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Old 23-09-2012, 15:53   #16
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

Check the various websites for crew needed. Pick a short initial leg like from the NE to Florida which should be very active through the next few months. Try and get a boat going offshore not the ICW to test your stomach. If things work out you may be able to continue on with the boat, if the boat isn't going further or you aren't loving the situation, bail out. You will have a little experience under your belt to see if you like the sailing life or need to find a different form of transportation. If you decide to go on, a boat going to the Carribean will get you to the largest conglomeration of cruising boats practically anywhere. With a little time and patience, you should be able to find a boat going to almost anywhere from there.

Owner/skippers need bodies to make a passage. You don't have to know much, just be willing to learn. Don't inflate your skill level, just be honest about your abilities. Boats need someone to stand watch, otherwise just a pair of eyes to call those who have the abilities on deck in time of need. A good skipper will have you pretty much up to speed on watchstanding in a short passage and a skilled crewman on a longer passage if you are willing and ask questions. Doesn't hurt to study and/or crew on inshore boats but usually it's not necessary.

As others have said, cut your lifestyle down to living out of a backpack. Most boats have very limited storage and you'll need to survive during those times between crew opportuniti on shore. Get rid of all your cotton clothing and leather. Cotton absorbs moisture and, worse, odor, and takes up a lot of space. Leather molds badly on a boat. Nylon shorts and synthetic tops are cool in the tropics, wick moisture and don't stink. Check Ebay and Craig's List for foul wx gear and don't pay much for it. If you are going to stay in warm water you won't need much more than a coastal jacket. If you really get into crewing, you'll want to buy a good set after you learn what you need. Most skippers will have spare sets of foul wx gear so you may not need to worry about the gear at all on your first passage.
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Old 23-09-2012, 16:14   #17
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

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And another thing- my parents are really against this idea, but they say they can't stop me. II thought itd ease their fears if I got on the ocean beforehand to see how I handle it. I saw someone comment on some Caribbean trips. Would I be able to find one of those? And how would I know that my shipmates aren't going to drive me crazy, or rob me for that matter?
OH !and on another point,on convicing your parents!
you gotta try the old one ,two trick,tell them you have met a girl from the other side of town,both her parents are alchoholic's,you really love her deeply and feel she is the one,and though you have not had sex yet she really wants you to be envolved with the birth of the child she will be having in 6 months........
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Old 23-09-2012, 16:38   #18
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Thanks for the tips on traveling light! The odd thing is that my mom is encouraging me to take a gap year, but when I brought the boat into the picture, she went completely against it! Something that I haven't mentioned is that my Australian friend initially told me about the gap year, and strangely enough, one day we both presented the same idea of sailing all the way there, without ever mentioning boats being the picture! But we've got basically the same plans, so I might try to get him on the same crew as me. Oddly enough, he's lazy, so I'm not sure if he'll go through with his plans.
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Old 23-09-2012, 16:39   #19
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Sorry to add yet ANOTHER thing to this picture, but I'm a big guitar player, and I thought itd be a great way to pass the time when we're on the open seas. Would that be possible?
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Old 23-09-2012, 16:44   #20
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

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Sorry to add yet ANOTHER thing to this picture, but I'm a big guitar player, and I thought itd be a great way to pass the time when we're on the open seas. Would that be possible?
a bonus if any thing and a great way to make a few bucks on the side,busking is very common in europe,and generaly quite lucrative if you can find a good spot,friends of my daughter make upwards of $150 a day busking.
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Old 23-09-2012, 16:51   #21
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Busking. I assume thats when you play on the streets with an open case and collect tips. I might consider that, but I don't know about playing in a big city like Melbourne
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Old 23-09-2012, 16:57   #22
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

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Busking. I assume thats when you play on the streets with an open case and collect tips. I might consider that, but I don't know about playing in a big city like Melbourne
i think it is pretty common in australia,and generally tolerated,what you need to learn are a few "kevin bloody wilson" songs to get the punters tipping a shilling.............

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Old 23-09-2012, 17:03   #23
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

it is also a good idea to get a bit of perspective on racial tolerance in australia!


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Old 23-09-2012, 17:28   #24
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

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My main concern isn't as much as how I will sail, but how I will handle being on a boat for possibly weeks at a time. But I will look into the basics
Theres a good way to try to see if you can handle the trip, go make a sandwich and head for the bathroom and turn the shower on get in under the water and eat, with all your cloths on.. now dont take those wet cloths off but head for the kitchen and dump a cup of salt in your shorts, now go outside in the middle of the night and stand in the sprinkler for a 4 hour shift..
and thats not over yet.. with your wet stinky, salty cloths on, go to a local swiming pool and on your knees stand on a truck intertube while trying to tye and untye pieces of rope.........
and if you've mastered that, try it all at the same time.. and the salt in the shorts has to be there for a few days..

Just a little joking there BUT, you will run into nights that the poop hits the wind machine and its your turn to clean up the mess, and not to discourage you but if anything can go wrong, it will on your shift in the middle of the night.. a sail change at 3 am in a sea state that reminds you of a washing machine is not something to look forward to, but is something to prepare yourself for, or be aware of..

Hope you reach your dreams............
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Old 23-09-2012, 17:36   #25
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

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Theres a good way to try to see if you can handle the trip, go make a sandwich and head for the bathroom and turn the shower on get in under the water and eat, with all your cloths on.. now dont take those wet cloths off but head for the kitchen and dump a cup of salt in your shorts, now go outside in the middle of the night and stand in the sprinkler for a 4 hour shift..
and thats not over yet.. with your wet stinky, salty cloths on, go to a local swiming pool and on your knees stand on a truck intertube while trying to tye and untye pieces of rope.........
and if you've mastered that, try it all at the same time.. and the salt in the shorts has to be there for a few days..

