Newbie to sailing. Need advise on how to start.

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Muttsist, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Muttsist
    Joined: Apr 2013
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    Muttsist Junior Member

    Ok, so I've been looking online for ways to start sailing. More specifically, choosing my first sailboat based on how I plan to use it. This part of the search landed me in the racer/cruiser, cruiser section.:cool:
    Then the issue came to be how I would acquire one. I tried, for weeks, to look for ways to build my own. I prefer to build things on my own rather than buy them. Just the kind of guy I am. The ever persistent issue of cost/time discouraged me quite a bit. I didn't know that the home builders took about 10yrs+ for the type of boat I want. Still that search led me to where I fell in love with the voyager ds 440 and with the reliant 49.
    Fortunately, I have come to my senses and realized that no college bound 19 year old could afford the cost,time,space,tools, etc. So now I'm narrowing my search for a used sailboat that I can at least tweak. With a loan and financing I can afford that much. But heres my dilemma. My requirements for my sailboat:
    1. length: somewhere between 30' to 45' (not a problem)(racer/cruiser also not an issue) Also I don't like the boats with more than one steering wheel.
    2. rig: This is the worst of my problems! I don't like any of the popular rigs expect for a cutter/ketch mix. I want the Xebec (Chebec) style rig. It has three lateen style sails. That about as detailed of a description I can make. If I were more knowledgeable about rigging and how to construct them then this wouldn't even be an issue, for I would do it myself. Seeing how I don't have that expertise I was wondering if any of you know of anyone or a company that can make this set-up? As I've mentioned before this is my biggest problem. I've tried getting information about the Xebec but all I get are historical websites that talk more about the pirates who used it or a very vague description. (like the one I gave lol). Is this even possible nowadays?
    3. shape: This area is pretty simple. I like the low profile, long and sleek boats. I have searched for boats keeping in mind the shape and length that I want. I used and somehow Combining those two I have found 4 possibilities.

      Something from the Salona line like the Salona 45
      Something from the Hylas line like the Hylas 46 although this line seems more like a luxury boat like beneteau. I don't want luxury its just an invitation for too many friends. I prefer to go solo or one to two friends max. ( thats regarding to life in general)
      The Columbia 34 is by far my favorite right now. I like old school, vintage stuff. (they also tend to last longer:D)
      Also the fourth one being a Hans Christian mk ll.

      I really like the Columbia's. I believe they capture my style completely. Just imagine a Columbia with the Xebec rig :cool::eek::D:p
    Once I have the boat with the set up I prefer its time to talk about destinations. I want to start off small and grow my sea legs naturally. I'm a competitive swimmer so I imagine I'm already half way there. Back to the topic. I stay in Atlanta, GA. Although I'll be going to Darton College which is in southern Georgia. That brings me pretty close or at least closer to the coast of Florida down there. I want to start off small and travel to the Bahamas, New Orleans, Texas, New York..... you get the idea. Then later on I want to cross the oceans and go to places like Paris, Hawaii, Japan, or go to New Zealand and cheer my head off for the All Blacks. Solo Circumnavigation is my ultimate goal with my boat though. I guess what I'm asking is what would be the best boat out of my four or maybe another you would suggest given my parameters? Would wood suffice or do I need a steel one? Is aluminum really so expensive and is it even worth the time and money for long voyages?

    Well of course I have many more questions to ask seeing how I'm new but I believe this covers my main worries for now. Thank you for reading.
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The best advice is to go sailing first. You may hate it or get so seasick you won't be able to survive. After you get some experience, most of these questions will be answered. The reason you don't find those weird rigs you describe, is that they are not practical. Practical experience will show you that.
  3. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    The second best advice is to start with something in the 14-18' range.
    Unless you are already a trust fund baby no college age person has the money to take on any of the boats and modifications you suggest.
    Most would be lucky to buy a 18' daysailor - no cabin, sloop rig for sailing off the trailer.

    Good luck.
  4. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Choose a brokerage boat from a first class designer and a first class builder for your first boat.
    When you sail THE BEST you learn fast and are then able to refine your opinion of THE BEST.

    A custom designed and custom built boat is only suitable for a client who has great experience and needs a custom boat to achieve his goals.

    Speak to these people and see if you like anything.

    this swan 48 designed by S and S is one of the finest boats ever built.

    Find one for a good price that needs a bit of TLC ,upgrading and you will be a happy sailor.

  5. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    buy or build yourself a 14 ft dingy and go sailing, you will learn everything you need to know about sailing in a dingy since it works the same way on a larger sailboat, only faster (better for learning). You can also experiment with the various types of sailing rigs for much less cost to see if it is really what you want.

    go hang out at the local yacht clubs on the weekend when they are having races (email the commador first). There are always people looking for someone to crew their yachts. You will learn a lot about sailing by first crewing on someone else boat. the best way to go sailing is on other people's boats! You will learn more about what works and what does not, and what you like and do not like, this way without spending so much money.

    there are likely some dingy sailing organizations near you, you may have to have the same type of boat to race, but it is also a good way to learn boat handling. Buying a ready to sail used boat will get you on the water faster. You will also want to take some classes on navigation and eventually international sailing (regulations, requirements, etc) before you take a sailboat long distances.

    If you intend to sail solo I would consider sailboats only in the 28-33 ft range, easier to handle and maintain, and much less costly to buy and operate. People have sailed all over the world in sailboats as small as 24 ft, no reason to get more boat than you need.
  6. Muttsist
    Joined: Apr 2013
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    Muttsist Junior Member

    Somewhat depressing to hear but makes sense. I guess I can wait for my dream boat. Oh and I don't get sea sick. I have been on plenty of powerboats, canoes, and kayaks. I've just never piloted any of them. Also I've narrowed my search even further with your advise and i was wandering if this is what you had in mind:
    I drive a truck thats more than capable of trailering this. Also this boat and others in the search are within my limited price range. Thank you for the advise.
  7. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    messabout Senior Member

    Contact the Lake Lanier sailing club. Not far from Atlanta....(in the Gainesville area). Go sailing with them. Learn the intricacies of sailing and then, and only then, decide what you believe to be the kind of boat and the kind of rig that you need. Your present choices appear to be based on eye candy, not experience. Forgive me for being blunt about this. I'm only telling it like it is.

    You have already gotten responses from four very knowledgeable individuals, (not including me). Do, by all means, continue to dream but get some experience before you get committed to what you think you want.

    P.S.Kayaks, canoes, jet skis, ski boats, do not have the same affect as a sea boat. Those are knee deep boats. You may very well discover that mal de mer is one of your demons that you have not yet discovered.
  8. Muttsist
    Joined: Apr 2013
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    Muttsist Junior Member

    Dont worry im listening

    I actually have been taking the advise from you guys honest. I actually have been looking for clubs that will teach to sail. "Eyecandy" is right on the money. I've been using this site to find some locally: :D

    I just want to know if these places will give me my basic keelboat certificate that way i can move on to the basic cruising then bareboat cruising, all the navigation classes including celestial and then finally the offshore passage?
    I previously/foolishly thought that I only needed to take few classes then an exam for a license like for cars. Now that I know, you can rest assured that I wont even glance at the shop section until I'm certified. Who knows maybe then a better deal will come along. Again thank you for the helpful advise and know that I am listening to every word.

    -funny story- I had this same kind of craze with paintball.:cool:

    I lost count of the bruises......:confused:

    I just looked and it seems that lake lanier has already started and they only do junior classes. I'm 19, don't junior classes stop at 16? Anyway savannah sailing center looks promising and the augusta sailing club. They both offer beginners adult classes. Just have to e-mail to get pricing.
  9. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    It's not a matter of size------ in that bigger boats are initially more desirable because they are more impressive. But older sailors often revert back to simple open boats that can be launched at a moment's notice. Few of us are cruising to far off destinations. More are just trying to get away for a few hours or a day or two.
    I'd avoid larger boats entirely until you have the means to own a bigger boats easily. My best times have been on my smallest boats (on the biggest water they could be sailed on).
    Look for a boat that is known to be seaworthy and yet fast like a full keel Rhodes 19 or something similar. Maybe you need to trailer your boat each time. Then consider something with a centerboard and a pivoting rudder. There are thousands of boats out there in this category and some are known to be great designs. In many conditions they (centerboarders) are faster than a lot of larger boats because they can plane; that is they can, under the right conditions jump up on top of the water and accelerate up to speeds well beyond what the larger heavier boats can do,
  10. JRD
    Joined: May 2010
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    JRD Senior Member

    The best keelboat training you will ever get.... is in a sailing dinghy. You will learn all the basics of sailing that really matter, things happen faster in a small boat and they make you focus on balance and response time. Small boat sailing and racing is just as rewarding as on big boats provided you dont mind getting wet, and for a fit and able 19 year old there are a lot of options for very exciting small boats.
    Look at Moths, 29ers, I14s, International Canoes etc. All fast and exciting enough to totally challenge someone your age once you have some exprerience, and often skippers are looking for a crew that is ready to learn. If you dont mind sailing single handed, a laser can be purhcased and maintained for a fraction of the price of any keelboat and it will teach you more about hands on sailing than you will ever get in a big boat.

