in the puget sound trying to buy a boat and learn to sail (1 Viewer)

CouchPunx

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My unemployment riches just dropped in my bank account and with that plus some weed money ill hsve coming to me im looking at the most money ive ever had. I have nothing to do all summer so I thought id learn to sail, which is something ive wanted to do since childhood.

Should i get a cheap cruiser and learn to sail it over the summer, then sell it and buy something bigger (on the east coast)?
Or would it be smarter to get a small dinghy or something that i can store in a friends backyard just to learn on this summer? I wouldnt even know how to back out of the slip with the outboard right now, so that would make me feel a little better, especially considering i got no clue what to look for in a boat.

Is it possible to learn to sail a 26' boat alone and without a teacher? I found a decent one that includes two months moorage i could live on but wondering if thats smart at this stage.

Would learning on a small boat teach me to sail a larger boat?

Any advice much appreciated.
 
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Although i think @CrowTheBard and @iamwhatiam would probably be better qualified to chime in on this (and both are in the PNW!) i'd say go with the 26' and start there. you can definitely learn to do it yourself with some reading and practice. just get a decent dinghy so you can get to town and back out to your boat without hassle.
 

LuckyMinnie

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My unemployment riches just dropped in my bank account and with that plus some weed money ill hsve coming to me im looking at the most money ive ever had. I have nothing to do all summer so I thought id learn to sail, which is something ive wanted to do since childhood.

Should i get a cheap cruiser and learn to sail it over the summer, then sell it and buy something bigger (on the east coast)?
Or would it be smarter to get a small dinghy or something that i can store in a friends backyard just to learn on this summer? I wouldnt even know how to back out of the slip with the outboard right now, so that would make me feel a little better, especially considering i got no clue what to look for in a boat.

Is it possible to learn to sail a 26' boat alone and without a teacher? I found a decent one that includes two months moorage i could live on but wondering if thats smart at this stage.

Would learning on a small boat teach me to sail a larger boat?

Any advice much appreciated.
This is just my opinion, it's not coming from experience. Sailing is my second item on my bucket list, so I've thought about this. You probably could learn this on your own, but why? There are classes you can take and people you can hire to teach you. Also, make sure to buy an excellent insurance policy. In my opinion, the 26 ft cruiser you have your eye on will probably be a good starter. Anything that fits in your friends yard is going to be so different from the type of boat you want, that the learning experiences aren't comparable. Like if you're looking to buy an F-350 and tow a camper, but you don't know how to drive. Should you learn to drive on a little Smartcar and then cross over to the F-350? In my opinion, no. The tiny Smartcar is so different from a large truck that your learning won't really transfer over to the truck. Once you get in the truck, you would feel like you need to relearn how to drive. It would have made more sense to have just started your learning in a truck. In my view, it's the same with the boat. It's best to start with something that's comparable to the boat you ultimately are wanting to get. Anyhow, hopefully someone with experience will come along and give you some more insight on this matter.
 

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I'm going to be the lone voice of dissent here and state that if you are serious about sailing - as opposed to just living on a boat - I would start small.

I had an aquaintance, she lived in the house behind mine and she was really into the idea od sailing, so as luck would have it - I found a 1965 Sunfish made by The Allcott Boat Company, in Waterbury... a real vintage Sunfish, with a new sail... etc... and well, that's not what she wanted, she with thinking more along the lines of bigger and flashier is better.

Anyhow, my logic comes from learning how wind works, what a sail boat can/cannot do, and plus if you decide to flip your Sunfish, no big deal - if you decide to flip a 26 footer, well.... that's a big deal... if you run your Sunfish on a sandbar or something just below the surface, it's alright, if you run a much bigger sail boat on a shoal or something, it sucks big time.

But, if you are to go with that sailboat which you have mentioned, then yes go for it but also take classes and see if you can get some sea time on someone else's sailboat as a crew member just so you can see what it's really like in real conditions, rough seas, high winds etc....

The only real world experience I can bring is that from 2007 until earlier this year, I could be described as a hard core kayaker who went out some years 80 to 90 times, all kinds of kayaking, river touring, sea kayaking... in all kinds of weather, everything but real white water kayaking [which some day I'd like to do as well, but I think my back has put the kabash on any and all further kayaing] but seriously, I did not start out with a real sweet 18 foot expedition kayak, that came years later after getting real solid experience on 14 foot kayaks first [at last count, I have over 20 different kayaks all shapes and sizes... so, back to this thread, I have a real understanding on wind, currents, how wind affects wave heights and patterns over currents, when wind is blowing across or against currents, these are all things you'll need to know as a sailor not too mention a thorough understanding of the waters you intend to sail - nautical charts are a must, as running aground is not fun [I experienced that while working on a fishing boat back in my youth, talk about sudden stoppage !!!]

