Open letter (well, post really) to lurking newbies

shmoo

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Are you looking on here to help with a decision about buying a boat or taking up sailing?

The message is: it's easier than you think, and certainly easier than it's sometimes made out here.

Remember the folks here like discussing the finer points, but the finer points aren't really necessary when you are starting. I will stick my neck out and give an example. There are no bad anchors. You will see long, closely argued threads about which anchor is best but the one you have is very likely fine, certainly for the conditions you will encounter to start with, if it is about the recommended size for the boat, has at least some chain, you make sure it's set and let out plenty of scope.

I have enormous respect for the contributors to this forum, but they do sometime display a bit of 'attitude'. Ignore it. The attitude you sometimes see here is largely a feature of forum technology and is almost never encountered when actually sailing. Don't let it put you off. Sail in to any marina short handed and folks will spot you, calmly put down what they are doing and amble round to the berth you are headed for and offer to take a rope in a very low key non-judgmental way. You will seldom come across a grumpy old sod in real life.

There are books and courses. Anyone with a reasonable general education (i.e able to read) can master the basics quite quickly. Anyone with a technical or scientific background probably already knows enough about vectors, trig and aerodynamics to understand tidal navigation and sailing theory at a single telling.

If you ignore the technical stuff about luminosity and such the COLREGS can be learned parrot fashion in a few weeks, and then understood reasonably well in complex multi boat situations in a season or two actual sailing.

If you have done any kind of outdoor pursuit you will have gained skills of risk assessment that are transferable to sailing situations and most mature adults will have done enough planning through work or leisure activities for a passage plan to be a pretty obvious undertaking, once the essentials have been learned.

Again sticking my neck out: don't worry about jargon. It is quite alright to say left, right, front, back, floor, loo, kitchen. One day you will know what tumblehome is, but don't worry about it now. I doubt if any shipwrecks occurred due to ignorance of such terms.

This is probably a great time to buy a boat (no self interest, not selling).

Come on in.
 
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Chrusty1

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Nice one Shmoo, but I would say that you last para is a bit misleading, possibly inacurate? With regard to left & right......Well who's left and right?? That is why we say port and starboard, saves confusion all round really /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

oughtoc

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And there's the first one...

Schmoo is right. There's a stick, some rope and you either push or pull. The tall bit goes uppermost. You may get wet. Don't set out in a hurricane for America in your first week. The rest is just practice and some common sense. And don't let the grumpy one's put you off - if you see some of the stories they tell demonstrate equally daft moments as the ones we are all bound to have.
 

Refueler

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[ QUOTE ]
Nice one Shmoo, but I would say that you last para is a bit misleading, possibly inacurate? With regard to left & right......Well who's left and right?? That is why we say port and starboard, saves confusion all round really /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

[/ QUOTE ]

Does it ? RN used to have counter orders for steering .... port helm meant turning to stbd etc.

But the essence of Port / Stbd is to remove the error of Left / Right. Port / Stbd is based on the side of the ship facing ahead. Left / Right is based on which way you are facing yourself.

Generally I woulod agree with OP Schmoo's and add one thing. Most people whether they intend to or not are biased and advise based on their likes, dislikes, purchases and what they MAY have seen. That last bit is important as many comments are not actually experienced - they are second-hand passed down the line info.

My belief is that everyone likes something that others may not. Most people buy / like what looks right to them - not Fred Bloggs ... I like Westerly Konsorts ... I know there are some on these forums that posted a while back that it was one of the ugliest boats out ! So be it .. we cannot please everyone.
 

MissFitz

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Couldn't agree more re forumites. As a relative newbie, I've been amazed at how helpful & friendly everyone has been, even when asked obvious/irritating/just plain dumb (delete as appropriate) questions.

Would also agree in advising newbies to keep reading the books, & don't let people tell you that it's only practical experience that counts - nice in theory, but if you can't be sailing all the time, reading about it's a pretty good substitute. It won't all make sense at first, but keep at it & light will dawn, I promise - & then you'll understand why reefing is the right thing to do, & that it doesn't mean you're a big girl's blouse /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

Bosunof

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TRIFFIC

Anything we can do to encourage those a little shy to join in is a good move, I reckon. Thanks for the post and I do similar when on board and am delighted to have anyone on board for a taste of our wonderful sport. Jargon aside, I do try to dispel fears and worries. And there are quite a few here who do much the same.
In my trip around the coast I have met many, many good'uns and no really miserable beggars. One can get enough of them at home.
 

fantasia7628

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An excellent post, thank you. I think that forums and emails are often misunderstood, sometimes poorly written; but also very useful.

I would agree with the just get up and go sailing theory, its the way that I learnt many years ago.
 

MacMan

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I have definitely met some grumpy buggers out there too but would say that the "average" yachtie I met is better/nicer and more generous than the "average" person I meet "real life" where work/live.
 

cumbrian

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[ QUOTE ]
The message is: it's easier than you think, and certainly easier than it's sometimes made out here. Come on in.

[/ QUOTE ] good points shmoo - i bought a boat recently with zero experience or teaching - found it hard - then found it ok - and now even easy (at times). and of course now i'm addicted and fantasising about heavy weather sailing...

on a v recent post asking for boat upgrade advice i got great info and will be coming back over and again for more
 

PhilipF

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Positive OP and thread - good.

I myself bought my first boat following a lifetimes work, then some years of leisure! Pleased to report I've taken to boat handing like the proverbial duck, though am not sure this is a matter of luck, or just natural aptitude, truth perhaps it boils down to confidence.
 

photodog

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Ok, been buggin me for ages.... Just what the hell is Tumblehome????
 

Phoenix of Hamble

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alan_d

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... so a cross-section through the hull would look a bit like a wine-glass.

But honestly it doesn't matter a damn except to naval architects (who will know what it is anyway). Some people think tumblehome is aesthetically pleasing, but you don't need to know what it is called to like it or hate it.
 
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