I've spent a bit of time since getting a little hooked on the idea of sailing (have always thought I'd like to, but thought it would bankrupt me ) since attending the open day in Howth Yacht Club this weekend.
After going out with a crew in a cruiser (to my shame I can't remember what it was) and having fun helping unfurl and furl the jib, and getting lots of information from the crew, I then had a chat with a few people there who when I enquired basically said they are always looking for crew, and being reliable and turning up on time etc is as important as having experience and I could do some courses.
So, high on the exhilaration of my day, I went off to the crew page, and discovered a chap with a white sail boat which does leisurely racing Wednesday and Saturdays looking for crew and welcoming beginners. Got in touch and now I'm heading over tomorrow to see how I get on. I'm slightly thrilled, but slightly apprehensive
I'm hoping it goes well, and have spent the past two days trawling through this forum for information so I guess I'm using this thread as a "am I potentially on track so far with my plan?"
First off experience.
Hopefully it goes well tomorrow night and I'm invited back, I think this chap likes to take on beginners, as I was 100% honest and said I'd literally no experience, but was interested in learning and working with a team.
He is lending me boots, wet gear and lifejacket tomorrow.
I've made a list of what kit I will need if in a few weeks I'm as hooked as I am now:
1. Wet gear (need trousers/salopettes and jacket)
2. Lifejacket (found it funny that cost wise, they are not expensive compared to gear)
3. Boots (can start with cheap enough ones, then get the likes of dubarrys)
4. Lots of layers
I'm hoping tomorrow goes well and I become part of the crew, but also planning on doing the Level one course by mid-June, and level 2 by mid-July so I get the basics and get to learn how to operate a dinghy, so will need a wetsuit after that if I want to rent a dinghy and head out?
Do I need a logbook to start recording my hours?
Am I taking the right approach here?
Is there anything else I should be considering?
First off, tomorrow is forecast to be mighty windy (this sometimes doesn't actually happen, but just be warned!) so you may not get out at all.
Second, try to beg borrow or steal (not literally, obviously) gear for the first while - the thrill of it all may pale when you're out in some worse conditions than last weekend.
But that's just a mild warning. You sound like you really enjoyed it, so the chances are the thrill won't wear off, but will only increase. That's certainly what happened me! I found sailing in my early 30's, and have been busy trying to make up for lost time ever since
If you're brand new to sailing, and are crewing for racing, then I'd definitely recommend a basic sailing course on as small a boat as you can manage - dinghies are best for learning the basics (mainsail in too tight on a cruiser, you'll go a tad slower - main in too tight on a dinghy and you're in the drink, it's a steep learning curve! But you surely learn what all those ropes are for fairly quick!).
Racing is no environment to learn what's actually going on and why. But it's a big buzz, and hugely enjoyable, and I hope it's all you wish for. It's taken me on many adventures, in Ireland and abroad (and I'm only sailing a bit over 10 years), and hopefully many more to come.
Best of luck with it, and keep coming with the questions if you have any
ETA - as regards a logbook, I don't think you actually NEED one, but it's a good idea to keep a log of what you do, especially if you start doing longer trips - I started off diligently, then as is always the way in these things let it slide - and now all my deliveries/offshore races/crusing trips have blended in together and I don't have the details/miles/years - much to my regret. If you want to go for Yachtmaster qualifications later, it's a good idea to have an actual record of your trips/experience, and I think a logbook is just a great idea in general. So get one and keep filling it in!
I've already been warned about the wind by the chap who owns/runs the boat, so that's a good start!
I've already checked out getting gear and prices and am comfortable enough getting the basics I need Thank you! The chap I am going out with has some and is happy to loan so for the short term I'm covered. Have a priority list of what to get, starting with a lifejacket
Definitely want to do the level 1 and 11 courses on a dinghy, firstly I think they look great fun, and second, if you are relying on skills and so low down in the water compared to a bigger boat, I reckon it's skill and instinct that will be needed
Got plenty of practice with flying ropes at the weekend when something went wrong and one was whipping around and had to be restrained
I really really really enjoyed it, out of the blue, I was asked to pitch in, and it was great fun. My partner commented it was a long time since I'd looked like I'd enjoyed an activity so much, I didn't mind the odd bit of shouting that went on between the "real" crue, the odd moments of disagreement nothing, it was pure fun
Well if it grabs you half as hard as it grabbed me, then you're in for a lifetime of fun and adventure!
There will always be a certain amount of shouting and tension, especially in close-quarters racing - but a good skipper/crew should never rely on abuse to get his/her crew to do their stuff!
Honestly, discovering sailing was the best thing I've ever done, it literally changed my life. It's the best fun I have (don't read too much into that!!!) and helps keep me sane.
Enjoy, and get as much different/varied experience as you can, it'll all stand to you.
(and if you're ever out Dun Laoghaire way, we're always looking for crew at weekends.....!)
Lol I'll get a bit of practice/experience/courses in first
Why is it that clubs are so short of crew?
I think people think (as you mentioned) that sailing is only for the rich and/or will bankrupt you
It certainly can, but doesn't necessarily have to (as we have proven!).
