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Old 27-04-2013, 18:59   #1
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First Perspectives

For those who don't remember me, I'm a trucker who is dreaming of the sail life. I lurk around here frequently, gathering information and opinions from you guys and gals.
I've never sailed before, nor ever been on a sailing craft. I've been enamored with the idea of sailing since I first read Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Two Years Before the Mast and others. I studied square-riggers, and often made drawings of them at sea. i'm pretty good with nautical terms and such.
But, life lead me on a different course. I've realized some of the things I envisioned as a youngster, but not sailing.
This year, I got to take a short, 3 day cruise on the Carnival Imagination. This was the first time I had ever been to sea, except for the weekend scuba junket I took in the late '70s. It was quite a nice trip.

I've been in contact with several yacht brokers, and have yarded out the ones that seem only interested in selling a boat, not anything else.
I have a lot of changes coming soon, and one was cancelling the lease of my truck from one company and leasing to another company, which I have just done 3 weeks ago. Finances aren't good, but hey, they can kill you but they they can't eat you!
I needed some perspective about living aboard, I mean, just how much room IS there on a sailboat?
I mean, I live in a 42 sf space with no bathroom, galley, and I do OK. So, last weekend, I found myself in Houston, TX waiting for a load. I called Rick Weiler at Little Yacht Sales down in Kemah, and let him know I was planning on paying him a visit.
Rich was most accommodating. e showed me a 'project boat' first. A 36ft Dufour. It had a high moisture reading in the deck, and really was a project. The removal of the companionway hatch allowed a most noxious chemical odor to emerge, a combination of diesel, oil, and who knows what nondescript stuff. Down the hatch, the galley was off to the port side. The stove was stained from years of use, the sinks were dull in finish. All the woodwork was very dark, and the little light the ports let in made it look quite drear. The head was bright red fiberglass, the settee so small you would need to be a child to successfully sit at it. Two people couldn't pass belly to belly in the main salon.
He told me that this was typical of a project boat. You could put $50K into her, make her liveable, but she would still be what she was.
He next showed me a 33ft Benateau.
What a difference! She had more beam, and I noted immediately that made an enormous difference. She was bright, and roomy, the galley was more than a stove and sink. There was no chemical smell. The head was well thought out. Being 3 foot shorter tan the Dufour, she was wider, and thus had more usable space. Even the deck space was better.
She was beautiful. She was also $60K more than the Dufour.
But, she was 'sail-away' ready. The Dufour was months, if not years away from being sailable. Oh, she would sail, but how well, and how comfortably.

So, the perspective part is, even the Dufour has much more space than I currently enjoy. But the Benateau was acres more, and felt more homey and pleasant.
Keep in mind, these are the first actual sailboats I have ever set foot on. I have done lots of research about boats, but actually SEEING them is the key.
I'm still looking and longing. I'm planning on taking the basic ASA course to actually learn something hands-on. I can do that fairly cheaply, about $350. Maybe along the way I can find someone to take me out over a weekend and give me a taste of the life. I'm planning on staying in the Pacific NW, so Portland and Seattle coastal areas are where I'm looking. For some odd reason the Caribbean doesn't thump my magic twanger. Must be the heat and humidity. As I age, that may change.
The $79K Benateau was really nice, but there are lots of boats out there. There's a nice Formosa p in WA for sale, but she needs a new cabin roof and all the new stuff installed. I thought that $35K was a bit much for her, being the age she is and the work to be done. Plus, the first thing the broker said was he needed to check my credit rating. If I'm planning on paying cash, he doesn't need a credit report. He's just wanting to not waste his time not making a sale.

Just wanted to post something, and thank all you for letting me lurk and learn.
And thanks to Capt. Rick Weiler for my first quite enlightening tour of some boats. He didn't have to spend the time with me, but he lives aboard, and wanted to give me some advice based on his experience. Thanks Rick.
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Old 27-04-2013, 19:44   #2
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If your finances are not the best right now then owning a boat is certainly not going to help! Take some classes and find a way to spend some extended time on a boat before you buy one. Friends w boats or charters are good way to do this.
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Old 28-04-2013, 07:07   #3
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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
If your finances are not the best right now then owning a boat is certainly not going to help! Take some classes and find a way to spend some extended time on a boat before you buy one. Friends w boats or charters are good way to do this.
+1

You have no idea what is important to you on a boat. Start by taking some lessons where you live on board for a few days. Eventually by an old 26 footer and figure her out. Only then drop the big money
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Old 28-04-2013, 07:56   #4
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Re: First Perspectives

Second that!!!
You can find boats under 30 ft for little money with solid hulls and lots of cosmetics that doesn't really matters.
I paid 3k for mine and been living on board for 4 years. There's a 25 ft at my marina that came from England, asking 4k but I know it'll go for 2k, owner tired of paying dockage
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Old 30-04-2013, 09:48   #5
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Re: First Perspectives

I think you have the perfect job to both, find a boat and learning to live in tight spaces. I'm not sure what your money potential for a boat is but I would also encourage you to look at an Islander 36. A sound design, good cruiser and they go cheap. They are healthy on the beam but do not wallow in a seaway the way a more modern boat with an over-sized beam might.
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Old 30-04-2013, 11:07   #6
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Re: First Perspectives

Lostsheep,

When I first went to sea in the Navy, I had no idea that most of the rest of my life would be there. Must be the enchantment of the bows slicing cleanly through the water and seeing dolphins playing in the bow wave. Over the past 8 years my wife and I have cruised from Seattle, around Vancouver Island, down the West Coast, through the Panama Canal, and halfway around the Caribbean. Trust me, not all of those miles have been comfortable or happy and many port visits were extended involuntarily waiting for repair parts. I am not trying to talk you out of your dream but cruising life is not always what you read about in the books or magazines.

