square one non-sailer needs guidance

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Freaky_1, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six Previous Member

    Good choice.

    Were I to do it again, I'd take the training first, and the boat second.
  2. Freaky_1
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Freaky_1 Junior Member

    Got to spend a few hours out on the lake in a new friend's 16' drifter sailboat.
    She's a plywood stich and glue design from free plans online that the owner/builder adapted to sail.

    One of our suppliers told me yesterday that she'd bring a sailing dingy by and show me the basics as she knew them. Well I guess she was serious. She was at the gate 6:00 this morning with boat on a flat bed utility trailer.

    Pretty neat little setup. Basically a slightly oversized canoe with hard chines. Mast is a home-spun hinged deal of spruce. Dagger board. Tiny rudder (found that part anemic). Foam filled benches (yup, you guess it. That came in handy). And a pretty cool little double barrel rocker style bilge pump made from PVC (I can attest to it's excellent performance).

    Ok, so we spent all of 60 seconds or so on basics and off we went. Spent amhalf hour or so just hugging the shore and jogging around obstacles (bars and submerged structure are common along a couple miles of shoreline and where else would we be). Most of that time I was on the tiller as she tried to show me what slack felt like. Wind was as near perfect as it could be for an experienced sailor (which I'm not) and I never got that "slack feel".

    After that, we jogged around in the open water and I started getting something akin to a feel for it. All told, we were out 2 to 2.5 hours that time. Came in and had some lunch with her and her fiancée at a local haunt that we locals tend to keep quite on, but food was great, company was enjoyable and all was well.

    Headed back and Mr. Fiancée (sorry didn't think to ask if they'd mind me posting this) thought I was ready to learn to "come around quick" and to start some windward work.

    He set the rig as I kept the stem pointed almost with the wind toward a large bridge and away from the dock we went. Shortly under way, I began to feel that little feeling of silent flight. The feeling held till we got near the aforementioned bridge. He adjusted the sail and took the tiller.

    Next he said "I'm just gonna do this so you can get an idea of what to expect and then I'll explain it". It felt a lot like going for a swim.

    The boat heeled hard to starboard as we started into a very quick turn to port. As soon as it started a good lean, the sail popped like a hurricane force wind had hit it from nowhere and the boat suddenly went from turning quickly to spinning on its keel in the opposite direction and off to port she rolled. I hate to admit it, but I rather enjoyed the experience.

    Well, now we're taking up a bit more space on the surface of the lake than we were seconds ago and laughing like teenagers who weren't yet in trouble but would soon be.

    I took it as the perfect opportunity to see if righting small sailboats could be as simple as some folks made it look. He unclipped a couple lines from the sail and gave the go ahead.
    I grabbed the gw and went to stand on the dagger, but before I could get enough purchase to try my weight, she stood right up. OK so mmaybe sometimes it is as simple as folks make it look.

    It took maybe 5 minutes for us to pump her as close to dry as she was going to get with no low spot bilge. He re-hooked whatever he had disconnected, dropped the sail by about a third and got us back to the dock.

    Back at the dock, I pulled the bow up on an unused jetski "dry slip" that I really need to tear out. With the bow up and my weight in the stern, it didn't take minute to dip out the remaining water.

    After that, we all 3 went out and just "self sailed" (NOW I understand that) at half a snail's pace and caught some perch.

    Tried to get them to let me buy them some supper but they had plans.

    Right now, their boat is beside my house on a flatbed trailer. They're hoping to try again tomorrow if the weather permits.

    For the last 3 hours, I've been under the shed with my old Lincoln buzz box, a grinder and some salvaged "engineered lumber" modifying an abandoned boat trailer to carry their quite awesome little plywood boat. If they don't want it, I'll put it on Craigslist for free, but hopefully they'll have use for it.

    I had already replaced the wheel bearings and seals for a family member that changed their mind and never bought a boat last year. I don't remember if I put new lights on it or not, but lights and wiring are like new. Now it just needs paint and perhaps some younger tires.

    Anyway, sorry to bore ya with the draw out of my day, but I did learn quite a bit more than I expected to even though I certainly haven't learned to sail. I know I really like their boat but it's not for me. The Core Sound 17 (thanks again PAR) or similar is currently my front runner.

    Thanks and have a great day!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  3. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Frank, welcome to sailing and welcome to the blog. You are off to a good start. Here is my advice based on what you have written so far.

    The core sound 17 is a great boat. If you were asking what boat should I build for sailing and rowing off a trailer in my area the CS 17 is it. But that is not what you asked, it's the right answer for the most common situation.

