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We went out on our first sail today! YEAH!! We went out on a 22' Catalina, Ken also went out on a tiny little Sunfish. We had a very good time overall. Ken did very well with all of it, he says I did, too, but I'm not sure I did. I tend to be a lot harder on myself than he is on me. It did leave me with a few more questions.

I am not sure that I would be happy with the 22' boat even for learning to sail and taking "baby steps". It is important on learn on a very small boat? Should I take a professional course of some sort or is it okay to learn from experienced sailors in a non-professional capacity? If I do take a course from somewhere (I don't even know if there is a course nearby) would it still be better to start with a tiny boat or would a not-as-small boat be okay? Can anyone recommend a good sailing manual, with vocabulary? I noticed that I would have been much more comfortable if I had had some previous education even just from a book.

The leaning over thing made me very nervous (I don't even know the word for that). That will definitely take some getting used to. I didn't notice it til the Skipper mentioned it, then I got freaked out and couldn't calm down!! Gonna have to work on that for sure.

Missy of Brightwolf
 

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We went out on our first sail today! YEAH!! We went out on a 22' Catalina, Ken also went out on a tiny little Sunfish. We had a very good time overall.
Great! Welcome to the world of sailing! :)

I am not sure that I would be happy with the 22' boat even for learning to sail and taking "baby steps". It is important on learn on a very small boat?
Some people feel it's better to start with a smaller boat. Others not. It's said the advantage to starting with a really small boat, a dinghy, is you can really feel the interaction between boat, water and air. We started with a 30' boat, and are happy with our choice. We feel she's not to big, and not too small. She's just right :). (But remember: We both had prior experience.)

Should I take a professional course of some sort or is it okay to learn from experienced sailors in a non-professional capacity?
One doesn't need professional instruction, IMO. That being said: My wife and I took an ASA101 and ASA103 course. She had experience sailing, but not on a modern keel boat. I had experience crewing a modern keel boat, but didn't really know how to sail. By taking the courses, she became familarized with modern keel boats and I learned something of how to sail. Plus we were time-limited: We were to take delivery of the boat we'd purchased two weeks hence.

If I do take a course from somewhere (I don't even know if there is a course nearby) ...
Check local sail and yacht clubs.

Can anyone recommend a good sailing manual, with vocabulary?
Two, actually: Gary Jobson's Sailing Fundimentals (which is also the ASA101 and ASA104 text) and David Seidman's The Complete Sailor.

I noticed that I would have been much more comfortable if I had had some previous education even just from a book.
I'm a strong believer in books, in the two years since we started sailing I've got eight books on boats and sailing, and another two on knots, but it's experience that will make a good sailor of you :).

The leaning over thing made me very nervous (I don't even know the word for that).
It's called "heeling." You'll get used to it :)

Welcome, and enjoy the journey :)

Jim
 

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Most sailors work up to larger boats unless they happen to crew on a larger boat and get their experience that way. Big boats aren't necessarily harder to handle they are just more to handle. Smaller is simpler but sometimes things can happen really fast on a small boat.

Since you don't know what heeling is called and how it effects the boats motion, seed, hull, and sails, it would be good to do a little reading. It will help you to learn how the sail shape affects the speed and how you want the sailes shaped and how to control the shape, reading will help with this plus you will really start to enjoy sailing much more. So much is going on than you aren't aware of when you first start. It also will provide you with questions to ask a instructor if you go that route.

It is a great you are asking questions I would say that is a clear sign you enjoyed yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wow! What agreat day. I started sailing 13 years ago from scrtch like you. my advice would be to sail a very small boat to learn and sail a medium size boat to cruise. (I have a Catalina 30 which I think is very manageable) The small boat will give you a good "feel" for the sailing and the big boat will let you get out and stretch your legs a bit. Enjoy but know that sailing can take over your life.
 

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Missy, Glad you and Ken had a good time on the water. Check your local library for books. The two mentioned above by SemiJim will probably be there. Any bookstore will have these or similar books as well.

One advantage to getting a really small boat (a sailing dinghy or daysailor in the 12 to 18 ft range) is that they can be rigged and launched very quickly. So you can get out on the water and have some fun without a whole lot of effort. And as others here have stated, you will really get a good feel for the helm, sailtrim, how the boat handles wind and wave, etc. On the other hand, if you're looking for something that you can live on for a weekend, or longer, then obviously you'll want something bigger. But you will want to develop your feel for the water and the wind before you take that plunge.

There are different options open for learning to sail. One is to go out with experienced sailors and learn as you go. Another is to take a more formal course through a local sailing club or university. The most formal, and usually most expensive, is to take a course from one of the formal sailing schools that are located on the big bodies of water... the Gulf, Chesapeake Bay, Virgin Islands, Lake Michigan. These are US Sailing or American Sailing Association (ASA) courses that put you on a larger boat for 3 or 4 days with an instructor where you learn alot in a short period of time. Many of the folks on Sailnet have taken some of these courses. Lots of choices that will probably engender more questions for you, but it's a fun journey.:)

Don't be hard on yourself, Missy. This is all for fun! There's way more to learn about sailing than any of us will ever know. That's what makes this sport such a blast. And don't worry about the 'leaning over thing.':eek: Even on that little C22, there's a 600 lb. chunk of iron dangling down below that will keep the boat from tipping over. When you read a little more about sailboats, and get a little more experience on the water, that heeling over will be something you look forward to.:D

I'm thrilled that you guys got to go sailing today.:D It's the most fun you'll ever have at 5 mph. :laugher :laugher
 

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I agree with all the posters..