Your plan to start with a basic sailing course is great. After that, you need some time at sea to decide if it really is the life for you. Only then should you even think about buying a boat. As others have noted, sailing on other people's boats (OPB) is a good way to get on the water. Go to a marina and volunteer as crew just to get aboard and underway. Better yet, volunteer to help buff and wax, clean the bottom, or perform other maintenance work to get a taste for that aspect of cruising.

You stated in your initial post that you were planning to stay in PNW. Aside from the San Juan and Gulf Islands, I don't know of many cruising grounds there where you can go for months without retracing your steps. Don't rule out warmer areas - it really is great to be able to jump in the water for a morning swim without needing a wetsuit.

Good luck and welcome to CF.
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Old 06-05-2013, 19:58   #7
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Hey, LS! Here's a bit of point of view from a clueless newbie who ended up owning a sailboat without being really sure how it happened:
Craigslist
Hubby was browsing sailboats on Craigslist on a lark after we booked our second trip to St. Croix. He found a local 27' Catalina for a song. We went to look at it, took a friend (commercial diver) who looked at the hull for us, went home, talked to the bank, refi'd his truck (not a big-rig like yours), and bought a sailboat. Now we're reading everything we can get out hands on, sailed with real sailors while on vacation, have met up with a friend from CF and sailed on his 31' Hunter (would be big enough to be MY Forever Boat!), and have had our "Catch The Wind" out on the lake twice. Sometimes, it's a matter of falling into the right circumstance. Sometimes, it's a matter of working your tail off! Regardless, go sail! Find friends here, bring beer, listen and learn, and go have a ball!! Anything you eventually get will likely be roomier than what you're used to. And enjoy life!!
Fair Winds!
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Old 07-05-2013, 15:12   #8
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Re: First Perspectives

Thanks folks, for the posts.
My plan is to take a class and get my basic ticket. I don't know a soul with a boat, so I'll have to do the 'hang around, ask questions and look wistful" thing.
I'm a half a step above landlubber, at least I know standing from running rigging, basic knots, terminology and such as can be gleaned from decades of reading.
I'm having to choose between living in a travel trailer, in a park, or a sail boat. To me, the boat wins out.
My lifestyle for the past 11 years has been one of living in the truck for 2-6 months at a time, then going to the house for a few weeks and working there on a place I don't really live in. I just get my mail there. I'm planning on being out of the trucking industry in no more than 2 years, and starting another business, or, scaling back big-time and finding reasonably gainful employment. Unfortunately, I'm 57 years old, so gigolo probably isn't one of the options
I'm pretty handy, and I learn quickly, so a project boat isn't really daunting to me. But, I still need to live aboard, and be able to have a modicum of creature comforts. I'm learning tons of stuff here on the forum, as well as a couple of others I lurk in.
I'm not one to take a leap too quickly, I like to do the research first.

I'm planning on paying cash for a boat, and as I'm not independently wealthy, a modest boat it will be, I'm sure. 80 grand is above my limit. I hate banks, so financing isn't an option. Cash and sweat equity will suffice.
I have a nice shopful of tools, band saw, table saw, drill press, industrial sewing machine (I do upholstery and canvas work sometimes) and more. I could probably build a boat, had I the time and resources. So, all the systems and such are not new to me. I'm a fix-it guy, anyway.
As for region of sail, I like the PNW, but the entire west coast of the Americas is on the books. I'd like to head to the southern climes in the cold months, then migrate back in spring and summer for the San Juans and ...where ever. I really want to get to Thorne Bay AK to see that area.

So, I'll continue to pursue the idea. My driving companion seems up for the water lifestyle. She's a Welsh Corgi, and every time we head to the marinas, she's all up for it. The look on her face when she spies a fish in the water is classic. I think she'll do fine. The short legs and shallow draft will help keep her from capsizing, I hope!
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Old 07-05-2013, 16:52   #9
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Originally Posted by lostsheep View Post
Thanks folks, for the posts.
My plan is to take a class and get my basic ticket. I don't know a soul with a boat, so I'll have to do the 'hang around, ask questions and look wistful" thing....

I'm planning on being out of the trucking industry in no more than 2 years, and starting another business, or, scaling back big-time and finding reasonably gainful employment. Unfortunately, I'm 57 years old, so gigolo probably isn't one of the options
I'm pretty handy, and I learn quickly...

I have a nice shopful of tools, band saw, table saw, drill press, industrial sewing machine (I do upholstery and canvas work sometimes) and more. I could probably build a boat, had I the time and resources. So, all the systems and such are not new to me. I'm a fix-it guy, anyway.
Sounds like time to start looking for jobs around a marina! Get the boat-repair experience under a pro, get to know people with boats, get a good idea of exactly what you can afford. All-around win!!
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Old 07-05-2013, 17:14   #10
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Re: First Perspectives

Slow down a bit on buying a used sloop; 20-26 ft. Get some book and hands-on seamanship knowledge first. Sail as a crew, to get your feet wet. Charter different makes of sloops during a few weekends to get an idea about different designs and handling. Give yourself 6 months or more, before considering signing on any dotted line. When you get to that stage, let us know and we will advise you on choices for your next step. Have fun! Mauritz
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