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Old 27-10-2009, 11:56   #16
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Finally...somebody got it right. You WON'T FIND OUT ON A CRUISE SHIP. Why? Because you won't have enough time to search out, find, and "debrief" real cruisers.

Much better to charter a boat for a week or two, say, out of Tortola. That will give you both the liveaboard experience, the sailing experience and, with luck, you'll meet some cruisers. Especially at the bar(s).

Also, the suggestion to attend SSCA get togethers is a good one. The SSCA Gam in the Chesapeake area was very well attended this year...over 90 boats and 250+ people. The next one is during the weekend of Nov 13-15 in Melbourne, FL. Check out the details at Welcome to the Seven Seas Cruising Association

If you don't have enough sailing experience yet to charter a vessel by yourself, you can get captained charters .... for a day or two if that's all you need ... or for as long as you like.

Also, be sure to get a subscription to: Lats & Atts, Cruising World, water sailing">Blue Water Sailing. And, don't forget Soundings....one of the best boating pubs out there, IMO.

Good luck. Hope you find you like the cruising lifestyle and wanna give it a try. But, if you're gonna do this cruise ship thingy, just have fun, and stay out of the dangerous spots (like Charlotte Amalie docks at night).

Bill
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Old 27-10-2009, 12:03   #17
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The only trouble I have with the latts and atts viewpoint it that it seems to glamorize the cruising lifestyle. Not that things are not sometimes glamorous, but it does rain sometimes. I have noticed that the magazine is less "all about Bob Bitchin'," which I thought it used to be, more about others cruisers, etc. I think this is a good thing.

Charter and bareboat, and perhaps buy a small sailboat and try things out. Some folks that I know, were sort of in the same situation you are in about five years ago. They started by going cruising for a week with friends in Belize. They then bought a 26' sailboat, and cruised that for about six months locally. At this point they decided that they wanted to take the plunge, so the sold the farm, sold the small boat, and bought another boat for full time cruising. They cruised full-time for almost two years, sold the boat, and are back ashore with new careers.

Chris
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Old 27-10-2009, 13:04   #18
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PTCowgirl,

If your ship ends up at Crown Bay, walk over to Pickles Tickles Pub in the marina. A number of cruisers and locals hang out there for lunch and/or happy hour. The bartenders there are friendly and could point out any cruisers to you. Buy the drinks, and you've got their ears for an hour or so.
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Old 27-10-2009, 13:37   #19
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Great info guys...thanks a bunch!

Has anyone here taken the ASA Sailing Courses and if so, are they worth it or necessary for 2 people with very limited (read: none) experience with sailing?
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Old 27-10-2009, 13:43   #20
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What she needs is where the cruisers land their dingies in those locations! To the original poster: look for a bunch of dingies tied with long ropes or cables with locks. Then follow them as they go on their way to provision, have lunch etc!
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Old 27-10-2009, 14:40   #21
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Used to be Shrimpy's in Simpson Lagoon, St Maarten. Dinghys are still there, but Shrimpy's closed as IGY didn't renew their lease.
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Old 27-10-2009, 16:01   #22
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Meeting "cruisers".....

PTCowgirl,
You've gotten some great advice here already.....I especially concur with looking into the SSCA (www.ssca.org )......

And, while a Criuse Ship is certainly not the best way to get to the Caribbean and meet some "cruisers", with your itinerary, your best bet is going to be in St. Thomas at Crown Bay Marina....
Crown Bay Marina

Hud's thoughts are spot-on....
However, I do wish to corect one minor thing....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
If your ship ends up at Crown Bay, walk over to Pickles Pub in the marina. A number of cruisers and locals hang out there for lunch and/or happy hour. The bartenders there are friendly and could point out any cruisers to you. Buy the drinks, and you've got their ears for an hour or so.
It's actually called "Tickles", not Pickles.....
angle

And, in addition to the other places mentioned you may also try the laundrmat at Crown Bay......
It's not as exciting as a bar.....but cleaner...


