Here's my 2cents.
1) Take a 1week dinghy
2) Buy 2 used lasers, one for each of you. Take them sailing every other weekend for a year, 3-4hr at a time. That's 3-4hr on the water
, excluding including rigging
and de-rigging. Practice man-overboard drills every time. Practice capsizing. Sailing to a destination
and back. Learn the lingo.
3) At about 9mo, while still sailing the lasers, start looking for a cuddy cabin
boat that is trailer-able. In the US I would recommend a Cal20, Holder20 or Catalina22 depending on the vehicle you have to tow with.
CAL 20 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
HOLDER 20 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
CATALINA 22 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
If you are in OZ then this will give you an idea what to look for there, I don't know what would be readily available there so I can't give specific recommendations. The goal is to get something small, cheap
and easily sailed with a cuddy cabin
so you can overnight. If you don't have a car that can pull the boat you will need to find a way to keep it in the water
. Sail this boat every other weekend for 4-8hr and once a month make that an overnight trip. Practice navigating without the GPS
, reefing, docking
and maneuvering under power, motor maintenance
, man-overboard, and using a jib
and downwind sails
. Keep practicing your man overboard
drills. Work up to longer 1-2week trips in coastal waters.
The lasers can be sold when you buy the cuddy or you can hold onto them and sail them regularly for the sailing practice. If the cuddy cabin boat is kept in the water, I would get rid of the lasers and focus there because it will be easy to go for a sail. If the cuddy is on a trailer sailing will be more of a production and having something to go for a quick spin is a good idea. The laser was chosen because there are a LOT of them, they are well supported by the manufacturer and resale is good.
4) At the point you have become comfortable enough with the boat to start doing overnight trips, say after a month or 2 of ownership
, consider taking a navigation
class. Also maybe coast sailing class.
After about a year of practicing on the Cuddy Cabin boat then I would expect you to be at the point of figuring out the next step for yourselves. Here the big branches in the decision tree are:
A) Take an offshore
class such as the Mahina Tiara.
B) Buy a coastal boat, say 25-30' long, and start doing longer 1-2 week long trips along the coast with overnight passages thrown in.
C) Buy your RTW boat and start getting ready.
The branch you take will depend very much on where you both are at confidence-wise and if you have gained enough experience to figure out what you want in a cruising boat which is different for every couple so there is no way to predict that.