Just a little joking there BUT, you will run into nights that the poop hits the wind machine and its your turn to clean up the mess, and not to discourage you but if anything can go wrong, it will on your shift in the middle of the night.. a sail change at 3 am in a sea state that reminds you of a washing machine is not something to look forward to, but is something to prepare yourself for, or be aware of..

Hope you reach your dreams............
it's not nearly that bad,what you really gotta watch out for is the first time you hit the land in australia,kevin has a few tips onmeeting aussie women
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Old 23-09-2012, 18:56   #26
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

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...This is just an idea. The major problem is that I have absolutely no sailing experience. I live in Dallas Texas, so trips to the beach are rare and my dad hates boats. So, the only boating experience is sailing a friends catamaran on lake cypress springs. ...
You apparently don't know it yet, but Dallas is a very active sailing area. And Texas overall has one of the largest concentration of boats on the planet. You have lots of opportunities nearby to build sailing experience -- take advantage of them. Just north of you is Lake Texoma -- one of the largest man-made lakes in the world and a great, and very active, sailing venue. No need to wait for the rare trip to the coast (...lots of options there too though....just look up the ELISSA and their excellent volunteer program...that should get your imagination going!)

I lived in Dallas for about 16 years, and sailed myself to the point of exhaustion almost every weekend. Lots of sailing clubs, active racing communities, regattas, and inland cruising opportunities within a 2 hour radius.

There are a number of ASA sailing schools in your area where you can sign up for training (just look them up on Sailing Schools - Learn to Sail with American Sailing Association | ASA). Also, small boats like the Hobie 16 or Laser are relatively inexpensive and are one the best ways to learn to sail. Ask your dad about getting you one and/or get out there and sail your friend's catamaran (Hobie I assume?).

Look up some of the sailing clubs in the area: There are a number of very active clubs on Lake Texoma and Lake Ray Hubbard. These are not stuffy high-end yacht clubs, but rather laid back family oriented sailing clubs where kids participate too -- my friend's teenage son and daughter used to crew with us in races aboard his boat on Lake Texoma (they kicked butt too because they had been doing this all their lives and later raced competitively at the college level as a result). For example, see Texoma Sailing Club at Texoma Sailing Club. I suspect if you contacted them, you would get receptive response.

Even if your dad hates boats, he really should (IMHO) support your interest in sailing (..sure beats smoking dope and stealing cars for fun!). Tell him about your interest in learning to sail and ask him to help you accomplish that (...you might down play the bit about crossing the Pacific for now!).

There are lots of things he could do to support your interest: sign you up for sailing classes, buy you a small boat, get a membership at one of the local sailing clubs -- he does not have to be a sailor or a boat owner - he could socialize while you got involved in racing.

If he has questions or concerns then get him to sign on here and ask away.
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Old 23-09-2012, 21:01   #27
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

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And another thing- my parents are really against this idea, but they say they can't stop me. II thought itd ease their fears if I got on the ocean beforehand to see how I handle it. I saw someone comment on some Caribbean trips. Would I be able to find one of those? And how would I know that my shipmates aren't going to drive me crazy, or rob me for that matter?
Parents transfer their own fears to their children. It is natural. Sometimes the fears are real sometimes they are not.

You could get robbed. You could get beaten up. You could have all your money and stuff stolen and be left with nothing. You could be raped and sold into white slavery working in a Vietnamese Nike factory.

Chances are none of this will happen. You could stay home and get killed by a drunk driver - that's probably far more likely.

The gap year is a great idea as long as it doesn't become a gap life.

I would suggest you try something on your own. If you are 15 now maybe the summer before your senior year you strap on a backpack and head to Florida by train and bus - I would not recommend hitchiking in the US theses days (my irrational fear - LOL) - and try to be completely independent for 2-3 months. It will give you a flavor for what's ahead.

Getting a transpac hop will be tough IMO but your idea to just show up, recognize boats that look like cruising boats and asking folks if they need crew may yield something. Maybe in that summer you get a bahamas or caribbean hop.

Hard work and enthusiasm mean a lot more to me than pure experience. Have a look at the crew archives here...

Then with that summer under your belt try the transpac thing if it is still your desire, although I am with Dave - Fly to Asia and country hop. Much more fun.
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Old 24-09-2012, 01:18   #28
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Re: 15 year looking for boating experience?

Have a look at the Lonely Planet (the Backpackers "Bible" ) forum (Thorntree)......might come up with a different idea or 3 .

Or come up with something that will really scare the bejesus out of yer Mum - so the sailing idea suddenly sounds quite safe . (Actually your mum does have valid fears (even if she does not know exactly why) - the main one is getting on an ill-prepared / unsafe boat with a moron for a Skipper. It happens. Going out on any sea (Ocean or not) is not Disneyland "safe" - on a decently prepared boat with a Skipper who knows arse from Elbow is safer than riding a motorcycle (and dealing with Morons on the road), but not quite such a no-brainer).

Just another thought - IIRC, Oz had easily obtainable working Visas for young people (under 25's?), apart from a way of topping up the kitty working in a foreign country is a good way of getting to know a place and people and different from simply passing through places. Not better or worse - just different (endless new does get boring / a PITA - but you are a little way from that yet!).

Plans is good and fair play to you on planning ahead ....foreign travel does broaden the mind and teaches you to deal with stuff independently (practice always different from the theory). and is fun .
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