Most helpful positive review
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Great book for beginning sailors
on April 28, 2008
This is a great book; well-written and informative, and I recommend it highly.
Here is my "how I learned to sail" story:
I accidentally ended up in possession of an O'Day Sprite (10 foot dinghy), but knew nothing about sailing. I put it at my buddy's house; he had a place on a lake, and he promised to teach me how to sail. One day, he walked in, tossed me a bag of parts, and said "Go rig your boat!" He came down with me and taught me equipment terminology, and showed me how to rig the mast. We ended up replacing the mast stays, but everything else was okay.
We got it rigged and got the sails on. He looked at the sails, then looked at the boat; then he said, "That's an awful lot of sail for that boat." He took it out for a quick spin to make sure everything was working, then he put me in the boat and had me try to sail it, while he shadowed me in the Whaler, shouting instructions. The one thing I learned that day was that accidental jibes can cause death rolls (I didn't actually "learn" it until later, but that's what happened). We ended up towing the Sprite back in with the Whaler, and that ended my first lesson.
I went out and bought "Sailing for Dummies", spent a week reading and re-reading it from cover to cover, went back to the lake, and successfully sailed the boat for hours. I never did capsize it again, although I've had it darn near horizontal in a strong breeze. My friend likes to tell people he taught me how to sail; I always correct him and say he taught me how to capsize, which was just as valuable a lesson.
I spent several summers sailing both the Sprite and and my buddy's Hunter 170, then "graduated" to keelboats. He kept telling me that that the Sprite was the hardest boat I'd ever sail; bigger boats are easier.
I got a combination membership/keelboat class at a local sailing club in Boston, learning how to dodge the freighters coming in and out of the harbor, navigation, mooring, anchoring, etc; all the stuff that has less to do with the act of sailing, but necessary for sailing out in the real world. From time to time, I'd go back to "Sailing for Dummies" to brush up on items I hadn't needed prior to that point. I ended up taking additional classes and got a number of certifications.
These days, I'm back to lake sailing. My buddy ended up giving that Hunter 170 to my (then new) wife and I as a wedding present. I've been teaching her and my kids how to sail on the smaller lakes in southern NH. I fabricated a transom for the boat in order to sail it on Lake Massebesic, which is much closer to home than Beaver Lake or Onway. Most weekends during the summer, you can find me out on the lake, goofing around, teaching family and friends to sail, or unofficially racing with the MYC fleet.