What does it mean to own a sailboat?
June 12, 2007 10:11 AM   Subscribe

My wife bought me a sailboat! Now what?

I've sailed for years, but only other other people's boats. I know all about what happens once the thing's actually rigged and in the water, but I'm at a loss as to how I should store, rig, and maintain the thing. How do I learn how to be a good boat owner?

The boat's a Holder 14 circa 1985 or so (pic). I'm pretty familiar (over 10 years of summer camp :) sailing boats of this type, but they've usually been rigged and already floating. When I tried to get mine rigged I failed miserably -- couldn't even figure out how to get the mast up. And I'm completely at a loss as to what sort of maintenance/upkeep I'm looking at here.

Compounding the problem, I'm sure that I'm missing some parts -- at least the forestay and jib sheet -- and I don't know enough about this particular model to know what else I might be missing.

I'm looking for resources -- books, websites, forums, mail-order/online catalogs -- that can teach me everything there is to know about a boat *besides* how to sail it.
posted by jacobian to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A quick google search brings up this site full of Holder 14 info. The downloads section has the Holder 14 manual, which has rigging info. They link here for replacement parts.
posted by samw at 10:36 AM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: Do something nice for your wife.
posted by special-k at 10:39 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

As far as storage, it should be fine covered on its trailer, with drain plugs out. (One winter at my sailing club, someone forgot to pull the plugs on a boat they used. It rained a lot, as it does here, and the hull filled with water. It got so heavy that the dolly it was on broke. When the hull landed, the dolly punched a big hole in the side.) Store the sails out of the sun. Maintenance for a boat like that is mostly a matter of replacing parts that look like they're wearing out, and fixing things when they break.
posted by samw at 10:44 AM on June 12, 2007

If you have a boat, you need a copy of Chapman's Piloting.
posted by nicwolff at 11:16 AM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: I've sailed intermittently for 35 years, but this year we finally bought a sailboat (Sandpiper 565) a trailerable 19 ft boat that we can sleep on.

For me, alot of the fun is all the tweaking and upgrading, cos I'm wired that way. But if you're not, there's still lots of options:
- search info on the Web, as another poster has already done for you
- also search online for owner's groups and forums; they tend to be friendly and helpful, most of the typical questions have already been asked so you can just search, and you can of course always pose a question.
- sailing dinghies usually have alot in common, so read other manufacturers' dinghy forums as well.
- buy/borrow a good sailing book. Alot of people recommended "Your First Sailboat" to me. There are many more books...
- if possible, join a sailing club. You will invariably find people who will he helpful with their advice and their time. A club also gives you a supportive community, and it will greatly increase the opportunities to go sailing.
posted by Artful Codger at 11:16 AM on June 12, 2007

nicwolff, we only direct newbies to Chapman's Piloting & Seamanship if we don't like them and want to scare them off. ;)

Seriously it's a great book, but I would put it on the list of books to get in the 3rd year or later when you've decided that sailing is really your thing and you want to own the bible.

It is also a great thing to put on your Christmas list.
posted by Artful Codger at 11:22 AM on June 12, 2007

boaters are naturally gregarious, congenial and helpful in my experience, call up some of those people you've sailed with in the past and have them come over for a few beers and a once over of the rigging and items you do/do not have....

and most sailors love to tag along on another boat, even a smaller one, so i'm sure someone would be happy to accompany you to the lake

if you don't have anyone around that you know then as suggested earlier join a club or just hang out around the boat launch and it shouldn't take long to find some help...or use craigslist or other web sites or forums in your area that might be of assistance

and like most things, don't feel too bad about getting mixed up, even little sailboats can be aggravatingly annoying to rig sometimes, just keep at it!

btw, where abouts are you?
posted by Salvatorparadise at 11:42 AM on June 12, 2007

Response by poster: @samw: I've got that manual, but the parts link is dead. I think I'm really looking for the Dover Saddlery of sailing.

@Salvatorparadise: Lawrence, KS. There are indeed a few clubs around here; I should look into those...
posted by jacobian at 11:49 AM on June 12, 2007

Ah, so it is. If you go to this page on Hobie's website, and scroll down to the bottom. There is a section for the Holder 14. The diagrams linked on the last line of the Holder section show part numbers for all the parts of the boat. Just find the part you're missing, and order that part number from Hobie.

