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Old 03-11-2014, 12:05   #31
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Re: Help with long-term training and experience plan

Another tack might be to take a Captains License prep course or some of the CG Auxillary courses. You will learn navigation and more important the rules of the road.
As for posting on a 12 pack go with the better beers, Bud would most likely get you on a Bayliner!

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Old 03-11-2014, 12:15   #32
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Re: Help with long-term training and experience plan

Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
BB, SH's advice is excellent. I only want to add one small thing. If you're going prospecting for a ride, I'd suggest you take something to eat, as well as water for yourself, just because you won't know for sure what is going to be provided. Plan on being out all day, so provide your own sunscreen as well. As you get more known, you'll be arranging for next week's race this week, and so on, so you'll be able to ask what they'd like you to bring. Some skippers are extremely weight conscious, so travel light.


P.S. I got my start in sailing at low level racing, back in the late 70's.
I will second that! Ann always adds such good tips.

I learned quickly that a race could take hours and could burn a LOT of calories (especially if one is using one's muscles to grind wenches, haul on lines, change headsails etc.). And, hours on the water in the sun and 20 knot wind would always lead to "windburn" faces and lips. Sunscreen and lip balm are good to use.

Keeping a small water bottle and some small energy snacks in ones pocket is a very good idea. I was in a cold water environment, so always wearing my foulie top/jacket. In one pocket I had a small water bottle and an energy bar to gobble when needed. Just make sure you avoid anything with crumbs or that will fall to pieces if crushed. Crumbs and chocolate smears on a boat are unappreciated.

Ahoy All Sailors! Need experienced crew for a passage or delivery in Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean, Med, PNW, ICW, coastal or across an ocean anytime in 2018? I am available on 24hr notice. See my CF Profile "About Me" page for details. Happy to lend a hand!
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:17   #33
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Re: Help with long-term training and experience plan

Ha,ha,ha, Bayliner my butt, that panther piss could get get you ejected from our dock, the hard way. While your swimming ashore you might want to drink some ocean water, you will find It tastes far better than the panther piss!
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:18   #34
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Re: Help with long-term training and experience plan

Learning how to sail is one thing. Learning how to own a sailboat is quite another. You can learn how to sail on a boat that you own. You can't learn how to own a boat by crewing.

If you want to charter sailboats, simply get whatever certification is minimally acceptable, or charter with somebody who has done so already. You don't need to know much to have safe and fabulous chartering experiences. I know from personal experience.

I'll suggest that you need to sail a lot to assimilate what you learn in the classes. Your classes are too close together and you have no plan to get sufficient tiller time between them. Two hours away from the sailing club with occasional sailing privileges is too far away. Apply the money you intend on spending for the club and lessons on a small boat and sail in a lake that is an hour or less from your house. You mentioned a couple of times that boat ownership is out of the question. I'll further suggest that you need to make it happen if you want to learn a lot, especially if you want to learn if owning a big boat is something you want to do.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:56   #35
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Re: Help with long-term training and experience plan

Hi all, thank you again for the advice. I'm digesting all of the comments and updating my plan accordingly. As of now, my plan involves:

1. Do week-long liveaboard course (ASA 101,103,104) in March

2. Spend the Spring, Summer and Fall getting as much sailing miles as possible via:
-- Sailing club with sailing privileges (I found one 1 hour away in Lake St Clair MI!)
-- Seeking crewing opportunities on deliveries/passages etc.
-- Potentially joining the local beer can races

3. Do week-long liveaboard advance coastal Nav course (ASA 106, 105) in December

4. Get more experience in 2016 charting

5. Eventually buy a boat and continue to learn till I'm too old and can't sail any more.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-11-2014, 14:27   #36
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Re: Help with long-term training and experience plan

Originally Posted by BlueBuddha View Post
Thanks all. Many have suggested joining the beer can races in my area. I found one local sailing school that also has beer can races on Fridays but I have not been able to find any info about costs/fees on any of the regional races. This may be a stupid question but on average how much does it cost to get on a race boat at local beer can races? It sounds from some of your descriptions that it's free "you just show up and get on a boat" but this sounds too good to be true? Any thoughts?
For beer can races I usually pay my crew in beer. 2-3 per crew, but know your own limits... For major regattas I used to get paid quite a lot to be crew. Travel cost plus hotel rooms, plus beer...