Think about it some, make sure it's something you really want to do, and know that sail boats are also money pits, just like everything else.

Most of all have fun, and be safe.
 

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Okay, so my opinion is to start on a smaller sailboat. When I say "smaller", I'm talking 18-24 ft I think should be good. Here's why.

First, a smaller boat will be easier to learn to handle solo and more easy to correct mistakes or problems as they arise. You will get a better idea for how a sailboat feels and reacts to currents and wind on a 22 ft boat as compared to a 40 footer. There's a good reason why a lot of the seasoned sailors of today first started out on little Hobie cats or what have you.

Second, every couple feet added to a boat is going to cost you more money. More money in rigging, lines, anchors, sails, gas for the engine, mooring fees, bottom paint, etc etc etc. All the little things add up. I bought my 22 ft boat w/ trailer for 6k. After paying the tax on the sale, license and registration fee, insurance, first months moorage fee, new spool of anchor line and chain, new dinghy, new anchor, etc....I spent another 1600 or more (estimated) before I was even able to put the boat in the water. That's around 25% the cost of the boat, just for the initial outfitting of things I needed and additional costs.

But I guess a couple questions I have for you is how much $$ you have to spend on this and also, are you interested in living aboard your boat because that's gonna help determine what size to start with.
 

iamwhatiam

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Btw, insurance (which you are required to have before you can even get a slip in a marina in WA) is pretty cheap. I pay like 125 for a year I think through BoatUS.

Also, backing out of a slip (or motoring into one for that matter) is really not all that hard, just nerve wracking the first few times you do it. Some advice, is just to take it as slow as possible, remember to have your fenders over the side, and have a boat pole ready in case.

After a few tries, I got confident enough to do it on my own single-handed, and now I don't even give it a thought. I might as well be taking a piss it's so easy lol
 
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CouchPunx

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Alright, so to answer a few questions and get more specific, the boat I have is a San Juan 26 that a marina is selling because the previous owner stopped paying moorage fees. One of the reasons I like it is that moorage until july is included, so I could live on it with few problems and have time to mess around with it. The boat is $1350

My living situation right now is pretty sweet, have a garage in seattle where I don't have to pay any rent, so I'm not stressed about getting something i can also live on. Not really any space to store a boat on a trailer here, and I don't have a vehicle anyways.

There is a 21' boat also that I've got my eye on for $600, is this small enough for an easier learning curve?

My plan is to spend the summer sailing around the puget sound in whatever I can get my hands on, then sell the boat (if it hasn't sunk yet) and buy something more expensive and bigger on the east coast.

I would totally consider lessons but what i've found in seattle is 1: not happening because of covid19 and 2: when it does happen it will be kind of hilariously expensive. I have some people in bellingham willing to show me the ropes, but i'd have to get my boat up there first.
 

iamwhatiam

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Alright, so to answer a few questions and get more specific, the boat I have is a San Juan 26 that a marina is selling because the previous owner stopped paying moorage fees. One of the reasons I like it is that moorage until july is included, so I could live on it with few problems and have time to mess around with it. The boat is $1350

My living situation right now is pretty sweet, have a garage in seattle where I don't have to pay any rent, so I'm not stressed about getting something i can also live on. Not really any space to store a boat on a trailer here, and I don't have a vehicle anyways.

There is a 21' boat also that I've got my eye on for $600, is this small enough for an easier learning curve?

My plan is to spend the summer sailing around the puget sound in whatever I can get my hands on, then sell the boat (if it hasn't sunk yet) and buy something more expensive and bigger on the east coast.

I would totally consider lessons but what i've found in seattle is 1: not happening because of covid19 and 2: when it does happen it will be kind of hilariously expensive. I have some people in bellingham willing to show me the ropes, but i'd have to get my boat up there first.
My buddy Mike keeps his boat in Bellingham. I'm sure he wouldn't mind taking you out or going with you to show you some things. Nah, don't pay for lessons. You don't really need to take lessons IMO unless you're trying to get your captains license or some shit like that.

Have any pics of the boats? What needs fixing/replacing on them? What kind of motor and what condition? Do they come with all the required safety gear you need? San Juans are a very common starter sailboat for this area.

Might want to have a friend who knows about boats come and take a look with you before you buy one. Just cause a boat is cheap doesn't mean it's gonna be cheap, if you get my drift
 
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CouchPunx

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Yeah thats another thing, no clue what im looking for. Just figure as long as its not sinking itll maybe at least last the summer and if i break it it aint the worst thing in the world. Also another reason to go for a small boat. Cheap and easy to see if its broken.
Here's what ive been looking at.



