The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.


sailing on the South River in Anapolis MD

We're already looking forward to our next sailing lesson.

Last week we rented a 33 foot sailboat with an instructor to show us the ropes.

It didn't go quite as planned.

We both recorded our experiences over at

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I normally don't push websites but check out: Its my folks. They are both certified instructors and have week long charters for under $2000 everything included. Think of all the experience you could get in a week aboard.

Sailing is one of the best experiences one can have. Love it.

Comment by Erich Sun Oct 24 00:18:47 2010

When I learned sailing it was on an inland lake (Heegermeer, one of the Frisian Lakes) in a relatively small open boat called a Valk (falcon).

This was a much more pleasant experience because this boat is very forgiving and practically unsinkable due to floatation chambers built into it. It is also very nimble.

On a relatively shallow lake you can concentrate on learning boat and sail handling first before dealing with big waves and large shipping. If the weather goes bad, it doesn't take long to get back to shore.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Oct 24 04:31:22 2010

Roland --- We went out on the bay because we were going to a wedding and figured we could kill two birds with one stone. But our other option --- and given your experience, probably the smarter one to aim for now --- is to learn on one of the nearby TVA lakes. Now that you mention it, the lake probably has a lot less potential for dangerous conditions and high winds and more chance for serious learning!

Erich --- I can't believe your parents are certified instructors!!! Their website looks awesome! I wish they weren't all the way in Florida, but I'm definitely going to bookmark that page. Maybe once we learn some of the basics locally, we'll aim for that as our big adventure next year.

Comment by anna Sun Oct 24 08:40:49 2010

What the situation is in the US I don't know, but in Europe you need an International Certificate of Competence for inland waters for ships longer than 15 meters (≈ 49 ft) or if they can reach a speed of more than 20 km/hour (≈ 11 knots). If you want to go out to sea (coastal waters), you additionally need to be a licensed maritime radio operator and you need to pass a navigation course. For sailing on lakes in a small open boat no license is necessary, but you should at least study the meaning of buoy- and channel markers as well as traffic rules.

Be very wary of commercial shipping when you go out into the rivers or bays. Realize that those boats are not very nimble; they may literally need miles to stop and usually have to stay in the channels that are deep enough for them. You on a sailing boat need to avoid them, because they can't avoid you (if they've even seen you).

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Oct 24 12:31:55 2010

We've been reading a sailing book with a lot of those rules in it. With small boats, I'm pretty sure there's no certification in the U.S. On the other hand, people who rent out sailboats won't rent to you without a captain unless you can prove you know what you're doing, which amounts to about the same thing.

Technically, sailboats usually have the right of way, but we plan to give everything a wide berth....

Comment by anna Sun Oct 24 18:36:38 2010

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