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Old 20-08-2012, 08:14   #1
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Looking/Buying Questions From a Green Non-Sailor

Hi all! I've been posting mainly in the Meet & Greet thread I started which gives a basic background on myself/family, but the Reader's Digest version is my husband is AD Coast Guard going on 13 yrs and I'm a metalsmith working in a home based studio. We have two small children and have been contemplating cutting our shore ties completely and doing a liveaboard lifestyle.

I've been reading for days on the CF in just about every topic possible to familiarize myself w/ boats, the buying process, the money involved in monthly costs/maintenance, etc. I also am reading a book on my Kindle app about the liveaboard/cruisers lifestyle from beginning to end that's proven helpful. Obviously, none of this makes me very well-versed, if at all, so I have a ton of questions w/ no real "sailor" friends to ask other than all you kind folks.

Primarily w/ this post, my questions are limited to mine and my husband's lack of actual hands on sailing experience. He's been on huge ships his entire career, but never used a boat w/ actual sails/masts. Me, I've never sailed anything greater than my Hobie kayak w/ a small mast.

I see from the buying process that it is recommended to charter a boat to get a feel for something for a few days aboard, space limitations, layouts, mechanical things, etc. Does anyone have a ballpark estimate on what this costs for two of us to do together? And do we have to be able to sail the boat ourselves to do this?

My other questions is related closely and concerns the sea trials that are part of the buying process. WHO does the sea trial? The current owner and you ride along to ask questions and what not? This seems a bit like buying a car w/o knowing how to drive.

That being said, I'm sure I sound like I'm putting the cart ahead of the horse, but I'm wondering, so I thought I'd ask.

I have sent out a few requests to see about a sailing school for him and I, as we'd need to learn to sail before we buy a yacht...though a few CF ppl said it wasn't outside the realm of experiences that some just buy the boat they want and learn how to sail fresh from square one on their own decks.

It looks like it will take us a good 5yrs to save the down payment necessary, as we aren't homeowners, so I'd like to work out a plan that's reasonable and doable so that when we hit our down payment goal, we're ready to go.


Thank you in advance....


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Old 20-08-2012, 09:30   #2
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Re: Looking/Buying questions from a green non-sailer

My suggestion would be to start with some sailing lessons. If you do a web search I'm sure you'll find lots of places convenient to you to take lessons. Then you need to find yacht clubs in your general area. Show up at almost any yacht club in the world on race day and you are sure to find a skipper or two who would be glad to take on another winch-monkey--even one with virtually no experience. After doing that a few time you will quickly see how things are done on a sailboat--tacking, jibing, raising and dousing sails, and so on.

Yes, some people spend a lot of money to buy a big boat without any experience, and then just learn on their new boat. Personally, I don't see that as being a very good idea. But then maybe that is because I started out with smaller boats and then moved up.

"Ordinarily" when you buy a boat it is the buyer, the surveyor, and maybe the broker who goes out for the sea trial. I have never done a sea trial where the seller was along. I think it would be a little limiting. Sort of like looking at a home to buy while the seller is following you around, another thing that I have never done.

I suppose that if you don't know how to sail you would either have to take the seller, find a friend who is an experienced sailor, or hire a captain.

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Old 20-08-2012, 10:37   #3
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Re: Looking/Buying questions from a green non-sailer

Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
My suggestion would be to start with some sailing lessons.
Since he's in the coast guard, you might be able to find free or cheap lessons at the nearest naval base.

That's where I got mine. When I was in the navy.

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Old 22-08-2012, 07:52   #4
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Re: Looking/Buying questions from a green non-sailer

Well, I think we're going to solve part of the problem by buying our first sailboat!

A 22' Bristol and the gentleman selling her said he would be happy to help give us a few lessons. That's a start! I'm SO EXCITED! (Yes, you'll probably see my enthusiasm brimming over in a few forum topics here....LOL!)

Thanks everyone for the advice...I also talked to the CG Aux for boating safety courses, which they provide to me for no charge as I'm a CG dependent. YAY!
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