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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Farmington, New Mexico
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    Ever since I spent a week on a sailboat in Florida I've been looking at boats and wondering "What if..."

    Anyway, how hard is it to learn to sail? How long does it take to learn to handle a small (14' or so) sailboat? I realize that some spend a lifetime learning, but can you learn enough in a summer on an inland lake to be proficient enough to do a little coastal cruising in the ocean? I'm a desert rat and have always been terrified of the sea, but for some reason I'm now intrigued. Maybe a symptom of midlife crisis, but what the heck. Where does one start? I think the closest sailing school would be about 1,000 miles from here.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,120

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    >Ever since I spent a week on a sailboat in Florida I've been looking at boats and wondering "What if..."

    Should I remind you? There isn't any water in New Mexico. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tulsa,OK
    Posts
    16

    Post

    Coyote,
    It really doesn't take long to learn. I wouldn't go to a sailing school unless you just have alot of money that you don't know what to do with. If that is the case, for a very large fee, I could teach you. Seriously, go to the library and find a book on sailing basics, then it's just practice. The basics are really straight forward and you can learn the rest as you go. Bon Voyage
    Gregg A.Ogden<br /><br />\"people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both\" <br /> Benjamin Franklin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,574

    Post

    Hey! We have water. It's just all in one or two places.

    The closest real lake to me is Navajo Resevoir, about 35,000 acres. I can make Lake Powell to the west of me in a few hours.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

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    coyote

    hehe, you'll be doomed when you read this [img]smile.gif[/img]
    here's my wife's journal from our sailing trip to the bahamas in the early 90's

    http://www.drobbins.net/wench/index.html

    I learned on lakes and a little on the coast
    it's not to hard
    there's a LOT of people in the bahamas with very little experience

    Dave

    [size="1"][ February 17, 2006, 06:51 PM: Message edited by: drobbins ][/size]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tulsa,OK
    Posts
    16

    Post

    &gt;there's a LOT of people in the bahamas with very little experience

    I can testify to the truth of that statement. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Gregg A.Ogden<br /><br />\"people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both\" <br /> Benjamin Franklin

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
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    6,574

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    &lt;Seriously, go to the library and find a book&gt;

    That's what I'm working on now. But it ain't as easy as it sounds....

    "First loosen boom vang then release mainsail halyard and lower sail to point where luff cringle can be lashed to boom. Tighten halyard and cleat it. Lash leech cringle to boom (pulling it outwards at an angle of 45d t tension it). Gather up sail and tie it up using reef knots. Retension the boom vang."

    I didn't make that up. Page 92 of "The Handbook of Sailing" by Bob Bond.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,574

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    &lt;here's my wife's journal from our sailing trip to the bahamas in the early 90's&gt;

    Well, I just got through a couple of chapters and many of the photos. Do you realize what a lucky man you are? Great site. Lovely woman. Is the parrot still with you?
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

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    The names of all the lines can get confusing,
    so the way I'd suggest to learn to sail is
    with a Sunfish on a lake. Most decent-sized
    lakes have someone who both rents them and
    gives lessons with these, the simplest of
    sailing craft.

    From there, once you have basic principles
    learned, the books start to make a lot more
    sense. You can then move up in size and
    complexity as your time and budget allow.

    I worked my way up to a 42-foot circa 1920s
    wooden-hulled ocean-going sloop that I rigged
    with electic winches for solo sailing, then lived
    on and sailed from the Las Olas municipal docks
    in Ft. Lauderale FL.

    Bought her at a DEA auction, so I just had
    to paint her bright green down to the waterline,
    name her "Grasshopper", and register her with a
    home port of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire (a
    land-locked lake). The Coast Guard just loooved
    me. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    But anyone can learn to sail, it is going out
    of sight of land that makes it start to get
    technical, and starts to require one to be
    a nearly paranoid planner. Don't sweat the
    names of the lines and bocks and other crap,
    just buy a GPS and a backup GPS, and learn
    to use a freakin' sextant before you try
    anything more than coastal sailing.

    Bikini-Wearing Reader Of Novels: "How many
    years have you served before the mast?"
    Me: "Don't be silly - the mast has ALWAYS
    been there. This is a sailboat."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,624

    Post

    &gt;the way I'd suggest to learn to sail is
    with a Sunfish on a lake.