Good luck.
John
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Old 29-10-2009, 06:44   #23
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Quote:
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Look for a bunch of dingies tied with long ropes or cables with locks. Then follow them as they go on their way to provision, have lunch etc!
Awesome idea and one of those "duh" moments!
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Old 29-10-2009, 07:20   #24
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Thanks John! Lots of great information. I'll look for Pickles.
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Old 29-10-2009, 09:15   #25
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We've been researching the possibility now, nearly 24/7. We have always been considered "crazy" by our family in friends in that we dream big and work hard to realize those dreams. We've done it before, we'll do it again by golly!
While you may not meet any "real cruisers" doing what I'm going to suggest, you'll get a much better handle on your research than simply talking to sailors in port from a cruise ship.

Do a bareboat charter with a captain in the BVI - or elsewhere in the Caribbean (St. Martin, St. Lucia, Grenada). You'll have the opportunity to live aboard, learn a bit about sailing, talk to other sailors every night in a different harbor, have the benefit of someone with lots of local knowledge and enjoy a great vacation.

If you like, you can visit my site for articles about bareboating or simply use one of the links to hookup with someone like The Moorings or Sunsail to make arrangements for a boat, captain, provisions, etc.

Murph'
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Old 29-10-2009, 09:22   #26
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Yes, do the ASA courses if you dont know how to sail yet. But do your research on where you take the course. They are not all created equal.
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Old 29-10-2009, 09:47   #27
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Slightly of Topic

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Originally Posted by michaeldsusa View Post
There is was bar and grill on SXM on the road near the airport (@ Mike's Marina - I think?) which caters to cruisers. Any taxi driver can take you there.
Mike aka Shrimpys lost his lease last spring when the Dutch side of St Marten re-raised their "bridge fees" forceing all the real cruisiers to anchor on the French side. My fee would have been $75 US for the first week and $40 US for every week thereafter vs 5 Euro stay as long as you like on the French side. Make sure you ask the other anchor-outs where the boundary is.
Bobby's boatyard has moved from Philippsburg to another location on the coast. There is a second Boppy's in the lagoon.
John
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Old 29-10-2009, 10:21   #28
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PTCowgirl,

In St. Thomas I would recommend you book a half day charter with Omar and Jan on Slo Dancin - 36' Catalina sailing out of Redhook. They can answer many of your questions, and you get a fun trip on a real cruising sailboat at a reasonable price:

St. Thomas day sails, snorkeling & Yacht Charters
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Old 29-10-2009, 11:18   #29
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- - You will probably only get "romantic" stories about cruising from folks you encounter for such a brief time due to your "cruise-ship" schedule. Or you will get tall tales of near- disasters and how they 'saved the day'. Gatherings like SSCA will give you a much better appreciation of what real life cruisers are about. Also sail boat shows are very valuable to to learn the language and equipment of cruising sailors. From the sailboat shows you will see the wide range of boats and all the simple to complicated equipment that can make your voyage "spartan" or "decadent" and each step in between.
- - Crewed chartering will show you the cruising grounds and geographically areas of the most popular spots for sailor/cruisers. Also this is all the same for power-yacht cruisers.
- - Bareboat chartering will show you the "freedom" you have as "masters" of your ship and your fate. Also again the prime sailing/cruising geographical areas.
- - Finally, if you proceed to your own vessel and go cruising you will add the "serenity" and peacefulness of visiting a much wider range of places. Along with some good challenges to your endurance and toughness to face Mother Nature. Those experiences will solidify your feelings of liberty and serentity and your connection to this space ship we call earth.
- - So there are definite stages in your exploration but be warned that no single one will answer all your questions. The different stages add to the previous and expand the subject to a fuller awareness of what this life is and what it requires and returns to you.
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Old 29-10-2009, 12:45   #30
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PTCowgirl,

My wife and I took ASA lessons with Fair Winds Sailing school out of Red Hook. The only prior sailing experience we had was on a Flying Scot a couple of weekends before we went to the school.

Wayne
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