“What did you do last weekend?”
“We sailed over to Smuggler’s Cove and anchored for the night. We cooked a nice dinner, went for a sunset walk, then sailed home the next morning.”
“Wow, really? I wish I could do that. I’ve always wanted to learn to sail.”
“Great! Why don’t you?”
“I’m not rich and it looks so complicated!”
I’ve had slightly less corny sounding variations of this conversation over and over again. I meet so many people who want to learn to sail but think that it’s too difficult or too expensive. It’s neither.
You can learn the basic skills in a handful of weekends. You can join a club to get access to a boat or buy a small used boat for a few thousand dollars.
In no time, you can be at the wheel or tiller of a sailboat, slicing quietly through the water powered only by the wind in your sails.
The thing that I absolutely love about sailing is that you can learn enough to safely get out for a weekend sail on your own boat in just a season, but you can spend a lifetime refining your skills and expanding the conditions you can safely sail in. You can make it as challenging as you want it to be.
Other than introductory lessons as a kid, I’ve only been sailing for eight years. In that time I’ve seen many facets of this diverse sport. I’ve:
- Drifted lazily in the summer sun under a colourful spinnaker while eating cheese and crackers with friends,
- Raced a 38′ boat overnight against dozens of others in heavy conditions,
- Played on the deck with my infant son at anchor in a fjord,
- Stood night watch alone on a 32′ sailboat in a storm 100 miles off the Oregon coast, and
- Shot through the water at 27 knots on a 60′ racing boat, 300 miles North of Bermuda.
Sail Mentor’s mission is to provide the information, motivation, and community to bring you from a complete novice to being comfortable sailing your own boat on multi-day coastal trips.
Whether you have never stepped foot on a sailboat, are contemplating buying your first boat, or already have a boat and want to become more confident with maintenance or expanding to more challenging cruising grounds, Sail Mentor is here to help you on your journey.
I had the great fortune to grow up in the Pacific Northwest in a sailing town (Sidney, BC). I’ve loved the idea of sailing for as long as I remember, but I finally got serious about learning to sail in my early thirties. I spent a week with friends sailing in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand and I was hooked.
Within months, my girlfriend (now wife) and I had spent $1500 to buy a share of a 40 year old, Haida 26 sailboat and we spent every minute we could on her. We made a lot of mistakes, but we also had a lot of amazing adventures together. We learned a lot about sailing, ourselves, and each other in the process.
I live in Vancouver with my wife and infant son. I’ve now earned my Offshore Skipper certificate and we’ve upgraded to a 1981 Niagara 35 which lets us escape the city for a lazy sunset sail or a multi-day wilderness adventure. In fact, it’s enough boat to take us around the world if we choose.
We love to bring friends out sailing with us, and it’s always fun to see some of those guests get bitten by the sailing bug and embark on their own journey. A few of those friends now have their own boats and one has taken a year off to cruise the Caribbean with his fiance.
I love to teach, and to mentor other sailors. I sincerely hope that you find SailMentor.com helpful. I love to hear from readers, so please leave a comment or email me if there’s anything I can do to help you on your own journey to becoming the confident skipper of your own sailboat.
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