    My advice exactly. They do well in a light wind, you don't worry about getting wet because you're already wet, and tipping them over if par for the course, you just flip it over, climb back on, and keep sailing.

    For the past 4 years we've had an 18' Hobie Cat on our lake, that is a scarey boat. I've had it up to 22 knots, in a decent wind it's faster than most motor boats on the lake. I can single hand it, but it's really a 2 person boat and when (not if) it tips over, it takes a small crew to right it. Personally, it's too much boat for me- I'm now looking for a smaller, easier to manage boat.

    There's nothing like sailing.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    S.E. Oklahoma
    Posts
    337

    Post

    Don't let the terms confuse you. I took a "easy credit" course in college titled "Outdoor Boat and Camp Safety". We were taught the basics in a two hour classroom session and then took to the water in a small 12 footer. Mainsail and single small jib. The practical was a fairly straightforward three step process......
    Step 1. If turning the rudder to the left doesn't make you go,
    Step 2. Turn it to the right...
    Step 3. Continue with whatever above step works until your speed peaks and begins to decrease or you are about to crash into something..At that point, back off the rudder to return to ramming....um, I mean max speed.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
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    3,401

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    &gt; I can single hand it, but it's really a 2 person
    &gt; boat and when (not if) it tips over, it takes a
    &gt; small crew to right it.

    Actually, a larger boat, with a keel is
    much easier to "put the rail in the water" than
    a Hobie Cat. A couple of tons of keel is a big
    confidence-builder. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    That said, cats are great for sailing near
    reefs and such. Much more forgiving with that
    shallow draft. [img]smile.gif[/img]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
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    I had my eye on something like this, but it looks like it might be a problem to cartop or trailer.


    http://www.yachtworld.com/core/uk/li...1&photo=1&url=
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    &gt;Actually, a larger boat, with a keel is
    much easier to "put the rail in the water"

    Ayuh. A Hobie is pretty much an accident waiting to happen, they aren't really sailing until you've got one hull 3' in the air and the other one ready to dive and then you're not so much sailing as you are flying. Sailing them on the edge is also counter-intuitive.. when you're heeled over and start to feel it going over, you've got to turn IN to the wind and NOT let out the main. Dumping the main and turning downwind just doesn't help [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Boats with keels are fine in the ocean, but for lakes you generally want a centerboard that you can pull up and adjust for the conditions. I'm looking for something along the lines of a 14' dingy, or a 14' cat. My lifestyle now doesn't really permit owning a larger sailboat. There's no shortage of folks down on the coast with boats that have already had lots of other people's money poured into them and just need sailing.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    Post

    &gt;it looks like it might be a problem to cartop or trailer.

    No problem Coyote, you can easily fit a car AND trailer on top of that.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Post

    you'd be surprised what can be trailered

    http://www.drobbins.net/pics/

    Dave

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
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    &lt;Sailing them on the edge is also counter-intuitive&gt;

    The more I read the more counter-intuitive much of it seems. I would think that sailing directly WITH the wind on a run would be the easiest and fastest, but the book says otherwise. Apparently this requires more skill than the other "points of sail". (I learned a new phrase which I will bandy about ad nauseum to anyone within earshot for the next week).
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    Post

    on a reach, going faster makes the apparent wind speed go up
    on a run, going faster makes the apparent wind speed go down

    Dave

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,624

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    Catamarans are a whole different breed of sailboat. They're not limited by normal hull dynamics (about which I really don't know much) because the faster you go, the less hull you have in the water, sort of like hydrofoils. That said, they're still sailboats and the basic principles apply.

    You'd think that running before the wind (sailing with the wind behind you) would be the fastest, but it isn't. Sailing at right angles to the wind with your sails hauled in tight is the fastest. I guess that's a reach. As much sailing as I've done, I'm really not all that conversant with the nautical terms arrrh...

    I'm seriously wanting an ice boat, speaking of sailing. Today would be PERFECT...
    Dulcius ex asperis

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    simply for example, these numbers aren't achievable
    if the wind blows 20 knots and you sail at 90 degree's to it at 20 knots (a reach) the apparent windspeed is 28 knots
    if the wind blows 20 knots and you sail downwind (a run) at 20 knots, the apparent windspeed is zero

    Dave

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