I loved the "concept" of sailing before I started..

now that I know more about the physics and the heart and soul, I love it more..

my first sailing was on a 36 Bavaria that I crew on (while reading sailing for dummies as quick as I could) which i would recommend as a quick intro book..

now I've bought a 22 Starwind and it is so simple, and a blast to sail.. I single hand sometimes and it's magic !!

The heel takes a while to get over...as soon as you heel over way too far, you'll see what I mean... she stands up straight and points into the wind and stops..but you won't believe me until it happens a few times !!

It still blows my mind that the wind can move a big ol' boat through the water silently !
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm very new to sailing, so take what I say with a big grain of salt.

I don't know much (if at all) about learning how to sail, but I do know a lot about motorcycles, and maybe the psychology of learning how to operate any moving object is similar enough for comparison.

With motorcycles, the statistically most dangerous rider is one who was taught to ride by a friend/family member. The safest - one who takes a professional course. Self-taught riders are even safer than friend/family taught.

That part is fact. Here's my theory and how it may relate to sailing:

When you are new to learning something, you have no real way to judge good vs. bad information. If someone you think has "experience" you are likely to believe whatever they teach you. If they are wrong, you will end up with a false sense of your own abilities and unknowingly take risks you are not prepared for. Self-teaching at least eliminates the false sense of security and, while a slow way to learn, you will likely proceed with due caution.

So, take it for what its worth (nothing, you read it for free), read as much as you can and spend the money on professional lessons. If you really like it and get into sailing, the amount you spent on lessons will pale compared to all the other money you end up spending.
 

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I learned to sail on a sunfish. It was a great boat that really helped with the fundamentals, and I am going to get my wife on it as soon as it stops raining in CT. I thought it was important for her to get the fundamentals on a small boat, and then we are going to take a basic keelboat coarse in August to learn from professionals. I think that while friends and family are good teachers, a weekend of rigid instruction can go a long way to enhancing the joy of sailing.

Good Luck!!
 

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I am not sure that I would be happy with the 22' boat even for learning to sail and taking "baby steps". It is important on learn on a very small boat?
You can learn to sail on anything. Big and small boats each have pros and cons.

Small (ok tiny) boats provide immediate feedback, and provided you are prepared to get wet occasionally, are a wonderful means to quickly get the "feel" of sailing. Moving up to bigger boats is easy enough - just keep in mind that they react slower.

If the idea of tipping over etc freaks you out, then something bigger might be better to learn on.

You never stop learning of course - and it is all good fun.
 

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Read all you can. Go any chance you get with anyone. You will learn. Might now be the BEST way...but it is a way. We become a product of our thoughts.
 

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Taking an ASA 101 course would be a great idea, since it would give you a very solid foundation of sailing knowledge and terminology. I'd also HIGHLY recommend you get Dave Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor, which is one of the best sailing primers I've seen to date and covers a fairly wide depth and breadth of subject matter.
 

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Here is the plan at this time:

There is a Sailing School local to us that teaches the ASA classes. Well, the ones you can learn on a lake. We are going to take the 101 class in a couple of months after we've gotten some other things taken care of and read some books. That will give us ASA certification and a discounted rate for the attached sailing club. We will join their club once we are done with the class because the main benefit to that particular one is the boat rental. They have Capri 22's available for use by the club members at no fee. So, we feel that rather than buying a 22' (or so) boat and then selling it in a year or so we can just use the club boats for free. By the end of the year contract with the club we will be ready to go to the coast and start taking the more advanced classes like coastal cruising, etc.

I really wish we could buy a Sunfish or the equivalent right now but we just can't. I know they are good for learning on and Ken had such a great time sailing it the other day (was that really just this past Saturday?) that I know it would be a good investment.

I also wish that we had some people who would be willing to take us out on their boats so that I can see some things first hand. I was really quite confused about some things after our sail on Saturday. For one thing, I learned that we had way too many people in that boat for a "learning" sail. I kept falling over every time I was told to stand up and part of the reason was that I kept standing on peoples feet! It was just way too crowded. <sigh> So, I feel that I would learn a lot more even from just one sail in a calmer and less crowded situation. I want to just watch a couple of times and then try it.

So, that's the plan at this time. Any other suggestions? ;)
 

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I think you're right on track, also, maybe the sailing club has some smaller boats like a laser or sunfish. My family had a Capri 22 and that is my only real experience sailing with a keel, it is a great learning boat with decent speed and if they are free to use, all the better. You may learn that they are taken too much of the time and decide to buy on your own in a year, but sounds like you have a good plan.
 
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