Tom’s Tips About Checking Out Sailing

By Tom Neale, 8/7/2008

1. Don’t try to start out with a high performance boat unless you know that’s what you want. They’re usually more likely to scare the uninitiated (such as being more “tippy” and requiring more attention at the tiller or helm). Look for something stable.

2. Start with something designed to be easy, with minimum of time and fuss in getting ready to go and actually sailing it. If you’re accustomed to power boating and try out a little sailboat that requires a half hour or more of fussing with getting sails ready, you probably won’t like it.

3. Keep it simple. You’re out to have fun, not to be a clipper ship captain. There are light fiberglass boats available that have one sail, minimum lines, are relatively stable, and that would be exceptionally difficult to sink.

4. Forget exterior wood unless you’re really into it. An all fiberglass small boat means less maintenance and more fun.

5. Look into sailing schools, timeshares, and chartering for flexible options to learn about sailing, without having to buy a boat.

6. Attend sailboat shows. Some offer demonstration sails.

7. If you (or your significant other) don’t like heeling, check out sailing catamarans. These offer more space and speed than monohulls, without the feeling of tipping over.

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