Getting Ready to Go Cruising-What to Learn

Hello–My husband has gone off the “deep” end. He wants to sell everything we own and buy a 30-40′ sailboat and cruise the Pacific coast. I’m all for it, but I need to figure out how to prepare for an undertaking like this! Neither of us have ever sailed before, however, my husband is taking a 4-day ASA certification class in Seward, Alaska this summer and he has been commercial fishing in Alaska (Prince William Sound & Cook Inlet) for years. Please let me know of a book or a person who has gone from landlubber to sailor in a short period of time so I can start to figure out exactly what kinds of preparations we need to be making. The sooner the better–he wants to leave THIS summer! Thank you–Erin

Hi Erin: A tall order in such a short time. First, the best thing you and your husband can do to learn about sailing is to start out in a small centerboard dinghy or a small keelboat. The dinghy is better, but given the time of year and temperatures if you capsize, the keel boat might be safer. The small boat compresses the learning experience.

As for what to read, as a novice, I would start with John Rousmaniere’s Annapolis Book of Seamanship. Much of the information in there will be known already to your husband, but it will provide a basis for you to go forward. Beyond this, you might want to look at some of our books. I’d start with the newest, Practical Seamanship–which will get you and your husband into a range of information not covered in other texts on seamanship.

Good Luck with your plans!–Steve Dashew

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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