There's also a bit of an elitist air about clubs to non-members I suspect - whether intentionally or not - even the phrase "yacht club" is a bit snotty sounding! But they have memberships to suit all pockets, initially at least, and the boat owners are generally just desperate for any bodies at all to provide an extra pair of hands! (I'm talking racing here, as that's basically all I do.)
Makes sense, I did feel a bit Oliver Twist heading in this weekend, then had a lovely time out with members, and it does sound fierce snotty altogether to be in a yacht club
That said, I couldn't believe the range of membership options (Howth do an introductory member over three years, so they get you hooked I suspect) and they were very welcoming when they saw how enthused I was
Thanks again I went out a few times about 15 years ago in Dun Laoighire as a passenger.
Boots - an old pair of runners will probably do you fine for the first few months.
I've borrowed boots, but I actually find the runners easier for climbing around the deck.
Waterproofs - If you have a decent outdoor jacket already, use that. If you don't, and have no use for one in your daily life, then I'd suggest a E9 jacket from Dunnes for now with lots of layers underneath. I found it better than big jackets I borrowed last year. The jacket I ended up buying for the winter was actually a ski jacket on sale from TK Max. It's probably not as good as a musto one or whatever, but it's doing the job nicely. I still use the Dunnes one for warmer days. A good pair of Salopettes are probably the priority for now.
Layers - long sleeved t-shirts are your friends. I have a rake of them from penneys that got me through the first few months, but a proper set of long sleeved thermals and pants are better. I get use out of them for a lot of other stuff anyway.
Gloves - You'll need your own gloves, there's really no way around it. If you're passing Kildare Village, then the musto shop has a range of them for E11 each, otherwise just buy em from whatever shop is handy.
Hat - Yes, though you can get away without one in the summer, mostly. Even if you feel you need for one, any old hat will do for now. In winter, you'll want to upgrade a bit.
Good point about the gloves - I won't let anyone on our boat without them! They can be expensive, must remember that about Kildare Village next time I'm down there and stock up
And don't forget the suncream, even on cloudy evenings - I use F50+ on my face every time (La Roche Posay Fluide Extreme, tinted, it's brilliant).
As regards underlayers, Lidl/Aldi often have merino wool thermal layers which are fantastic value, I also have Icebreaker heavy merino thermal layers which are much more expensive. Keep an eye out in outdoor stores for sales, you'll pick up bargains along the way if you keep your eyes peeled.
Bring suncream... it'll even help against wind burn. If you do any bow work you'll learn all about this :[
Beaten to it ^
also some sun glasses would be good, but make sure they're tied to something like your life jacket.
No sailing tonight, but I met the crew, and after climbing into the borrowed gear which was great length wise, but way too big I felt like the michelin man, and decided that I should give it a think.
I was rather annoyed as I gave a decent outdoors jacket to charity about six months ago!
The salopettes were great, way too big in the waist, but I've long legs so they fit well there.
I kind of agree with you, I think for now I might focus on the salopettes.
On that point, I've a question, what is the difference between salopettes with the braces, and what are called musto technical sailing trousers which look like regular trousers?
Am I better off going for the ones with the braces?
I'm on holiday at the moment so am going to head out to a few shops tomorrow and try on different brands so I can shop online, ebay and the likes have a fairly decent selection of stuff there.
Weirdly I find runners very slippery, and I'd either buy a new pair of runners and score them with a knife or buy a pair of Gill boots?
Thanks for the tip on the jacket, and I'm regularly in Kildare Village, tonight we were ready to go and had done a few jobs and I'd gloves on and found them useful, then we got the no go message, so I might tip down tomorrow
I wore three or four layers of thin clothes going out tonight, just cheap penneys and gap stuff, and was plenty warm, especially with the sailing jacket on.
Great point about suncream, I'm so pale I glow in the dark and was only thinking that tonight! Having spent almost six months working in the Med last year part time, I'm well versed in my favourites
I would recommend getting salopettes with braces, in my experience braces just make stuff easier. I'm a dinghy sailor, but I wear salopettes when I'm on rescue, so I do use them a little bit. Musto salopettes with braces also go very high up your body, almost to your armpits, which is obviously better for keeping wind and water out.
As you're sailing in Howth, there's plenty of shops to pick up your gear in along the West pier. Dinghy Supplies on the Coast Road have plenty of Musto and Gill stuff too, you'd get all your stuff there.
Hope you enjoy, sailing really is the best sport/pastime out there.
I've checked them out tonight and think salopettes are best, even the oversized ones I had on felt very secure, but bulky, but that could be me being new to sailing.
Shockingly, despite spending one day of every bank holiday weekend in Howth the past four years, I have never noticed the sailing shops along the west pier!
So far, I have really enjoyed it, I work in IT and enjoy technical/engineering type discussions, and am enjoying that end of boats/sailing at least
I'm also very appreciative of how welcoming people are and how they make an effort to get people into their sport.
Going by the posts it's looks like Howth Yacht club put on a great day that is paying off, it's fantastic to see new people seeing what Irish waters have to offer in the knowing that you don't have to be a boat owner or loaded with money to enjoy it.
Well done HYC and those that offered up their boats, looks like you may have changed the lives of a few people for the better.