    You asked for a keel boat, to be kept at a dock you have (no cost), and you have given no indication you want to propel it with your own muscles. You might not recognize it yet, but you are the dream owner for golden era (70s) sailboats which are abundant to say the least. The challenge for you is to get the 'best one' which will likely be a high quality make, with the most expensive parts recently replaced, purchased at a substantial discount to previous owners cost. It is a sad market reality. There are many 'good' sailboats at prices approaching free that you should avoid lest you become the 'previous owner selling at a big loss' I just spoke of. The point I want to make is that if you offered your slip and a little maintenance and upkeep (less than you would do as an owner) you would likely have a very impressive line of applicants that only want a little prime time sailing. Since you don't know what you want, this would be a great way to find out.

    To know just what boat you should try
    -how do you intend to propel the boat when the wind dies?
    -do you value shallow draft abilities? I personally value this highly since I can't carry a dingy on a small boat, there is safety in beaching ability, and trailering a deep fixed keel limits travel. Given your abilities a swing or lifting keel should not be too much to maintain.
    -about that travel, are you sure you only want to sail from your dock?
    -are you the kind of guy who likes to push performance? Or would you prefer a heavy stable boat that allows you to have a picnic with guests (note difference between guest and crew).
    The answers to these questions will go a long way to getting the right boat. It might be heavy solid and motored, it might be very light, fast, and versatile...

    You asked about junk rig mast position...no the mast of the common sloop is generally not in the right position for a junk rig. More importantly, the standing rigging is likely to interfere. If you are serious about trying a junk rig on an old production sailboat you want stayless mast. Look at a freedom 21. If I had your slip and desire for a junk rig it would be my choice.

    About the junk rig -it's a bit of a polarizing subject. It has virtues but they are subjective and mostly about handling (no flog, twist control). If you just like the look of it -that's a costly attraction. If you are performance oriented look at 'soft wing' sails. There are a couple very good threads on BDnet.
  4. Freaky_1
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Freaky_1 Junior Member

    Wow, great comments and questions. Thank you.

    First off, you mentioned offering slip and service. Good idea and I'll likely use it.

    Alternative propulsion: Intentionally left that out as I have numerous options available to me and am easily pleased with what best suits the situation. For what it's worth, even sculling heavier vessels is less strenuous than most think. What manner will be determined by the boat rather than the more standard order.

    Shallow draft abilities: This I do value. It's not a requirement of my slip, sailing lanes or any common reason so much as:
    A) shallow draft boats are just easier on the hill, a stow cradle would be easier to build and make life easier if it needs moved around on the property.
    B) If I ever did decide to trailer it somewhere, well you already know.

    Travel: Yes, just here. I hope to learn and find I enjoy it enough to eventually go with a blue water cruiser in the form of home for two. That's in the wind till I .. .. Well that's what this first boat is mostly about.

    Performance: I would be much more interested in being able to sail in more conditions, than speed. Further, at this point in my life, I prefer to enjoy the ride rather than the thrill. Leisurely though purposeful. She'll be transportation and tote as well as pleasure. More towards the picnic angle, but add a toolbox, some grease rags, and something akin to a mini-pickup bed while still being ready for guests. I'm sand collar class.

    JR: I just like em. Through many months of reading, there are traits and charactaristics I like, but let's be honest. It's aesthetic, I just like em. So.... Necessary? No. I'd just really prefer to. Ultimately, that's the route "I'd like to go" with a future vessel so starting there would be nice in seeing if "I'd like to" ends up meaning anything.

    Doesn't matter if she's a pig, pigs can be reliable and I do love bacon.
    Doesn't matter if she's a princess so long as the princess enjoys making mud pies.
    Matters most that I can learn to sail with it and still use it as a boat.

    Fin keels are out simply because I don't want to deal with one here.
    I'd rather keep overall hull length 20' or under. In fact 12' would be fine with me so long as it passes muster by experienced folks and my Bride can avoid dents in her noggin. I know length is not the measure of a boat so I'm open. Much over 20' and I'll have dedicate her slip to her. 20 or less and she can hold either end as needed.

    Thanks again!
  5. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    welcome to the forum,

    You should see if you can get some time in as many different types of sailboat as possible. Possiblly hang out at a local yacht club and voleneer to be their galley slave during club races...er crew member. You learn a lot about sailing during a race, even if you never plan on racing. It will also expose you to a lot of different sailing conditions in very short order.

    A smaller sailboar I think is ideal for learning on because they behave similar to larager boats but do it a lot faster. so you get a better feel for how the hull and sail reacts to your input. I would think something in the 14 to 18 ft range would be an ideal size, big enough to take a friend along, but small enough to trailer and handle alone.

    Most important is you try and get in a many different types of sailboats as possible before you make your purchase. It will serve you well in determining what will suit your needs. Of course if you are in the habit of finding bargains and flipping them with minimal effort, that would be an excellent way to try out a number of possible candidates as well. You just do not want to end up with something you hate and can not give away.

    Good luck.
  6. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six Previous Member


    That is one of the reasons U.S. Sailing uses 25' boats for Basic Keelboat.
  7. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Well that tells me a lot about the character of your desire but you still did not answer definitely -I presume on purpose so I will offer some vague advice.