As mentioned above it is critical to be early. Most skippers will let you know what time 'boat call' is, which can very depending on the boat. Some boats it will only be a few minutes before they need to leave the dock, others will be hours before depending on the boat and how long it takes to get set up. Also plan to stick around to help pack the boat away afterwords.

Nothing in my experience will piss off an owner more than crew who show up late (without a good reason) or leave before the boat is put to bed. At least until you get to professional boats (very very few in the US) everyone is expected to help with the scut work.

- If animals weren't meant to be eaten then they wouldn't be made of food.
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Old 05-01-2015, 18:55   #37
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Re: Help with long-term training and experience plan

I am a professional mariner with many years of experience both power and sail. A good friend of mine gave me some great advice a while ago, and it really helped me to generally understand things. It was that as your sailing career progresses, you need to keep 3 things progressing at the same rate; your confidence, your experience, and your training. This might seem obvious, but it really helped me, and I've been working on boats for a while. So while a good training plan/schedule is good, constantly and honestly assess these things. It is when one gets out of check, and that can be falling behind or jumping ahead, that bad things happen.
Sailing is fundamentally the same no matter how big the boat, assuming the same sail plan. The only things that change are how much power you are dealing with, what that power can do as you progress to bigger boats (what may capsize a dinghy may de-mast a 100 footer, and what may give you rope burn may break your arm or throw you overboard).
Spend lots of time with small boats, learn how to sail them balanced and efficiently. Preferably, look for one with a tunable rig, a jib, and a spinnaker.
STUDY THE WEATHER. A good book is Weather Predicting Simplified.
I wish you many happy years of sailing.
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Old 06-01-2015, 05:13   #38
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Re: Help with long-term training and experience plan

Thanks fairweather1 for the comments.

I thought I'd take this time to update this thread with my progress. I was in Punta Cana this past December and had a chance to play a lot on a hobbie cat :-)! I know, I know, but it was my first real sailing experience (as real as a hobbie cat can be). Not enough wind to get air, but at least I got to sail for hours by myself with a big smile on my face!

A few updates since the last time I discussed my training/experience plan.

1. SAILING CLUB: I found we have a sailing club 20min away in an inland lake (southern Michigan). They have mostly JY-15s, Vanguard 15, Albacores, and 470s. They have an active racing program and I have a friend who races there weekly. As soon as the ice melts, we'll be there every week learning to trim and read the wind as much as we can :-)

2. RACING: My friend also owns a 20ish racing boat in Lake Saint Claire and races every weekend. He invited us to join his crew and to come out on the boat on the weekends. My wife is very competitive so the idea of racing will make her motivated to be on the lake every week. He is out every time the weather is nice (and sometimes when it's not so nice), so this will give me tons of informal sailing hours in a bigger boat.

3. CRUISING CREWING: I have online-met several people (some here in CF) who are currently cruising and have invited us to spend time in their boat during the spring/summer in the Caribbean or East Coast. We will likely take some offers and spend at least a week crewing for someone doing a short passage.

4. FORMAL TRAINING: The formal training plan continues as I first proposed it: Scheduled to fly to florida in March for the ASA 101-103, 104, & 114 course. I will then be doing ASA 105/106 in the fall/late summer. Will likely do the offshore passage course in 2016.

5. CHARTING: We will do our first charter in the BVIs in December likely on a FP Helia, which is currently our target purchase boat (although we know this may change as we test other boats).

I'll let you know of my experience with the Florida trip and likely post some pics when I come back in March. Thanks! BB.
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Old 28-02-2015, 09:13   #39
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Re: Help with long-term training and experience plan

So today is the day! Step one of a very very long journey to being a competent skipper starts today as I begin the weeklong ASA course. For those of you on Facebook, I will be posting updates to

Thanks all for all the previous feedback about my training plans. Cheers, BB.

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