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Old 04-09-2011, 19:15   #1
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Help Me Get Started On The Right Foot !

Hi,
I am planning on retiring in 8 years 5 months 1 week 3 days. At this time I will be living aboard a catamaran. I am trying to get a list together of everything I need to do and learn in the next 8 years to help me become a good or even better excellent sailor.

I am a strong willed individual who needs to be in control of any situation to feel safe. I do not like depending on someone else to do it all or know it all. I want to know that if need be I can sail and make all decisions that need to be made to keep me safe and anyone else that is with me.

It is important that I get every bit of knowledge that I need and experience to make my dreams come true. I joined the NauticEd site to learn about sailing and to get a certification. I am also a member of couchsurfing which will give me opportunities to sail with others for free.

So, I guess what I want most is to get point of views from both women and men regarding what will be the struggles for a woman on a sailboat and what a woman can do to get her self ready for this perfect adventure that will last the rest of her life?

Thanks,
Michelle
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Old 04-09-2011, 19:47   #2
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Re: Help me get started on the right foot!

Try the "Women Afloat" section of this forum - Women Afloat
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Old 04-09-2011, 20:57   #3
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Re: Help me get started on the right foot!

Hi Michelle,
I joined the local sailing club, and crew during the Wednesday night races. Learning alot!
My dreams are very similar to yours.....maybe we'll see each other out there someday.....
Good luck,
Anna
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Old 04-09-2011, 21:03   #4
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Re: Help me get started on the right foot!

Get out and go sailing. If you don't know how then sign up for some sailing lessons. Once you have gone through all the courses then start chartering boats with your friends. You may also be able to hook up with people from yacht clubs who are looking for crew for races, day sailing or cruising.

There are plenty of books out there so you can start learning the nomenclature and the basic concepts right away.
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Old 05-09-2011, 00:07   #5
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Re: Help me get started on the right foot!

Living aboard will introduce you to a great group of people if your marina/berth is anything like mine. If the marina allows liveaboards long term then it probable allows 'work in progress' boats too, and keep an eye out for the the live aboard rebuilders. If their standard of work is good then they are a font of knowledge for cheapest, best, where, etc.
For sailing, it's a similar path. Finding out by, word of mouth, who is capable of teaching you the finer points of boat handling, sailing and so on. The Navigation is a separate issue that you've just got to learn properly. Taking bearings to confirm position is a minimum for coastal work plus the maps for the areas you plan to travel for now. Using a sextant isn't so important nowadays. Take one with you on a voyage, with an instruction manual. If all else fails you'll have plenty of time to learn how it works.
Once you are comfortable with your boat (what a wise choice to go for a Cat) you'll think up various improvements to make life easier. Decent grab handles in the companionway, and for deck work, a running line to snap your harness to, adding quick release fittings to all three corners of hank on sails for ease and speed for rigging, removing. Getting the roller furling line to enter the drum at just the right angle so it doesn't bind up if you let a little slack in the line, changing some sheets for ones that are comfortable on the hands and fit the capstan and locking device nicely.
When you are comfortable single handing in f4 to 5 the you'll cope with f6, f7 and begin to learn the real art of sailing is getting there in one piece, boat and you.
Which leads me on to 'What If!' What are your plans for a sinking boat? Life raft, EPIRB, handheld radio/nav and an installed grab bag IN THE LIFERAFT or at least tied to it in a water proof bag.
For living aboard you want water carriers that are comfortable to carry (2 of 1 gallon each), a couple of gas rings with a couple of rechargeable gas bottles each, and a good cast iron frying pan plus stew/boiling pans for veg. My gran had divided sections that fitted into a boiling water pan, great for keeping flavours seperate but I haven't seen them in shops for years. Pressure cookers seem popular. Gas bottle size wants to be as big as you can carry and install in a vented, out of sight, locker. It's cheaper the bigger the bottle and you will get through quite a bit if you like being warm-ish of an evening.
A small fridge, well insulated, with wind+solar to keep it going and consider LED lighting for evenings, they considerably reduces battery use. (Still not legal for navigation lights.) Those strings of LEDS look a great way to provide deck lights for emergency night tasks on deck, and good for collision avoidance when anchored up.
And I would add one decent oil lamp for when everything goes out electrically. It's always possible , no matter how good your systems are.
If you are going to spend time at anchor you'll need a rigid canoe for easy trips ashore, and perhaps an inflatable for shifting stores. I really wanted a sailable dinghy for cruising, so much nicer than lugging outboards about, and a lot less likely to be stolen.
I really envy you the opportunity to live aboard. It's what I bought the Prout for, but she wouldn't. It's cheaper, by far, easy to relocate, a touring life is possible in fine weather, or not as you find places you want to be for longer periods. Paying out rent, taxes, heating, id far dearer ashore than it is on the water. It's not all plusses, but most of it is.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:38   #6
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Re: Help Me Get Started On The Right Foot !

I would learn to sail and get plenty of sailing experience before purchasing a boat. You will be much better educated with what type of boat suits your needs.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:48   #7
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Re: Help Me Get Started On The Right Foot !

I would agree heartily with David M for the simple reason that purchasing a large enough boat to comfortably live-aboard involves a lot of money. So "trying out" many different kinds and types of boats before you take the plunge can be a wallet saver.
- - However, to learn basic sailing and to have fun, buying a small, and I mean small, boat - less than $1K - can be very useful. You can use it and abuse it while learning how to sail.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:20   #8
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Re: Help Me Get Started On The Right Foot !

Thank you all for the great advice and help. You have given me a lot to think about and a lot to learn. We did have a Hobie cat that I had gone out a couple of times on. Was very small so we sold it now we have a Hobie Mirage Tandem Island 2012 ordered and we are waiting for it to come in. I do think also buying a small sailboat to learn on is important and have been looking for used ones to buy. I just don't want to wait till the last minute to learn I am the kind of person who feels that I need years of experience to make this happen and to feel comfortable with the idea of traveling all over the world by sailboat.

So again I look forward to seeing all your post and advice I can never get enough.

Thank you,
Michelle
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Old 05-09-2011, 13:13   #9
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Re: Help Me Get Started On The Right Foot !

Hate to say it but... Find a friend who is hauling out and be there for the duration. I suppose you don't have to wait for a friend. Maybe hang out till you see a boat you like the looks of where a woman is on board. If you help them in the yard you will be friends forever. Hopefully they are hauling for a pre sale or insurance survey and you can be a fly on the wall. Then read what the surveyor produces.

Find a library with back issues of Good Old Boat. Then you can check open Latitude 38 classy classified in one window and Yacht World in another and amuse yourself and dream for a while. Two musts are Compton's Boat Maintenance and Calder's Marine Mechanical and Electrical maintenance. (Maybe someone can help with the real titles) The cost of these books will help you to remember to use these books (and Cruisers Forum) before you start buying stuff (including a boat).
Everyone who stumbles past will have an opinion of what you should do and how to do it. I try to listen and then decide what makes sense to me while keeping everything as simple as possible.

I hope your progression away from "needing to be in control of any situation" to doing your best and trusting in the outcome will be painless.
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Old 05-09-2011, 13:30   #10
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Re: Help Me Get Started On The Right Foot !

LOL, maybe I should reword this statement.

"needs to be in control of any situation to feel safe"

I guess that did not sound good. I am by far not a control freak. I just like knowing everything and being prepared for all situations. I guess me being a Scorpio has something to do with it.

LOL
Michelle
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Old 05-09-2011, 14:32   #11
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Re: Help Me Get Started On The Right Foot !

Everything you wrote sounds great. Best of luck with your retirement. It will be here before you know it! BTW My wife is a Scorpio too. One of the best decisions I ever made. Jokinjoel.
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Old 05-09-2011, 20:25   #12
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Re: Help Me Get Started On The Right Foot !

Quote:
Originally Posted by mythicalfantasy View Post
. . . I guess me being a Scorpio has something to do with it.
LOL Michelle
Being a 5 planet Scorpio myself, I have a good grasp of what you are saying. And one of the best ways to learn to sail safely - besides reading all the books and reference material you can get your hands on - is to get a little 15ft to 18ft centerboard trailer sailboat.
- - You will learn about raising and lowering masts, the shrouds, stays and spreaders and what they do. You will learn about leeway under sail with the centerboard up or down. And you will learn how far you can "push" things and beyond without doing any damage to the boat or yourself. That is what I meant by "use it and abuse it." