SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 81 Posts

bell ringer
5,565 Posts
I learned on a C&C-36 (took ASA lessons to bareboat level). Then sailed weekends for 3 months on a Cal-33, then had a Cal-39 for 2 years, and now have a Hunter 410.

All of them sailed different and you learn to sail a boat the way it wants to sail. It doesn't matter the boat but the first important thing to learn after basic sailing stuff is that there is almost always time to think for a few seconds when things are not going right before "jumping" into action and letting panic take over.

15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My first boat was a Kirby 25, I bought it when I was 21. I'm now 26 and on my 2nd boat, a Mirage 25, it's no where near as fast but a lot more comfortable for my new family and still fits on a trailer! I learned so much from the Kirby as it was a very tender boat an sailed like a big Laser, every adjustment you made was felt. Love that boat!

1,557 Posts
Learned on a Mirror sailing dinghy that my dad and I built in the early 70s. He and 4 other buddies imported the first 5 kits into the US.

Go hooked on cruising while sailing offshore with my dad, his cousin and a couple of buddies on a C&C Corvette from Boston to mid-coast Maine. That was 1978.

Learned the most about sailing on my windsurfers in the 80s.

Currently sail the following: Caliber 40LRC, Cape Dory 10, Klepper 272 semi-displacement, Alpha 180 full displacement.

Other boats owned: Custom landsailing board, O'day Sprite, Laser, Rhodes 18, Hobie 16, San Juan 21, Pearson 28-1, Ericson 35-3

5,924 Posts
I learned the basics on a J/something at a sailing school weekend course. Then I purchased a Venture 2-22. I'm not sure that I learned to sail on the Venture so much as learned about boat maintenance and getting accustomed to how a boat feels in the water. I didn't sail very far in it (not for lack of trying), but I got used to moving around on it, my fear that anything I'd do would immediately sink it, how the keel, rudder and sails worked together (I didn't drop the keel the entire first year), etc.

I learned to actually sail (and get from point A to point B) on our Catalina.

And I'm still learning on my boat and others. The difference is I can now actually get somewhere while I do it.

Senior Member
19,485 Posts
Exposed to sailing by a friend with a Davidson 18 (mini Cal 20) on an interior lake. We started learning (still are ;)) on our first boat, a Hinterhoeller Shark 24. Quickly moved to another Lakes boat, a Viking 28 which we kept for 10 years (all of this on the west coast). Entered a partnership with our 'crew' and brought in a second boat, a local Martin 242 (planing day racer - great fun) and shortly thereafter sold the Viking and moved up to a Choate 40 . Another 12 years there, great, powerful, unique boat. We kept the M242 during this time, having the perfect world of a cruiser and a racer for each purpose; our sons sailed happily with us throughout their teens, and our son sails/owns today.

A career change and relocation force a partnership dissolve, we sold the Choate, and have each gone to 34/35 footers as individual couples. We now own a Brazilian built Fast 345, a fractional rigged sloop by Ron Holland, originally produced in Britain as a Nicholson 345.

As you can see, we've never really been part of the 'Benehuntalina' crowd... ;)

1,341 Posts
When I was a lot younger (14) we learned on Lasers and Sunfish which we sailed with my brothers in Jamaica Bay, NY... when I graduated college in Florida my first real engineering job was at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines in Jupiter, Florida, I moved to a waterfront duplex complex that had 4 Hobie Cats as part of the amenities so it was a short walk from my duplex to the beach and got the cats out on the water... this was off Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach so it was very nice to have free use of the cats and learned quite a bit to race these with friends... I later bought a Flying Dutchman sailing dinghy and kept it until my marriage sailing the lakes of West Palm Beach and waters of Lake Worth, we sold it when we moved to Seattle but never sailed on my own sailboat again until the one I have now but I have gone out with others on their boats and crewed on others. Never took an ASA class ever...

1,833 Posts
When I was 14, I took sailing lessons with the Boy Scouts. I don't even remember what brand of boat it was. It was a small sloop day sailer (about the size of a Flying Scot) and from the second I made that boat move using just the wind, I was hooked.

After that, I would take out a Sunfish that belonged to our Boy Scout Troop that you could check out, whenever I got the chance and would beg borrow or steal a ride on any sailboat until I finally got my own.

I'm 56 now and I still get the same thrill I did at 14 when I am sailing. :)

My sailing chronology of sailboats I have owned.
Hobie 16
Cape Dory 25D
Cal 25
Hobie 16 (a different one)
Islander Mk II 32
Catalina 42

778 Posts
Had a Sunfish for a bit, then got a ride on a Hobie 16 at which point I realized that I'd never again own a monohull, so I bought a 16 of my own, and most of my beginning sailing was done aboard the H16

--oh, and ever since: NACRA 18 Square, Wharram TIKI 21', F-27GS (modified F-27), now a CATANA 40S

249 Posts
My first sailing was done on an ice boat. Learned some basic things about wind and sails on that. Then my wife won a Super Snark, and we learned how to sail on water. My real sailing education came with my Bristol 24, on which I learned about diesels, navigation, and heavy weather sailing.

no longer reading SailNet
2,309 Posts
So tell me, what boat did you learn to sail on or what was your first boat? What boat did you sail/own that taught you the most about sailing.

And what do you sail now?
I first learned how to sail as a pre-teen on a Sunfish. I remember the experience, but not how to sail, from back then.

I learned again how to sail as an adult on a Blanchard Junior. That is a 20' LOA, 5' beam keel ballasted day sailor that the Center for Wooden Boats teaches on. It's a simple and very nice sailing boat. A few years later I'm now an instructor there and teach others how to sail on this same boat.

I'd say that I'm always still learning how to sail better. After my classes I bought a Catalina 25, then upgraded later to a more comfortable Pearson 28-2. I also own a 5O5 racing dinghy and I'm learning even more by sailing that.

The Catalina 25 taught me the most simply because I had the least experience when I owned it.

Not Finished Yet
829 Posts
I grew up sailing on a custom wooden boat. In the late 70's we replaced it with a O'Day Javelin. I sailed this boat from elementary school until college. It is the first boat I soloed. I also sailed sunfish as a kid and learned a ton from them.

I would say the boat I learned the most on as an adult was a Catalina 27. Mostly because I was sailing it on a reservoir with high bluffs and swirly winds. To get around those corners you really learn a lot about sailing to windward in very difficult conditions.

I currently own a Pacific Seacraft 34.

1,462 Posts
First ever sailing lesson on a 24' keel boat. Then with a friend on a 15' centerboard sailing dinghy exclusively on lakes. Then bought myself a 14' Hobie Cat. From there moved up to a San Juan 23, with ballasted stub keel and centerboard. Had that for quite a while.

What taught me the most about sailing? Depends on what you mean. I mean, the first lessons were the most immediate and intense learning. The sailing dinghy taught me a lot about sail trim, but my buddy was very careful and we never tipped it over.

With my Hobie Cat I tipped it a lot, and learned a lot about heeling a boat and what it feels like when it is getting close to the edge, right on the edge, and then going past the edge into tipping over. Taking the Hobie in and out through the surf also taught me about watching the sail more than the water, and getting through places where the current is not going the direction you want to go.

With the San Juan I learned about planning a trip, anchoring for the night, and living on the boat for a while. These days my wife and I do charter trips here and there, own a sailing dinghy that we take out when time allows, and are looking around for our next big boat, which will be the one we take for extended cruises after I retire.

5,111 Posts
If there's one thing I probably have in common with Gary Jobson, it's that I first began sailing as as a kid aboard a Barnegat Bay Sneak Box, as most every kid growing up sailing around here did back in the day. An 8-foot pram, similar to an Opti, would have been the first boat I ever sailed by myself, but all of my sailing and racing for the next 20 years would be done as crew on OPBs...

After a few years, I moved up to sailing on a Jet 14... Very nimble and tricky little boat, I definitely learned more about sailing on that boat, than any other... By high school, I was crewing on Lightnings, another wonderful boat, and the first I'd ever sailed that used a spinnaker, or had a crew more than 2. Then throughout college, I raced on E-Scows, which featured some of the most exciting and demanding sailing I'd ever done, and was my first taste of some 'Big Time' competition, traveling to regional/national regattas, and racing against some of the best sailors around...

A few years after college, I started doing some offshore racing... Looking back, by today's standards of so many jumping into big boats immediately and taking off cruising, my sailing apprenticeship was a remarkably slow progression. For almost 2 decades after I first started out, I don't believe I ever sailed aboard anything bigger than 28', or upon the ocean or out of sight of land...

At about 30, I bought the first sailboat of my own - a 16' Contender, which at the time was the first single-handed boat ever with a trapeze (Designed by an Aussie named Bob Miller, who went on to far greater fame after he changed his name to Ben Lexcen) I've had as much fun with that boat as any I'd ever sailed, but I could have retired long ago if I had a buck for every time I capsized the damn thing, and the head of the mainsail was perpetually stained by that Barnegat Bay mud... :)

About 20 years ago, I finally acquired a boat that I could sleep on, and actually go places with - a 30' Allied Chance 30-30... The odds are this is the boat I'm probably stuck with for the duration... :)


2,171 Posts
A wood centerboard Sabot that had been glassed to "stop leaks", just made it incredibly heavy and still leaked. Replaced by a lee board Sabot that had a glass hull but everything else was wood, no leaks. Then I was considered adequate to serve as "rail meat" on a Thistle, all wood. Then my first boat with room for passengers, a 14' Lido, mostly glass with some ornamental wood bits. At the time we were small enough to consider it a "roomy" 4 person boat. Mostly Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor, large protected saltwater areas with plenty of traffic.
We have a Catalina 320 now, I prefer to not deal with wood exposed to the weather on boats now.

Daniel - Norsea 27
1,258 Posts
3yrs ago, took ASA101 in Kemah, TX and they used a Colgate 26 for the course.
2yrs ago, at a boat show in TX again, did an hour "intro" with the same school on a Colgate again and still thought it was fun so I wanted to get my own boat.
A few weeks later in April 2012, I bought my current boat, a Nor'sea 27. Still have a LOT to learn but has been very worth while and enjoyable.

Future... No plans to up-size.

14 Posts
Started learning on a 14 ft Dolphin Sr a lateen rigged board boat similar to a Sunfish. Then I continued learning on each boat I owned or chartered, including the Tayana 42 I have had for 14 years and still learning.

Sent from my LG-P769 using Tapatalk

678 Posts
When I was 14 I got shipped off to the Midwest for a summer at a family members lake house. I found an old Laser and all the parts to put it together burred deep in the boat house. I shoved it out and started sailing. it was the most natural feeling I have ever known.

Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
3,217 Posts
I first started sailing on my parents Grampian 23.. from there I bought a Minifish with a sunfish rig (was a really fast dingy) then two years ago I bought a GP 14 and now I have a Sea Sprite 23
1 - 20 of 81 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.