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Best Boat To Learn To Sail On?

May 17, 2004
2,013
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Ordered the book and charts today. Assuming it will take a few days to get here, what advice can you offer for this weekend?
The first thing you should do is add telltales to your main & jib.

OK, here's a couple of things you can work on assuming you'll have above 4 knots of wind to work with. Raise the main only and set up for closehauled. Since you asked about the traveler, move it along the track and see how it changes the ANGLE OF ATTACK. Ease the sail out and pull it in and see how the boat speed and heel changes.

I don't know if you have a boom vang. The boom vang adjusts TWIST. What's Twist you might be asking? It's better to see it so form your right hand as if you were going to salute. Now turn your finger only to the left. What you're seeing is the top 1/3 of the sail opening up and spilling air thus de powering the sail. Turn your fingers to the right and see the top of the sail closing or powering up. Maybe you don't have a boom vang. OK, just grab the boom and pull down on it while looking up at the top of the sail and observe what's happening.

Next, I assume you have a outhaul to adjust the foot of the main. The outhaul adjust draft depth (belly). Take the salute hand and place it in front of you. Now cup your hand in and out -- see the belly developing. Now on the boat, adjust the outhaul along the track and watch the belly develop. A flat sail is less powerful. A sail with about 25% belly is a more powerful sail.

That's enough for one day. I assume you'll have your wife or girlfriend with you. Go back to the dock and both of you should mellow about what you've just learned. Chill out with a "tinny" (Aussie for beer) -- life is good!!
 
Dec 1, 1999
2,391
Hunter 28.5 Chesapeake Bay
I learned to sail on the worst possible first boat: a 15ft racing Snipe. The Guy who sold it to me knew I was a novice and warned me of how difficult the boat could be to handle in stiff conditions. He gave me some great advice, to include telling me if I could learn to control this boat in a “real breeze,” I could sail just about anything. He was mostly right.
 
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Feb 26, 2019
68
Seaward 17 Ohio
The first thing you should do is add telltales to your main & jib.

OK, here's a couple of things you can work on assuming you'll have above 4 knots of wind to work with. Raise the main only and set up for closehauled. Since you asked about the traveler, move it along the track and see how it changes the ANGLE OF ATTACK. Ease the sail out and pull it in and see how the boat speed and heel changes.

I don't know if you have a boom vang. The boom vang adjusts TWIST. What's Twist you might be asking? It's better to see it so form your right hand as if you were going to salute. Now turn your finger only to the left. What you're seeing is the top 1/3 of the sail opening up and spilling air thus de powering the sail. Turn your fingers to the right and see the top of the sail closing or powering up. Maybe you don't have a boom vang. OK, just grab the boom and pull down on it while looking up at the top of the sail and observe what's happening.

Next, I assume you have a outhaul to adjust the foot of the main. The outhaul adjust draft depth (belly). Take the salute hand and place it in front of you. Now cup your hand in and out -- see the belly developing. Now on the boat, adjust the outhaul along the track and watch the belly develop. A flat sail is less powerful. A sail with about 25% belly is a more powerful sail.

That's enough for one day. I assume you'll have your wife or girlfriend with you. Go back to the dock and both of you should mellow about what you've just learned. Chill out with a "tinny" (Aussie for beer) -- life is good!!
Thank you for your advice. I might just learn how to sail after all!
 
Apr 16, 2017
841
Federation NCC-1701 Riverside
Doesnt it depend on what it is that needs to be learned?

Its all about specialization. Pick the boat that lets you specialize your interest.

Interest is then limited by external factors.

You could learn to sail a spanish galleon, but you wont learn modern competitive racing, or docking in marinas under sail, but youll probably learn some pretty salty knot skilz and make gains on celestial navigation. Its getting harder and harder to find other convicts willing to sail to unknown parts of the globe on little rations. To say nothing of finding a working Galleon

It would be good to grow at some point and take on some other challenges, such as racing or long-distance crusing, but if there isnt a need or an immediate interest, whats the point.

I think most people gravitate to the boat thats meant for them.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,909
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
About 1980, Prindle 16. Chutes on beach cats were pretty unusual then. I sewed this one on a Singer (I was just a kid--20-somthing) and it was pretty damn fast. That boat taught me a LOT about sailing multihulls, and what they feel like just before things go pear shaped. I landed in front of the boat a few times.

The worst boat for learning was a cruising cat. No feel. A beginner would feel fine, right up until he was in trouble.

If I had a place to keep it, I buy one now. Fun sailing.

 
Last edited:
Oct 24, 2010
2,380
Hunter 30 Everett, WA
It looks like few posters here learned to sail as an adult. My first ride on a sailboat was after I purchased it with no instruction.
I had operated small powerboats all my life. I bought a MacGregor 26D as my first sailboat. This is a classic sailboat (9.5 hp outboard) not the newer big motor boats. A friend was planning to teach me to sail, but his family got sick and so we went out ourselves figuring I could always put the sails down and motor back to the boat launch. We also had a perfect day with winds slowly developing from dead calm to lots of white caps by evening.

I also learned by reading something on trailersailor.com and then went out and tried it. That summer we even cruised the San Juan Islands. That was 23years ago. Yes, I eventually bought Don's book and his chart. It certainly helped.

Ken
 
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