But yeah, might hit you up about mike. Considering maybe even mooring up there, seems like theres lots more boat kids up there
 

iamwhatiam

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Yeah thats another thing, no clue what im looking for. Just figure as long as its not sinking itll maybe at least last the summer and if i break it it aint the worst thing in the world. Also another reason to go for a small boat. Cheap and easy to see if its broken.
Here's what ive been looking at.



But yeah, might hit you up about mike. Considering maybe even mooring up there, seems like theres lots more boat kids up there
Definitely find a friend who knows boats to go with you when you check them out. At least that way, you'll know a ballpark figure for how much $$ you'll really be spending on maintenance costs
 
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CouchPunx

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What I'm leaning towards now is getting one of those little ten foot sailboats to fuck around on for a month. I'm finding em for a couple hundred dollars and if, after a month, I wanna get a real boat then at least I know a little bit better how things work, and maybe I'll have met some boat people that can help me get started.

Any reason this is a stupid idea?

Thanks for all the help by the way, I'd be really in the dark without you guys.
 

Dameon

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I have experience here...I lived on a 26' sailboat for 3 years, and I was sailing it singlehanded after a single lesson. It's definitely doable; boats honestly aren't hard, and Puget Sound is mostly a cakewalk. I live in Seattle, so let me know if you need advice on any boats you're looking at, I can look over a boat before you buy it and tell you if it's a good deal, and I can give you a lesson or two once you've got your boat. I say go for the larger boat, get into it wholeheartedly, especially with Puget Sound to explore; you've got miles and miles of gorgeous islands and shoreline to explore. Open it all up to yourself and be able to go on overnight trips.

A lot of skill from dinghy sailing does transfer to a yacht, but you couldn't learn on a dinghy and then go directly to a yacht from there. You would definitely need somebody to show you around on the larger boat.

Anyhow, my logic comes from learning how wind works, what a sail boat can/cannot do, and plus if you decide to flip your Sunfish, no big deal - if you decide to flip a 26 footer, well.... that's a big deal...
You can't really "flip" a 26 foot sailboat like you could a sunfish. A keel makes a sailboat a very difficult thing to capsize, because it's weighted with lead unlike the daggerboard on your Sunfish, you basically have to be broadsided by a large wave on the ocean, and then the nature of a sailboat and the keel is that it will actually turn right-side up. From wind alone, though, you will basically never capsize.
 
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CouchPunx

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I have experience here...I lived on a 26' sailboat for 3 years, and I was sailing it singlehanded after a single lesson. It's definitely doable; boats honestly aren't hard, and Puget Sound is mostly a cakewalk. I live in Seattle, so let me know if you need advice on any boats you're looking at, I can look over a boat before you buy it and tell you if it's a good deal, and I can give you a lesson or two once you've got your boat. I say go for the larger boat, get into it wholeheartedly, especially with Puget Sound to explore; you've got miles and miles of gorgeous islands and shoreline to explore. Open it all up to yourself and be able to go on overnight trips.

A lot of skill from dinghy sailing does transfer to a yacht, but you couldn't learn on a dinghy and then go directly to a yacht from there. You would definitely need somebody to show you around on the larger boat.


You can't really "flip" a 26 foot sailboat like you could a sunfish. A keel makes a sailboat a very difficult thing to capsize, because it's weighted with lead unlike the daggerboard on your Sunfish, you basically have to be broadsided by a large wave on the ocean, and then the nature of a sailboat and the keel is that it will actually turn right-side up. From wind alone, though, you will basically never capsize.
Thats encouraging, yeah its really just buyi g the thing and then going out that first time or two thats stopping me, if youd be able to help out that would be huge. Ill shiot you a pm when i get a good short list of possible boats together
 

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@CouchPunx I also wrote this a while ago, which should help you some:
 

OTTERWOLF

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@Dameon... ok, fair enough - I was just going on what happens in the Long Island Sound once the wind starts blowing 40 to 50 knots, and how some folks have capsized their sailboats in such conditions while crossing the race when it's ripping super hard.

***I would hope anyone who is serious about sailing is not just a fair weather sailor***

I know when I worked on a fishing boat, the only thing that kept us at port was an actual hurricane, and I can remember one time being particulary sick one trip as the sea was grean with foam and the sky and angry color not listed in the color wheel - the Captain looked at me and said "If it's any consolation, the only reason I am not sick is because I'm really scared"...

So, I guess as usual my comments are null and void @CouchPunx go for it, disregard what i have mentioned in this thread.

