Getting Started?

Here’s a quick run down (choose one or combine several, mix up the order, have fun):

1) Buy, borrow or build a dinghy sailor, teach yourself to sail in protected waters by reading and trial and error. (I did this many years ago.)

2) Take a dinghy sailing class. (I did this in Laser IIs).

3) Be crew in other people’s dinghy or keel boats.

4) Take a keel boat sailing class. (I did this in Santana 20s).

5) Join a club and sail their boats, gradually moving up in size as you’re comfortable.

6) Get bare boat certified and charter a suitable sized boat for a week or more.

7) Buy your own 27, 30, 34, whatever boat and start learning how to care for as well as sail.

8) Race as crew on another’s boat. (Could be done very early.)

9) Race as captain on your own boat, or a borrowed one.

10) Decide what you like best, and stick with it. Grow with experience.

Don’t underestimate the benefits of starting small (like a dinghy or small keel boat). Most importantly, do it until it’s not fun anymore.

Securite Securite Securite

We’re at home fixing dinner, and the scanner stops on 16: Securite Securite Securite

We’re just getting started with finer points of sailing boats, so for xmas we received a handheld marine VHF as a gift. On board, my son is in charge of monitoring announcements (and his boating name is “Sparky”). At home, we listen to the weather forecasts and often times just leave the scanner on as we do the laundry or make dinner.

It’s a fun learning experience for all four of us– tonight we heard a warning about a 30×50 metal bulkhead semi-submerged on the Columbia river. Last weekend we heard our first “pan pan pan” about an overturned 14 foot boat with a white hull on the river (not fun in cold water near flood stage).

To us it’s all new, and it’s fun to learn as a family.

Buying Large…

A simple question: how is a Hunter 42 considered an entry level sailboat?

I went to the Seattle Boat Show this week, and I was surprised to find the average length of boats on display to be over 40 feet. Seeing a 24 foot Dana was shocking (the next up was two 34 footers). It seems like around 40 feet is the “starting point.”

Then this afternoon I heard about a new sailor and his “starter” Hunter 42 (he wanted something large and safe) that has to be moored a 90 minute drive away and takes a half-day of deck scrubbing whenever he finds the time to drive and take it out. And then it’s just river sailing… For the most part, it just sits there.

For beginners and occasional sailors, it seems like the brochures are winning…