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Old 20-12-2010, 13:32   #1
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Trawler Seamanship Training

I'm working up to the inital stages of trying to buy a 40' trawler type yacht. Of course as this is the largest boat I'll have ever sailed, I figure I need some training. (It really seems obvious when I say it that way.)

Would you take the ASA's sailing course, or the USPS's course? The ASA is a bit closer to my house. I'm not sure where to go for anything more advanced from USPS than "American's Boating Course".

If you would take the USPS courses, which ones?

Thanks!
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Old 20-12-2010, 13:41   #2
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I'd stick with the power squadron's stuff. They have a "boat handling under power" and "rules of the road" course; those would be my vote.
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Old 20-12-2010, 13:46   #3
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Taking some of these courses will help but what you really need is some training once you have the boat. Start with the courses, buy the boat and get a good, recommended, training Captain in your area to do some on the water training with you on your boat until you feel comfortable. Chuck
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Old 20-12-2010, 13:51   #4
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Are you in the Houston area or Corpus? I know several professionals in the houston area that do just the type of hands on training that you might need.
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Old 20-12-2010, 13:56   #5
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I'm not really looking for class room instruction.

At one point in my life I has a bunch of class room instruction, as well as quite a bit of dingy sailing through the Scouting orgnization. If I did any classroom work it would only be to get the paperwork to sign off for some insurance requirements, or a refreasher.

What I feel I lack is the ability to take a 40' boat and make it do what the book says. I'm looking for something more "on the water". Sort of a practical practice.

Btw, I'm in the Corpus Christi area. It's a bit of a drive to Houston!
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Old 20-12-2010, 13:58   #6
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I'll check around and see if anyone know of a "training captain" in the Corpus area.
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:14   #7
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ask your surveyor - Many of them will come on your boat after the purchase and give personal help. Not too expensive.
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:26   #8
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I too will be looking to buy a full displacement trawler in the next year or two and have a related question. When I've inquired about insurance, I've been told insurers like to see experience in a similar sized boat (no more than 10 feet smaller). For insurance purposes, does it do any good to take to take ASA or similar courses and if hands-on experience is really required, how's the best way to go about getting it? I have a lifetime of experience on the water but only up to 27' sail.
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Old 20-12-2010, 15:25   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterwayguy View Post
Taking some of these courses will help but what you really need is some training once you have the boat. Start with the courses, buy the boat and get a good, recommended, training Captain in your area to do some on the water training with you on your boat until you feel comfortable. Chuck
+1

Training with your own boat is the best. Docking, mooring rings, anchoring, maneuvering in tight spaces with your own vessel in the company of an experienced teacher really helps.
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Old 20-12-2010, 18:04   #10
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Chapmans School of Seamanship in Fla offers a recreational boating course. They combine boathandling(single screws, twin screws, outboard whatever matches your boat) and classroom study(safety, rules of the road, navigation, radar,and basic mechanical). Pass the test at the end of the course and get a discount on your insurance.
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Old 20-12-2010, 18:52   #11
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As a member of both the USPS and Coast Guard Aux, I think that both schools of thought here are correct. The USPS for example now has an extensive set of classes in Seamenship, Piloting, Advanced Piloting as well as different levels of International Operator Certification. Check out the USPS Website. They have spent millions creating new courses. This type of training helps when things don't go as planned and you can't afford trial and error to save your vessel and crew.

For example, what do you do when all your electronics fail or you are in fog or high seas? How do you know and respect the limits of your skills?

On the other hand, having a captain train you in the practical aspects of boat handling is also critical to safe boat control. For example, some types of Windless can be used pull a boat safely to a dock in high winds. Can you keep a boat on station and rotate it 350 degrees maintaining position, while taking wind a current into account? Can you backup a twin screw vessel without touching the wheel and back it into a sleep?

My point is building percision boat handeling skills while building a wide range of knowledge and backing it with hard earned experience, makes for a holistic approach to building Seamenship Skills.
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Old 20-12-2010, 20:00   #12
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I am also a USPS member and feel the OP could benefit greatly from ABC 3. Then find someone from that squadron to help with hands on handling skills. Post # 8 with a lifetime of experience may only need to ask someone from a local squadron for handling skills.
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Old 25-12-2010, 19:30   #13
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We're right smack in the middle of what the OP is asking about. At the end of November we purchased Gray Hawk, a 43 Defever. Prior to that the largest boat either of us had operated was a Malibu Response LX (maybe 21 feet). So we are well aware of how little we know.

I've been working away at the home study version of the Canadian Power Squadron course because there aren't a whole lot of squadrons on the Canadian prairies. Getting insurance was a challenge but our broker came through for us. The first carrier he approached was happy to quote us prior to the sale, in full knowledge of our lack of experience. When it came time to bind the contract though they suddenly announced that they wouldn't write anything until we had two years of experience. So make sure you know up front that you actually can get insurance. In our case the broker found another carrier who was roughly the same price and didn't seem to care about our experience level. I've talked to other brokers and the real risk that they are insuring against now is environmental cleanup so I'm not sure that boating experience is the only determinant of risk any more but it wouldn't be the first time that underwriters have been behind the curve.

We are currently onboard Gray Hawk in Elliott Bay Marina in Seattle. We've got a long to-do list but when that is completed we intend to move her to Victoria. To do that we have hired a captain who will accompany us on the move. We'll turn that into at least a three day training exercise. We'll also go out a bit locally ahead of the trip, mainly because I want to check out the mechanical systems prior to leaving on a 100+ knot voyage.
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Old 25-12-2010, 20:11   #14
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I did a 5 day course in a 36 Grand Banks at Southwest Florida Yacht in Ft Myers in 1999. I found it to be very useful, two days training in Nav, maneuvering, and Maintenance around the marina and 3 days mini cruise In Sanibel/ Pine Island Sound area to put it all in practice.
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Old 25-12-2010, 20:21   #15
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Do the land school and then hire an instructor for a day or two who knows boat handling well.
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