and showed up one day to crew. I had a lot of fun doing that, and the skipper of the boat I was on was very patient with my lack of knowledge. I decided however that before I do that again, I wanted to have a little more experience. A friend of mine was getting rid of a little O'Day Widgeon, so I picked it up and have been learning to sail on my own on our little lake. I purposely went by myself on my first trip out, couldn't get the centerboard all the way down and ended up flipping it when a gust of wind came along, but nothing was hurt other than my pride, and I learned a LOT on just that first outing. I've had a few more successful trips, and am now at the point where I'm starting to take my sons along. As others have said, it's not all that difficult really. For me, part of the appeal and fun of it is figuring out all of the little things to make the boat go a little faster, and stay upright at the same time. Once I feel I've mastered the little boat, we will pick up something big enough to do an overnight or two on.
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post #66 of 67 Old 05-11-2016
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Re: Single handed sailing without actual sailing experience

First time I sailed, ever, was when I motored my boat past the jetty into the Atlantic and "shanked" on my jib. (Error in term intended and reflects actual events). Made lots of mistakes that day, and the next one, and the one after that. Heck, the first couple of years would make the Stooges proud. But 5000 NM under my keel including 2 charters in the Caribbean and I'm doing OK.

Best thing to do. Take courses, get practice, race, buy boat. Most practical, study, watch videos, buy boat and sail. One thing that I insist; ( I just put my foot down for affect) take a Sailing and Seamanship course thru your local UCSG Power Squadron. I think they're like $75 and a weekend. This course teaches all kinds of basics in the classroom setting, not on sailing so much, but on how to act on the water; what to take, how to anchor, rules of the road ("right of way"), safety. Where I sail, I leave the dock and I can have literally 50 boats, from 12' to 500 feet coming at me. Who is the "stand on vessel". Nice to know at times like that and this is the type of thing you learn in the class.

The biggest thing you need to consider if you're going the sail-n-flounder route is to take a cold look at your common sense factor. Successful sailors, those floating, not run aground or involved in a liability law suit, usually have very good common sense. Another thing is how practical you are at fixing things. You're going across the water, moving over a ton of fiberglass, aluminum and beer using nothing but a bed sheet and some rope. Things go wrong. Can you make it right enough to get home. And don't emulate the Viagra commercial! Note the back winded jib and tow cable at the end.
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post #67 of 67 Old 05-19-2016
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Lots of good points here. The points on common sense are key. Everyone is different.

There is always more to learn. I'm always asking questions on this forum , it's been a great resource. I had no lessons, just an idea of wanting to sail after being on powerboats for years.

So I bought one and learned. And moved up bigger in boat size.

When I say learned. I guess I mean I haven't gotten myself killed yet, but I'm still learning. I'm no Josh Slocum.
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