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Hey. My name is Stephanie. I am new here on this site as well as new to sailing! My husband & I have always been fascinated with boats & everything around the water in general. We are on the coast of South Carolina in Beaufort County. We are avid boaters and have thought about getting a sailboat many times. So the opportunity arose when one of our friends/neighbors decided to sell his sailboat. So here we are, newbee sailboat owners. We purchased a 1970 Dufour Arpege 30' with a little hurricane damage. We have watched TONS of YouTube videos & have put the sails up a few times. We are truly YouTube Sailors...as we have learned to sail only by watching YouTube! LOL :| We actually have even posted a couple sailing videos on our YouTube Channel "Salty Reflections" to share our new experience and to get some feedback. Right now while we are just learning to sail, it is difficult to get decent film footage, especially with the wind conditions but we will continue to share our adventure.
What advise would you give to a novice sailor with no previous sailing experience? I am looking forward to soaking up a lot of knowledge from you all!
Thanks in advance,
Stephanie & Oliver Chavis
 

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Hi Stephanie,

My advice it to go out and just have fun. :)

Sailing is not an easy thing to learn from a book or video because its a skill, not brain type knowledge. I can't teach you in a book to paint: "grasp the paint brush in your fingers by putting your index finger...." Crazy.

Same with sailing. Go out on sunny days and stuff around :) You'll pick up the basics easily.

Keep the smile as sailing works better with laughter :)


Mark
 

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Right now while we are just learning to sail, it is difficult to get decent film footage, especially with the wind conditions but we will continue to share our adventure.
Gaffer tape and shock cord are your freinds :)

Strap the camera down and hit record, let the camera move with the boat while you focus on sailing.
 

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Get the boat out in light winds... 10 knots is ideal.... motor slowly into the wind...hoist the main... loosen the topping lift, grab the main sheet and fall off thew wind a bit and the boat should heel and off you go. Out the motor in neutral and watch your telltales on the main's leech... you want them streaming straight aft. Fall off and ease the main as you do keeping the tell tales streaming.

Next hoist or unfurl the head sail... trim it in again having the tell tales streaming aft. You're sailing! Keep both sails telltales streaming aft. Try different points of sail all the way to a beam reach... try both tacks.

When you feel comfortable sailing up wind to a beam reach... try the down wind points of sail where the wind is pushing the sails.

Next time consider sailing in a bit more wind.

You'll learn from doing!
 

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Welcome aboard!

-Be cautious with the weather, challenge yourselves gradually. "Fair weather does not a sailor make." But then the sea can be unforgiving.
-The value of professional training, and experience on other boats cannot be understated. You can learn a lot on your own, which will enhance what you learn from others.
-Your boat will teach you all about boats. Just remember; she will do it at her pace, not yours.
-Go sailing!
 

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You will learn. I bought a 36' sailboat after only a few weekends aboard a friend's boat and a one week sailing course. I took it slow and fully immersed myself in everything about the boat including equipping it. I sailed single and short handed for 34 years... including offshore passages! Phil is correct about the weather. Watch the forecasts and work your way up to higher wind speeds... forces are greater and things happen faster. Before you know it sailing will be second nature.
 

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Hey, sounds great! As I understand, Dufour is a good boat.
Truthfully, take a few sailing lessons if you can to get the basics down and try to go out in rough weather during those lessons if at all possible. Then try to see if the sailing coach would go out with you and your husband on your boat a few times during good and not so good weather. Don't rely on one single instructor either.
This will build confidence.
Then take it out on your own while being in contact with an instructor should you have an issue.
Short jaunts: Out, sail, anchor, sail, dock. Do this all day and then anchor out overnight.
Lol. Just total immersion after that as free time allows.
PFD's!
Practice man over board by tossing a throwable pfd in the drink and retrieving. Pretty difficult the first few times.
Then single handing man over board with a throwable.
My brother in law and i do real man overboard practice in warm weather.
Yep, one jumps in!
Have fun and beeeee safe!
 

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It's certainly possible to teach yourself, but by taking a class, you'll learn all the basic skills that will make you successful sooner. You'll learn the nomenclature of sailboats, sail trim, knot tying, basic aerodynamics, and, perhaps more importantly, you'll be able to ask questions of a knowledgeable sailor. The course doesn't have to be expensive. Good basic sailing courses are taught by YMCA's, Power Squadrons, Coast Guard Auxiliaries, community colleges and others, and the costs of those courses are nominal.
 

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Basic sailing course on the water is very valuable.... mine covered lots of skills include jargon, knots, weather, sail trim and a little navigation. Highly recommended.
 

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I watched your 15 November video on youtube. You guys seem to be doing fine! Your husband's voice makes me feel like I should have a cold beer in my hand (I've had drinking buddies from that area).

Do you have a whisker pole? If so, you can sail dead downwind by putting the main on one side and the headsail on the other side, held out by the whisker pole. Look up "wing on wing" on youtube.
 

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I've spent a lot of my winter down time watching sailing videos.

I did a week long intensive Cruise and Learn Bareboat Charter course/sailing charter combination with Cooper Boating in Vancouver Canada. It was a Canadian Sailing Association (CSA) Keel Boat Skipper's Course, the equivalent of ASA 101, 102, & 104. In just 5 days, of being on the boat (Hunter 31) full time, with an onboard instructor, I boosted my sailing skills and knowledge a zillion percent. So, I can definitely recommend taking some CSA or ASA courses. It's nice to learn through a curriculum based course, so you know that all the boxes are checked off for the basics. (DISCLAIMER NOTE: This is being said by a person who has learned most new adventure skills just doing it, and learning by the seat of my pants. My wife could not believe that I took an official course, studied a book, and let a professional instructor teach me something!)

Buuuuuut, I also found some very helpful videos. There are some great ones available that are included with an Amazon Prime account. I particularly like:

Basics of Sailing with Penny Whiting (Amazon Prime).

Sailing With Confidence. from The Better Sailing Series, (Amazon Prime).

The Penny Whiting video is demonstrated on a boat very much like yours.
 
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