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Discussion Starter #1
Hello sailnet community! I am an absolute beginner when it comes to sailing. I have only have sailed once and I think I fell in love. I am from Maryland on the chesapeake bay and right now I go to school on the gulf coast of south west florida, so I know that sailing has been around me my whole life but now I finally have time to pick up another skill/hobby.

Anyways, I am college student and I would love to learn how to sail and become familiar with the etiquette as well as the terminology. I am a very fast learner when motivated and I would like to ask if anyone knows a way I could get hands on experience sailing a larger boat (25+feet) in the southwest florida area with out buying a boat. I would also like to ask about any recommendations for a first boat, something small, yet big enough for a weekend trip. I have seen ads on craigslist for beat up 20-30ft. boats for around $5000. Do you guys think trying to restore a first boat would help with getting a better understanding of all the parts of the boat and how it all works?

If you have any advice, stories or wisdom that you could pass on to me I would greatly appreciate it. THANK YOU AND HOW TO SEE YOU ON THE WATER ONE DAY!
 

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Stay in school.
 

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Land lubber
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How to sail: Walk the docks where there are a lot of sail boats. Be friendly and helpful, ask questions, and wait for invites.

Buying first boat: Do you have a place to store one? Keeping a boat in the water is expensive. Do you have a car? If yes, look for a hobie cat or 12'-16' monohull that is easily trailerable. Maintenance tend to be far less on those boats as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have share a house with my 2 roommates so we have a back yard big enough to store a big trailer. Both my roommates are interested in sailing and we plan to learn together. We are basically your average dude trio, like the three musketeers or the workaholics.

Don't worry I plan on finishing school.
 

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As Jimmy Buffett said "Put your toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand, life is good today, life is good today."

You're in the best part of the nation to pick up a good boat at rock bottom prices. The gulf coast area has loads of old boats that need just a bit of TLC to get them in shape for sailing. However, as stated above, sailing is expensive. Slip rents, mooring balls, etc..., are a huge expense and you'll be needing a second job somewhere to support that sailing habit. Finish school first, then think seriously about that sailboat. They'll still be plenty of them available when you graduate and get a good job.

All the best,

Gary :cool:
 

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Freedom isn't free
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As Jimmy Buffett said "Put your toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand, life is good today, life is good today."
Zac Brown? or did they just cover it?
 

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First off, don't shy away from sailing smaller boats. When it comes to sail trim, points of sail, tacking, and jibing, it is all pretty much the same. What you learn on a 10' boat will be useful and transferable to a 100' boat.

Second, I can guarantee you that there are sailing clubs in your area that run regular races. Find out about them, show up, be friendly and respectful, and offer to crew. You can almost always find someone who could use an extra hand. That experience will be invaluable later on.

Good luck.
 

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Zac Brown? or did they just cover it?
Zac Brown wrote and performed the song, and he and Jimmy Buffett did a duet of it at one of Jimmy's shows. It became an instant hit for both of them. For the past six months, I've been using it as an opener for my shows and my audiences all love it.

Gary :cool:
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Go for it but first get into a small boat somewhere and learn the basics. You can have a LOT of fun with a small one-design sailboat. Then, IF you decide you like sailing, you'll have some knowledge to make decisions about that cruiser-fixer-upper later. That said, if you see a deal you can't pass up, do first, think later (but beware the cost:)
 

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An affordable way to start on a trailer sailor. Google this term for lots of info. Keep the boat in the yard and launch from ramp. This assumes someone has a tow vehicle. But the benefits are financial and otherwise...
 

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Captain Obvious
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With 3 young guys you have the physical strength to set up and take down a 22 foot trailer sailor without breaking a sweat. They are cheap and you even have room for girls. By bringing it home you never pay those expensive docking and storage fees. And any 6 cylinder car can tow it. $600 each should get one and then you have your own little sailboat. Do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you all for the great advice! I purchased 3 books about sailing and surveying sailboats. Unfortunately This semester is going to cost a little more that I originally thought so it will be a quite some time until me or my buds can buy a sailboat. but, I have also looked into my schools sailing team and we will be joining them tomorrow for our first attempt at sailing! :D
 

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Buying a small boat and getting into it with your buddies may sound like a great idea and accompanied by other elements it will work. But in my opinion it will not work on its own.

I did exactly that and thought I had sailing sussed sailing my own boat along with my mates and girlfriend. It was only when I was offered a crew spot on a boat with skilled/experienced sailors that I realised how little I had learned/knew.

Trying to learn on your own (even with an app or whatever smart-assed systems are available on the net) results in the old saying "You don't know what you don't know".

Get on someone else's boat and learn from them.
 

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Quirky
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I would start on something like a lazer. They're a blast. Buy one used, learn and get experience with it until you finish school. It's easily stored, easy to rig, easy to transport, and easy to maintain. Then you can sell it for about what you bought it for.

Once you get out of school and settled in your job, start looking at boats with cabins. Those you'll want to store in the water or at least mast up. People do set them up and break them down every time they go out, but usually they don't go out as often as those who keep their boats in the water.
 

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I think it's great that you signed up for sailing at your college. I sailed on the U of Fla sailing team when I was in college. U of Fla offered dirt cheap (if not free) courses in sailing, and other experienced students would also do coaching of newbies for free. Once you were 'checked out' and signed up, you were allowed to use their boats for free. I think there was a minimal fee per year for that privilege.

Most of the Fla State colleges near water had similar programs and we would race them in rotation. It's a good cheap way to learn to sail and build skills.

There are active racing programs in Sarasota, Clearwater, St. Pete, and Tampa that you might be able to tie into to get bigger boat experience.

Boats are usually cheap in Florida, but they are usually worth less than their cheap prices since Florida is very hard on boats and maintenance tends to be less than in states with off seasons, so the cheap boats tend to be pretty trashed out and so costlier to own.

Good luck,
Jeff
 

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As the Pardey's would say, "Go simple, go small, go now".

We bought a 25' swing keel trailer-sailor in Colorado before we went to classes. We went to an ASA school in CA (cuz it was cheaper to fly to SD from here than to FL from here). We've since sailed many boats and we just closed on our most recent and new home-to-be in a few weeks (to months, have to sell the house first). A 41' ketch.

Personally, I like Sal Paradise's example best. Oh to be young again.... ;)
 

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If you are in the Tampa area the Tampa Sailing Squadron offers adult sailing classes. Home There are also schools over in St. Pete. Check with your college they may offer sailing as well if they are near the water.
It takes time to learn to sail so you need to look for a school or sailing squadron or club close to where you live. The schools all have certified instructors, its best to learn the right way vs someone's right way. Most schools will start you out on small boats and then move up as you progress. Good Luck and Enjoy!
 
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