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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I'm a 23 year old guy who loves boating and kayaking. I also fix (most things) that go wrong with the engine side of boats. I'm about to expand to sailing and I just want some tips from people who do it!

My friend and I are both about to be 24 and really want to hit the ocean in the future. I realize we have a ton of preparation. We've done everything from being snowboard instructors in the rockies to working on small yachts off the coast of Queensland over the past few years. We honestly have determination to do what needs to be done...can't say the same for most of my amigos.

With that being said, we want to learn to sail in the most cost efficient way possible. We both live in Arkansas and own lakehouses here on a fairly large lake. Where should we start? Small boat on the lake? Pay for lessons at our local "sail club"? Move to Florida and just learn there helping a local out on his boat? (I have a friend in Navarre with some contacts, which I'm open to)

I also know ocean sailing is much different, which is what we want to eventually do. Probably will buy a cheap boat and fix it up eventually. BIG PICTURE: Our main goal is to sail the world. We're here for the long haul. However, before that we'd like to go from the keys to the Bahamas then the caribbean. Again, I realize that will take time and knowledge.

So if you were me, where would you start?

Thanks everyone :D
 

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I was you last year. I was 28 with minimal sailing experience prior to buying my Catalina 30. Former US Marine, so pretty confident in my ability to learn how to sail. Been taking it out 2-3 times a week for the past year in the gulf coast of Florida. Leaving for a 2-3 month cruise of the Bahamas come January. If you plan on buying a boat that you want to fix up, I'd make sure it's something you can still sail and fix up at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks man. I'll definitely look into that when the time comes. I realize it's also cheaper to buy on the ocean if I'm sailing out there so for now I may just buy a very small boat with sail to learn at the lake until I can hit the coast in a couple months. Happy sailing!
 

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Based on your other experience, it would seem neither of you would scare worth a damn ;-) I would think a small sailboat on that fairly large lake would be the most practical start, and would teach you the forces and balancing act (weight, body-english, sail trim, steering) that are sailing, better and faster than a bigger heavier boat with less dramatic feedback.

It's said (by me, but not just me) that the best sailors come from small boats. And much easier to extrapolate upward to the heavier boats than vice-versa. and cheaper to start with too.

A lesson or two early is good, just to keep you from learning bad habits you'd have to spend time later un-learning.

And have fun! Get good at sailing in a fresh breeze (eventually) on a Laser or a Sunfish, or any decent sailing dinghy, and you can handle anything with a little familiarization. then you can head to bays and sounds, then coastal, then offshore.

And never turn down an invitation to sail with someone else.
 

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Barquito
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I think you should start with small boat, too. However, I think you could learn how to sail without taking any formal lessons. You do need to seek out information from the internet, books, and other expiences sailors. You will soon find that all the sources start to agree in most important areas. BTW, when you are ready to move up to a boat that you are planning on taking 'out there', don't get a fixer-upper. You will end up spending too much money fixing it. It will be cheaper to get a boat that is in as close to the shape you want it to be in the end.
 

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Buy a cheap 22' boat with an outboard and learn how to sail on your lake. You will have a blast.

The path from there to blue-water sailing can happen a number of ways. Find an experienced captain who needs good crew. Take a blue water sailing course. Meanwhile work and save up your blue-water boat kitty.
 

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My wife and I just finished (yesterday) the ASA 101 Basic Keelboat course taught at the Key Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, FL. It was a great 3-day course taught on 22 Catalina's. The club is classicly "Florida Keys" style, and the staff were both professional and very laid back. We actually spent 6 days there "immersion sailing", so we had access to boats, kayaks, bikes, fishing rods, etc. for the entire time, all part of the package. In addition to it being an excellent ASA school, it's also a great vacation place. Definitely worth checking out. We can't wait to go back!

Good Luck!
Chris
 

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im coming from a motorboat background , but . with all of our friends owning sail boats in was inevitable that we would soon be sailing .
we looked for a year to find the boat we wanted . we saw it and it fit our needs , so we bought it . started sailing it the following weekend .
im totally addicted to sailing now . i cannot wait for the season next / late spring , summer season to get back out there ..
its one of those things i wish i would have found years ago , but . atleast i found it !
 

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Interesting. I am in arkansas started sailing in August, bought a boat recently, and it is supposed to move to Greers's Ferry tomorrow. I am still learning, took a course from a guy in Fort Smith. Are you near Greer's Ferry?
 

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Quirky
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Does the sailing club where you are do races? Bring beer and snacks on race day and tell them you want to crew.
You'll start learning to sail right away. Experience will also help you when you go to buy your own boat.
 
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Been sailing 8 months. Currently sail a 26' in Tampa Bay and the Gulf every weekend and free day I get. How I got to where I am:
-Half day charter on lake superior 2 years ago- Skipper gave me an overview.
-Read "Sailing For Dummies" cover to cover. (really)
-Full day "Learn to Sail" charter (no certification): one on one basic instruction and conversation with the skipper.
**Important decision point: Classes and certs, or hands on.
-Found and purchased my boat. (Went for the sailable fixer-upper)
-Sail, fix, read, improve weekly.

I plan to take some courses before I move beyond short costal cruising.
 
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