Michael shares details about his sailing experiences and offers some essential tips for aspiring sailors:

1. How did you first get into sailing?

After graduating college, I was offered a job in Rhode Island and moved here from Pennsylvania having never spent any real time near the ocean. After my arrival, I became obsessed with sailing and bought a 1960 Pearson Triton 6 months later. I taught myself to sail via books and YouTube, and the rest is history.

2. Have you had any disaster scenarios, failures, or simple problems in your sailing career that have given you a valuable lesson as a result?

As the saying goes for boats “Everything is broken, you just don’t know it yet”.

If you spend any real time on boats, and especially on older boats, eventually things are going to break. The list of failures I’ve encountered on my sailing trips is countless, including broken rudders, broken booms, electrical issues, and even a broken freezer containing the majority of the food onboard with 5 days of offshore sailing left on the passage.

The biggest takeaways that I can share from these lessons include having a thorough understanding of how everything works on a boat and staying calm enough to figure out a solution to whatever failure or issue you are having.

3. If there’s one thing you can tell new sailors when they are just introduced to the sport, what would you tell them?

Sail on as many boats as possible with as many different people as possible. Learn everything you can about the system and equipment onboard. And finally, if and when you decide to buy a boat, pay for a survey.

4. What advice would you tell a new sailor to ignore? What are bad recommendations you hear about sailing?

Take advice from forums, and especially Facebook sailing groups, with a grain of salt. The loudest voices tend to be the least knowledgeable and most argumentative.

5. Who most influenced your life when it comes to sailing?

A good friend of mine from college did a Semester at Sea Program, and the experiences he shared were very influential in my initial attraction to learning to sail. His support definitely had a strong influence on my decision to buy my first boat, and I am very grateful for that friendship that launched not only a lifestyle but a business.

6. Outside of sailing, what is something that you love to do; something that makes you feel alive?

Any activity in the woods or on the water. But specifically, I love mountain biking, spearfishing, disc golf, and skiing.

I also love the process of turning something that is old and past its prime into something beautiful (namely boat restoration and refit projects).

About Michael Garretson

Michael is the President of Sea & Land Yacht Works, a Marine Service Business located in Wakefield, RI. Michael has a background in Mechanical Engineering and is an ABYC Master Technician with certifications in Marine Electrical, Marine Systems, and Marine Standards. He also has advanced certifications for NMEA2000 and MEI, and is additionally certified for B&G H5000. Michael is currently refitting a Bristol 38.8, and has extensive cruising and racing experience both inshore and offshore.

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