Of course, you probably don't need manufacturer original parts. If you have someplace like Fisheries Supply near you, you could probably find suitable parts there.
posted by samw at 12:24 PM on June 12, 2007

We just donated our '84 27' Starwind b/c of what a giant, sinkhole of money it was. But then, we had to keep it in a slip. And also, a boat is a hole in the water you throw money into. Never again, I say, as I try to slowly convince my husband that a Hobie Cat is just what this family needs to survive.

I was going to say go into your local marine supply store (there's a West Marine close to me, but if you are in Lawrence, I don't know that you're going to find anything until you drive up to the damn Lake of the Ozarks, pesky landlocked Midwest) and talk to some people. Not only will it be a good resource by talking to the guy behind the counter, but also it's a good way to meet other sailors who might have tips, or can help you out. There's no substitute for someone else actually showing you how to do the rigging, and you can find that by talking to sailors and having them come out.
posted by mckenney at 12:32 PM on June 12, 2007

You'll figure the rigging out soon with no problem. Let me recommend in addition to the advice above is to add a small outboard motor for those tight maneuvering tasks, like getting on and off the trailer.
posted by toastchee at 12:42 PM on June 12, 2007

Go to a marina or chandlery and see if anyone teaches sailing. Get that person to help you check out the boat for safety. Or find out if anybody teaches the Coast Guard approved water & boat safety course, maybe through Adult Ed. Maybe you can get a few sailing lessons to build confidence. I just saw a news report of a kayaking mishap. Sailing is way fun, but water safety is non-trivial.

Those instructions are good; you'll figure it out. Toastchee is right; an electric trolling motor is fantastic when the wind dies, not uncommon on a lake.
posted by theora55 at 1:37 PM on June 12, 2007

I'm a sailing instructor in Canada.

If you can, get in touch with your old sailing friends and have them check it out with you - even if they're not completely sure of the rigging, they're likely to know someone who is.

Find a local sailing club! We tend to be a friendly bunch, and I'm sure you'll be able to meet lots of interested people. If you know any local sailors already, they might be able to recommend a club -- otherwise, look more towards "sailing" clubs, as opposed to marinas and for-profit power-boating type organizations (I realise you might not have much choice though!)

Don't bother buying Chapman's, it's completely completely inappropriate for a new sailor, especially one sailing a dinghy like that!
A book or two is a great idea though. The Nautical Mind is a great sailing bookstore. Their Seamanship section looks like it has the sort of books you might be most interested in.

Have fun! If you have a specific rigging question, my email's in my profile and I'm happy to try to answer it.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 7:46 PM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: It means that you have died and gone to heaven.
It means that you will no longer have any discretionary money.
It means that you will need more water.

US Sailing
is the NCAA of sailing -- and they have affiliates near you. My kids take sailing lessons at the US Sailing Centers every year and they are fantastic.

I could not find a yacht club near you, but sailing yacht clubs are usually pretty laid back, very far from the snooty image people have of yacht clubs -- if you can find a yacht club, check it out. (For example, here's mine) They often have lessons, places to store your boat right on the water, and a members' bar full of jovial boat people who are overjoyed to talk boat by the hour. And of course, they have races.

You want to race. You want to race because, if anything is worth doing, it is worth doing really fast and demonstrably better than somebody else. Sailing is no exception to this. Check out the forums at Sailing Anarchy for a glimpse of the extreme jollies that will be yours.

posted by Methylviolet at 8:27 PM on June 12, 2007

I've owned a 14.2 Catalina Capri for a good 14 years and I don't think I've ever spent a dime on it. At the beginning of the season I take the tarp off the boat and roll the trailer up to my cottage's deck. I hose the boat down and scour the hull with SOS pads (or whatever is around). I oil the small amount of teak trim with 4 or 5 layers of teak oil out of the same can that I've had for 14 years. I back the boat into the water, step the mast, paddle the 40 yards over to the bouy, and hook it up. If I'm feeling paternal I might cover the boat with it's canvas cover.

At the end of the season I de-step the mast, take all the non-metal hardware rigging off, and stow in my cottage. I usually take this time to make sure screws are tight, etc, but not with a very detailed eye.

I've never had a single problem and it's been nothing but great fun.
posted by mbatch at 10:19 AM on June 13, 2007

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