    I know plenty of guys who are great sailors with no wish to graduate to luxury keelboats, a couple I know are well into their 60s and will set spinakers and use the trapeze in whatever conditions prevail on a weekly basis.

    PS If you are in it for the girls..... best to concentrate on the quality of your car, as small boats dont cut it wit the ladies as a rule!
  11. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    dingy sailing is a great place to start. If you build your own it will also teach you some building skills that will be useful for any boat you build or buy in the future. learning to sail a dingy well will teach you a lot more about sailing than if you get in a keel boat and take off for the far horizon.

    I have never owned a keelboat, but I have been on a lot of them and have crewed for others many times. I have been around sailboats since I was about 12 when I built my first one (not a very good boat, but it was a starting place). I have built and raced a number of small sailboats, nothing serious but just for fun. I am no expert by any means, just a hobby builder/sailor. A few years ago I went sailing with a friend of mine who owned a decent 28 ft keel boat with remarkably roomy accommodations. As we were sailing around Puget Sound it was clear he did not know how to adjust the sails, he never learned to sail on dingys but has always owned keel boats. I tinkered with all of the adjustments, showing him how they changed the shape of the sail, and when and why you want to tweak it. After I was done the boat handled better and had less heel. No one had ever showed him what to do and the size and weight of the boat made it difficult to know how the various adjustments affected the control and performance of sails. There is no magic to it, and you quickly learn what needs to be done when you start out in a dingy. Get out in a small sailboat and get some time on it, read and learn from others, get some good experience.

    A smaller dingy in the 8 to 10 ft size will actually be useful as a tender if and when you eventually get your deep water crustier. So you are not wasting time or effort to buy and refurbish, or building a dingy first.

    you want to take it one step at a time, you may find your plans will change along the way, and this will avoid you making some costly mistakes.

    And when it comes to women and sailing, be careful here. Very few women like being in small sailboats (though there are a few rare exceptions). most guys like the thrill of rough water and a stiff blow, but this is not most women's idea of a fun time. If any girl you date wants to try going out on your boat, wait for a very calm sunny day with a light breeze and stay close to shore. And NEVER show off your sailing skills to your date! She will be more impressed if you deliver a nice relaxing and enjoyable ride. Better yet, borrow a much bigger sailboat (or wait until you own one), and check the weather ahead for that nice pleasant day. If you do not do that, she will never want to have anything to do with you or sailing again. Take my word for it.
  12. Muttsist
    Joined: Apr 2013
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    Muttsist Junior Member

    so it seems unanimous, i should get a sailing dinghy. Not too complicated to build i guess. seems simple really. Ill give it a go when i scratch up the money for the materials and tools. once i start ill post the pics of the process and then finally with me in it ( probably lake lanier or chattahoochee river if its legal).

    Actually the lasers look like fun. a good way to burn off my overflowing competitiveness. All i do is work, swim, and watch netflix. in that order lol

    But i like to just lounge around so ill probably be in the dinghy staring at the clouds or fish more. although im always ready for a race!

    And by the way when exactly did i mention women? How do you guys know so much about my dating troubles?!? lol
  13. JRD
    Joined: May 2010
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    JRD Senior Member

    You are 19, what more needs to be said!
  14. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Lasers are fine little dingys -not beginner boats (if you weren't a strong swimmer I would warn that it could kill you before you get the knack) but the kind of boat that you can get competent on in a few days. And it's a surprisingly capable sailboat despite the age of the design. It never ceases to amaze me the number of new high tech boats that can't out sail a laser to windward. Laser is also about the most competitive dingy class there is. You will learn a lot, but you should not expect to win much.

    One thing the laser is not good for is lounging. Generally the only time you aren't adjusting with both hands is when there is no wind. If you want to do any lounging on it you will need a short rig because the sail does not reef. I have been planning to make such a rig for mine.

    Regarding women, there is a saying; 'Women won't lay down in boats they can't stand up in'. Follow that advice and chances are that you will end up with a lifelong string of bills that will drown any thought you might have of sailing the world -and still end up with no woman. When I hear someone say that I say "You scurvy dog! Why are you wasting your time on women who can stand up?!! And why are you advising me what to spend on a boat when you apparently can't afford my bar bill?!!"

  15. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    A Laser is a fun little boat, but not very practical for recreational use, not much room for a friend, and you will usually get wet. Although it is a big and competitive class, I would look for a more practical sailing dingy. They will not make a reasonable tender for that larger boat you plan to buy either.

    Lasers are so popular that they are also costly to buy, even used. OTOH, it means you can likely sell it at a good price too. I would consider something a little larger that can be used for relaxing day sailing with a friend or two. If you like to build look around for something that is popular and still competitive in the wood version.
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