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Old 30-05-2015, 20:41   #1
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The Horse before the Cart?

In a couple of years the wife and I are seriously considering to attempt a live aboard situation. Two more years and the last one is out to college. I have been on the water most of my adult life in the motor boat side of life. Now, I find a live aboard situation may be a great lifestyle. I won't find that out until I actually do it though. So my question is this: While I know I will get as much training as possible (never handled a sailboat), should I purchase an inexpensive boat to hone my newly found skills on? I figured if I train now and don't make that move until two years or so, most of the info would be lost (as in forgotten) If I don't actually practice it. If I should get a boat, what kind? I guess it would be something I can sell in a couple of years.
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Old 30-05-2015, 21:06   #2
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

Yeah I would.

As I see it there are 2 routes I could recommend:

Get a Laser and go sailing for 3-4 hours at least twice a month. This is the best way to learn how to SAIL, there are no secondary concerns such as motors, heads, navigation (other than eyeball). There a plenty of boats to pickup in decent shape that can be resold for about what you paid.

Alternatively get a small trailer keelboat such as a Catalina22, Cal20 or Santana 20 to learn on. You don't need quite as fast reactions as on a laser, but still a better way to learn to sail than a full sized boat. Again plenty around so they should be reasonably priced. They all are big enough to have cabins so you can overnight or even weekend aboard. This route and which boat to get will depend on what sort of tow vehicle you have available and a place to store it.

Actually these 2 routes are not mutually exclusive, you could spend a year sailing the laser then move up. This would actually work better as there would be a progression of responsibilities.

Where are you located and what is your situation regarding vehicle and storage? Also what is your age and physical condition?
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Old 30-05-2015, 21:12   #3
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

As the owner of a few boats, crew on many, and Yachtmaster Instructor, my suggestions are:

1. Forget buying a test boat. You will likely lose a lot of money on resale value, and/or repairs, parts to make it go better, etc.

2. Instead, spend the money getting you and your wife trained up so you have some skills and knowledge. Do a recognized yacht sailing course and start getting seas miles of experience on other peoples' yachts.

3. Join a club and volunteer to crew on other peoples' yachts for racing, rallies and cruises. With some training and certificates, you'll be more attractive to potential skippers and won't feel so dopey. You'll learn a lot about other boats and what the crew and owners have found are the good and bad points. And a lot of good practical understanding about the different equipment, rigs etc. And about how different people manage and operate their boats. All this will cost you very little apart from time and dedication. You can also walk away from a boat that reveals itself to be a problem, without it costing you anything. All very valuable info to have before you put down your money for a sailing yacht.

4. Buying the right boat that suits you and your wife and your sailing/cruising aspirations - the first time - will save you a small fortune. And when you take it out, you'll have the experience and confidence to do it without being a liability to yourself and fellow mariners.

Sailing - racing, cruising or rallies - is fantastic. But some people get turned off immediately because they plunge in without preparation, knowledge and skills.

Best wishes
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Old 30-05-2015, 21:54   #4
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

A couple great posts. I'd only add that it really is very hard to tell what you might want in a boat until you liveaboard and move around. There are a ton of options and just as many opinions.

Unless you're buying new, the sooner you get started learning what will work for you guys from a cruising perspective, the more time you will have to be patient in waiting for a great deal to come up that fits your profile.

It's certainly a wonderful lifestyle! High highs and low lows, but always worthwhile. All the best.
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Old 30-05-2015, 22:33   #5
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanR View Post
As the owner of a few boats, crew on many, and Yachtmaster Instructor, my suggestions are:

1. Forget buying a test boat. You will likely lose a lot of money on resale value, and/or repairs, parts to make it go better, etc.

In a lot of ways sailing is like riding a bike. The habit of judging the wind direction by the pressure on both ears when your nose is pointed into the wind is something you don't lose. It doesn't take many accidental gybes before the instinct starts to kick in.

The world of yacht clubs and racing around the markers isn't the only entry point to sailing. A used little cabin cruiser, sailing dinghy or Hobie Cat can make for great family outing at a low cost.