    About clutter and grease rags -these are poison in a sailboat. There is no grease in sailing(except inside winches). If there were grease anywhere it would quickly end up on running rigging and make it slip, not hold tight. The same is true of clutter -everything should be secured because you never know when the boat will heel and turn clutter into projectiles. If that grease or clutter ends up under foot you or your guests could become the projectiles. For these reasons there is great incentive to do without greasy motors that run on toxic liquids. Electric propulsion is better but still brings complexity and hazard. Human propulsion has virtues but is limited -if you have to row your own boat you will want a lighter more efficient boat. Personally I welcome this constraint. Honestly this is the best reason to favor a smaller lighter boat. About learning -a feather will teach you more about wind than a brick but it won't teach you what you need to know about bricks.

    On the other hand you favor all the attributes of a bigger heavier boat. The truth is that bigger heavier boats are easier to sail. Small light boats are two hands, full time to sail. A heavier keel boat enables one moderately capable sailor to take a load of guests out for a pleasant sail/picnic safely and without burden. I suspect that if you took your wife out for a sail that included an impromptu swim it might be the last sail she took and it would negatively impact your sailing future.

    I still think you would do well to look for a partnership, 'have slip to offer to the right sailboat for sailing privileges (off peak)'. There is no reason for this boat to be small or light. If you want to learn what a lighter fast boat can teach, get a single hand dingy. Depending on condition these range from cheap to free. Fix it up, take it out and get intimate with the wind and the water -risking no life but your own. This would also be a good boat to play with a junk rig. It has been said that there are two kinds of good boats, those you can carry, and those you can live on.
  8. Freaky_1
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Freaky_1 Junior Member

    Sitting in a parking lot waiting for someone, then off to the bay (on the road still in FL). So short reply here.

    Don't mean literally stowing rags and grease, sorry.

    What I mean is it would be nice to not have to find a shower after a hard days work before sailing home. This would be my primary transportation. A trip to the store requires a boat as does my work when back home. While I do have a truck, I'd rather paddle a leaky canoe in a downpour to get a to b rather than drive 45 mins to get the long way round. Don't know if I'm explaining myself or not.
  9. Freaky_1
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Freaky_1 Junior Member

    Sailed they day away in several different boats / types. Not a bad day by any means!

    A few stand out. Really enjoyed a little Capri 18, she was very easy to handle though I'm told she can be fit for more performance minded folks than this one. Like her the way she is. She's stripped bare inside with just some life vests below.

    I really, really, really enjoyed an album Vega 27. She's stripped as well, but has benches below and a dead volvo. She's bigger than what I currently want, but man did she handle nice.

    Also sailed a Carlo 17 that is an open hull grp no frills boat. No one knows anything about it, so I'll be googling that one. It was abandoned at a local businesses and given to my friends here for their "latchkey" program. Nice boat and hard to explain from the point of knowing so little, but it felt bigger and heavier than it is. Felt extremely stable and didn't want to air its keel out. Round hull "full-ish" keel. Dead easy to keep it happy.

    Several others were far too "jittery" for lack of a better term at this point.
    A few were nice but needed constant attention to keep happy.
    One was a duck something or other... Flat bottomed canoe shaped thingy with no keel of any kind and I finally managed to handle directional work with it, but the only positive points it had for me were that it floated, sailed and had me on the water. Basically I hated it.

    More later. Going to take a few days here and see what I can learn. Today, I was basically told "here, figure it out" and it's actually gone well. They have a youth sailing class in the morning and I'll be the old grey bearded youth there.


  10. Freaky_1
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Freaky_1 Junior Member

    OK, so the little "thingy" is a duck punter. Would be a blast for a younger set of bones.

    I've gotten in some more time on several more boats and some things I've found.

    The little Puddle Duck is an awesome way to just have fun on the water. I'll be building myself one for playing around. Certainly doesn't fill categories already listed, so still searching. Is however a box-o-fun and me wants one.

    The same is also true of the "goose" version of the same design. This one has a much larger sail and requires sitting on the gunwale. It's another box-o-fun.

    Sailed a S.C.A.M.P. rigged normally and again junk rigged. Fine boat and fun. Not a whole lot of difference other than the same boat with JR didn't seem to heel quite as much for the same speed and control. Well, it was also quieter.

    Was taken out on a core sound 20 mk3 and was surprised at how docile it seemed while pretty much flying along.

    So far, the best "feeling" boats have been 25' or up. This is expected and I would settle for a larger boat if not for pretty much having to go camper or cruiser. Still want as much open hull as I can have.

    I still like the idea of long keel, but have played with two bilge keel boats that have opened my eyes a bit to shallow AND dry handling.

    Spending the evening aboard a 25' Catalina. We're about to board in Mayport and take it a couple hundred miles up the ICW to it's winter home on the hill.

    We'll be returning in a "larger boat that you'll find interesting" apparently.

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