*and by the way, I met a Sunfish affectionado, and when I asked him why my Sunfish weighs more like 200 lbs, he mentioned that the ones like mine - from the mid 1960s - were prone to absorb water in the fiberglass insulation [*I have no way of knowing if there is truth to this or not....] and when he saw the look of sadness on my face, he jumped right in and said - no, that's a good thing - your Sunfish will never capsize because it has a super low center of gravity due to this extra ballast, you'll have a real wet ride but a real fun ride in wind conditions which will keep other Sunfish users on the beach !!
 

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Sorry I’m late to the party ya’ll. Dropped my smartphone in the water a while back and waiting in a new one so my internet time has been zero lately lol.

A 26’ sailboat is still a small boat. Anyone could learn to sail one in a weekend. I’m anchored right next to a fresh sailor in an Ericson27. He has had the boat about 3 months now. First time he backed out of the slip he didn’t even know how to put the outboard in forward from reverse! It was a mess but he figured it out and two weeks later we were out buddy boating in a small craft advisory! My point being, he went from knowing nothing to being able to sail in lively conditions, alone, in a matter of weeks. It’s super doable.

Hit me up in a DM @CouchPunx and I’ll get you my number. I can look over the ads you are curious about and help advise you in any way you need.
A little dinghy sailboat like a sunfish or laser are a blast, but you’ll get to do some real sailing and cruising if you get a bit larger boat.

You don’t need classes or a “big insurance policy.” Both those are silly ideas. While classes can be excellent for old farts and sailors wishing to polish and round out their skills, it is far from the fastest/best way to learn sailing.

Best way to gain experience on someone else’s boat is to buy a case of beer and dock walk, especially if a race is coming up, and just ask to crew. Offer the beer up. Or find people on the dock working on their boats and offer some labor in exchange for time on the water. Show up on race days and look for a boat to get on.

you’ll find that most sailors would be static to teach someone else and to share their experiences.

Fair winds,
Crow
 
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CouchPunx

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@CouchPunx I also wrote this a while ago, which should help you some:
Yep I've read this and other resources on here, gave me my first inspiration that this thing might be doable.

Sorry I’m late to the party ya’ll. Dropped my smartphone in the water a while back and waiting in a new one so my internet time has been zero lately lol.

A 26’ sailboat is still a small boat. Anyone could learn to sail one in a weekend. I’m anchored right next to a fresh sailor in an Ericson27. He has had the boat about 3 months now. First time he backed out of the slip he didn’t even know how to put the outboard in forward from reverse! It was a mess but he figured it out and two weeks later we were out buddy boating in a small craft advisory! My point being, he went from knowing nothing to being able to sail in lively conditions, alone, in a matter of weeks. It’s super doable.

Hit me up in a DM @CouchPunx and I’ll get you my number. I can look over the ads you are curious about and help advise you in any way you need.
A little dinghy sailboat like a sunfish or laser are a blast, but you’ll get to do some real sailing and cruising if you get a bit larger boat.

You don’t need classes or a “big insurance policy.” Both those are silly ideas. While classes can be excellent for old farts and sailors wishing to polish and round out their skills, it is far from the fastest/best way to learn sailing.

Best way to gain experience on someone else’s boat is to buy a case of beer and dock walk, especially if a race is coming up, and just ask to crew. Offer the beer up. Or find people on the dock working on their boats and offer some labor in exchange for time on the water. Show up on race days and look for a boat to get on.

you’ll find that most sailors would be static to teach someone else and to share their experiences.

Fair winds,
Crow
Thanks, I'll hit you up right now. Appreciate the encouragement.

And yeah I was surprised the other day looking at a boat (when I realized i have nooooo clue what I'm looking at) how willing people were to talk to me about boat stuff. I had been imagining a bunch of rich people for some reason.
 

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Its threads like this that fill me with existential joy....

Great advice, this has helped me as well, because I will be doing the same here in about a year.

I have done a bit of reasearch and am looking for a 30-37', blue water capable craft. Probably around Port Angeles/Quilcene. Been looking at many-a-Catalina.

I'll be up in Forks, WA for the foreseeable future next month, so HMU if you want to go ship-hunting, or if you need crew.
 
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CouchPunx

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Its threads like this that fill me with existential joy....

Great advice, this has helped me as well, because I will be doing the same here in about a year.

I have done a bit of reasearch and am looking for a 30-37', blue water capable craft. Probably around Port Angeles/Quilcene. Been looking at many-a-Catalina.

I'll be up in Forks, WA for the foreseeable future next month, so HMU if you want to go ship-hunting, or if you need crew.
Whoah, big boat. What are your plans with it? You got any sailing experience?
Yeah it would be great to have a teammate for some of this shit, I'll dm you
 

Coywolf

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I am planning to liveaboard, and I am definitely not going to do that on a boat less than 30'.

I dont have experience, but I am planning on going out with some people and getting some experience on the sound before looking for anything to buy.
 

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