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Old 30-05-2015, 23:22   #6
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The Horse before the Cart?

NASDS is no longer in business. I think to was PADI that bought out the scuba franchise. I had to take the cert class to buy air. I enjoyed the class and learned a lot, but I learned more by reading the NASDS manual cover to cover. I practiced all of the exercises outside of class. Even those skipped over by teach.

Our instructor glossed over the warnings concerning claustrophobia and panic prone individuals. Made light of sinus problems. Said nothing of the hazards of pressure differential on smokers alveoli. He said a lot about the Caribbean diving packages and how students struggling to master the sport would excel under his instruction in tropical locals.

Salesmen. You are not walking the line if you are not lining their pockets.

My point is you may love it or you may feel like a fish out of water. It is an ancient activity (not art) and doesn't always fulfill the dreams the brochures tout. Too many people fall in for the blue water crap trap without ever really falling in love with the wind in their sails.

Many walk away terrified. My lady loves bay sailing and anchoring out but hates offshore.

The Glenans manual encourages you to go sailing then read the manual. Get someone to show you what the gizmos do and get out in some protected water. You're gonna screw up. Wear a life jacket and try not to get tangled in the lines. ( ropes)




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Old 31-05-2015, 05:15   #7
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, knightinnc.
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Old 31-05-2015, 10:01   #8
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

[QUOTE=AllanR;1837343]

3. Join a club and volunteer to crew on other peoples' yachts for racing, rallies and cruises. With some training and certificates, you'll be more attractive to potential skippers and won't feel so dopey. You'll learn a lot about other boats and what the crew and owners have found are the good and bad points. And a lot of good practical understanding about the different equipment, rigs etc. And about how different people manage and operate their boats. All this will cost you very little apart from time and dedication. You can also walk away from a boat that reveals itself to be a problem, without it costing you anything. All very valuable info to have before you put down your money for a sailing yacht.


Allen has it right here, save the funds and volunteer....and bring beer.
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Old 31-05-2015, 10:24   #9
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

Excellent advice on joining clubs. I had plenty skill building with dingy racing on Lidos. Many west and east coast colleges have programs to teach sailing. Some are community colleges and some are individual (companies) that will teach u the ropes. There are so many ways to skin a cat

FYI, buying an old cheap boat is easy. Selling an old cheap boat is rarely easy unless it is cherry. U will rarely find a cherry boat that is cheap. Keep that in mind. U can sell anything if the price is right. ... I.e..... Severely discounted. That is why the advice is good. Save your dollars and use classes and crewing to get your experience built up.

My wife is prone to seasickness. So she likes multihull sailing much better. Some women don't like the smells aboard older boats. U won't find out what the two of u like until u have been aboard many types of boats. U r partnered up so u will have to work through that situation and be alert to her signals.

Try different types of boats for charter once u have learned basics and gotten your certifications. U can take a real hit financially if u buy the wrong boat and hace to sell for a discount. There are just a ton of boats waiting for a new skipper. U can be very selective once u settle on the right platform. Wish u good luck.
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Old 31-05-2015, 10:25   #10
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

My wife and I are getting back into sailing after a 30 year hiatus raising kids and last just out of collage, WOOO HOOO and now back to sailing. My suggestion would be go hang at the marina and talk to local sailors, some of the nicest people and tell them that you are interested in getting into sailing, most areas have sailboat races, don't let that scare you and they are usually looking for crew and let you grab the tiller and pull and release lines. If you don't understand what they are barking at you, stand your ground and ask them to explain what they are asking in terms that you understand because nautical terms sound Greek at first, another thing is make yourself a sailing bag if you crew, get yourself some boat shoes and lifejacket and put all the necessities you would want for a day out on the water. read books on sailing and watch YouTube videos. I kept a eye for a used small sailboat up to 22 foot and found a Renken 18 with roller furling for a grand, this has a V birth for overnight and a dry boat, there are some great deals out there, and small boats are easy to trailer and rig for day and weekend adventures, just have to look, I seen someone mention a hobicat, don't do it unless you have good skills or you could upset the boat (things happen fast on a cat) If you see what appears to be a good deal, research it out , look at all the components, sails lines, hull and buy it, it will reinforce your roots into sailing and then just do it, many smaller lakes are no-wake lakes, so no worry's about jousting with skiers and wakes, also being confined to a smaller lake less chance of getting too far from your launch. have fun
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Old 31-05-2015, 10:28   #11
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

Well, we've bought boats before we knew exactly what we were doing. Our first was a Catalina 22 and I'd say that though they can be trailered...the effort is pretty high. Hobie cats, Lasers, and other small day sailers are a lot easier and will allow you to learn the "sailing" without many encumbrances. If you are anywhere near the water, walk the marinas on weekends and talk to folks, most are really friendly. You can probably find people to crew for. Racing, in my very limited experience, will teach you the really fine points of sail trimming, currents, etc. If you check out marinas with liveaboards you can figure out some of the things you might want to know before you actually buy a larger boat. You might lose $1000 on a small daysailer over a two year period but it's probably worth it. The week long cruising class that we took was a little expensive but a lot of fun and helped us with lots of details.

But the best advice is to just go do something. Probably none of the suggestions are ideal for you but none of them are wrong either.

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Old 31-05-2015, 10:35   #12
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

In my opinion the "learning how to sail" is the easy part. Sailing is pretty basic as "how to move a boat in the water" skill, it's the refining and learning the details that take years and years and are best learned through experience (doing).

The Live Aboard is the really hard part. I'm currently chartering boats of different sizes to get a feel for how the different sizes and features affect quality of life (in my area the charters are 24 hours so I'm able to sleep on the boat overnight). Everyone is going to have different expectations on "comfort level" and different things will be important for day to day life. Get on as many boats as you can especially if you can get them out on the water as either a charter or a crew of someone's boat. Imagine yourself in them day after day. A table down below with little leg room and a tight squeeze is doable for a day or two but week after week will drive you crazy.

Just my $.02
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Old 31-05-2015, 10:39   #13
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

I suggest you get the "in between" boat.

When my kids were born, it became obvious I would have little time to sail, or even take care of my wonderful Hunter Legend 35.5. So I sold it. After a very short time, I bought an old C&C25 so that I could keep sailing while I had no sailboat...LOL. I bought it on a lark, because it was cheap and available. However, I had a ton of fun with it and learned a lot. I was able to make it child friendly and safe for my kids, and we ended up doing many many trips on it while they were quite young. Eventually, we outgrew the boat...too small for a brother and sister without fighting, so I sold it. By way of full disclosure, I took good care of the boat. I think it was in better shape when I sold it than when I bought it. And I was able to get all my money back...plus a little more. I was then in a position to choose my next boat. And although thats a whole nother story, I found the "in between" boat to have been a great experience, and cost effective too.

If you are interested, here's an old video from when I sold the boat. I broke all the rules...sold at the end of the season for a good (high) price, and it sold in less than 2 weeks. IMHO, when everything works on a boat, its FULLY equipped, and its immaculately clean, it will sell fast.

I learned how to solo sail on this boat. I also learned to handle big wind and big waves. I hit a few rocks, sure, but more than a few magical days and nights too.

https://youtu.be/bDssMt3Eb9Q
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Old 31-05-2015, 11:16   #14
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

Excellent advice. As an instructor and having lived aboard I would stress the importance of chartering different boats for a week at a time. Will give you a taste of living aboard and experiencing different types of boats. Find an experienced couple who will go with you and split the costs.
Dinghy sailing is invaluable. We have a great free program here through the college.
Basic sailing is easy. Seamanship is the hard part. Read Chapmans.
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Old 31-05-2015, 11:22   #15
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Re: The Horse before the Cart?

It's a good route to go. Although keep in mind, smaller boats are less forgiving, so don't scare yourself or the missus away with a boat that ends up feeling scary!
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