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I learned to sail at 18 years of age, now years later want to make a blue-water voyage by sail power, but I first need to re-learn the art and science of directing the boat safely to and through the anticipated and unanticipated hazards. Based on personal experience, respondents please respond with any advice you have to offer, along with a brief description of the ocean crossing you completed and approximately when.
 

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I learned to sail at 18 years of age, now years later want to make a blue-water voyage by sail power, but I first need to re-learn the art and science of directing the boat safely to and through the anticipated and unanticipated hazards. Based on personal experience, respondents please respond with any advice you have to offer, along with a brief description of the ocean crossing you completed and approximately when.
My wife and I sailed small craft in our thirties. And then didn't. When we retired four years ago, we decided to try again. We 1) bought an affordable Catalina 22; 2) took a keelboat class at Offshore Sailing (Ft. Myers; 3) sailed our Catalina 40-50 times and decided to level up; 4) Took live aboard bareboat classes at Offshore Sailing; and 5) took their advice and sailed in a flotilla in BVI.

We have chartered short-handed a few more times since then, but we will not do any passages. We feel we could, but it's a big commitment that isn't (especially now) all that appealing. But I hope you do.

Anyway, we learned a lot taking classes, and then sailing a LOT on our Catalina in the schizo winds of our local reservoir. Best of luck.
 

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I didn't have to re learn.... When I decided I wanted to sail I bought a new 36' boat after reading a score of books and taking the Colgate course.... and then it was a matter of full immersion...ever moment of my spare time... I sailed, I read, I took courses in navigation and meteorology at the Planetarium in NYC... I upgraded the systems... added an AP, heating, refrigeration, nav instruments, radios, windless (2)... and I sailed in everything... rain... even snow! After 5 years at it I felt comfortable with the boat.... My last "test" was doing the ocean... and I did that in the Marion Bermuda Race. That Fall I gave my possessions to charity or friends, stored some art/memorabilia and sailed south to Antigua.
 

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What you learn young always comes back easily. You’ll be rusty at first, but it will suddenly click again. Fully endorse taking a few courses.
 

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Actual sailing, once learned you won't forget... like how to ride a bike. What you DO need to "learn" is the boat you sail and perhaps skills you didn't nail down like anchoring. Learning the systems an how to maintain them comes with every boat.... And as time marches on electronics / navigation evolves.
 

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Got back into sailing after a 20 plus intervention by life. Bought a boat and went out and did it. The same way I learned to sail. Read voraciously but there is no solution for actually doing it. Take things slow and easy, go out in favorable weather, practice hoisting/unfurling sails, tacking, jibing etc in safe conditions, find a clear area and practice boat handling with the engine, learn how it backs, turns going in both directions, and it will become familiar. Surprising how much I'd forgotten but how fast it came back.
 

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Sailing is easy, its the stopping that is hard. I read a book, then challenged ASA 101 and 103. Then took a one hour lesson on docking and another advanced class that included anchoring, the latter class was just to meet 'take out the bigger boat requirements.'

I don't think there is zero to Bluewater course in one weekend course. Join a club and take a class if needed, then buy a boat and continue to learn while prepping for Bluewater.
 

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I learned when I was 11 & 12... Well, to be honest, I failed the same course twice because my parents were not going to get a boat, and I wasn't motivated.

I took lessons from an ASA affiliate school when I was 45, and have been sailing ever since. I started teaching sailing when I was eight years later.

Because of the Covid Pandemic, I have not been teaching this year. I have been tempted to post a narrated video of my ASA 101 Class notes to YouTube... Is there any interest in this?
 

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I would highly recommend a great little book called Royce's Sailing Illustrated, a fun yet very comprehensive book filled with important information for the novice sailor or experienced professional. No massive preachy tome this, just a well put together book with everything from rigging, docking and even splicing. I've been using it to teach sailing for over 45 years, and still refer to it now and then, myself.
 
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I taught myself in the Hawaiian islands aboard my Lancer 36 as a young 22 year old. I learned very quickly there that despite proximity to the shore, I was contending with open ocean conditions. Sailing inter-island was a great experience that prepared me for many years of sailing that followed. Rule 1: Don't bump into anything. Following that rule makes the rest a lot easier. Sail often, and vary the conditions in which your willing to leave the dock. Casting the docklines only in sunny skies and light breezes isn't going to teach you much in the way of new skills. In short, I'm a +1 vote for the "buy a boat and go do it". Determine you own personal risk tolerance, be more conservative than you think you should be at first and you find your footing eventually.

Read all the books you feel that dispense good information; there are a couple good ones provided here. But at the end of the day, you still need to buy a boat and do it. No matter what you read, or how many forums you surf, you're chances of success crossing an ocean only go up the more often you get out on your boat and figure things out yourself.

No harm in getting instruction either.

What I would recommend against is replacing actual hands on learning with youtube and the like.
 

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I taught myself in the Hawaiian islands aboard my Lancer 36 as a young 22 year old. I learned very quickly there that despite proximity to the shore, I was contending with open ocean conditions. Sailing inter-island was a great experience that prepared me for many years of sailing that followed.
There is a saying; "If you can sail the Bay (SF) you can sail anywhere." and I can say that's doubly true for interisland in the Hawaiian Islands. Truly the most consistently nasty place I've ever sailed.
 

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I feel like I have to re-learn how to sail, and indeed re-learn everything about the boat, each time I come back to her in the Spring. It always feels rusty, and I tend to scratch my head a lot when rigging her ("now, where does this go? How do we attach this sheet, or this spar...???").

Actually, sailing itself is the easiest part of it. Kinda like riding a bike, it just comes naturally. It's all the rest that is harder.
 
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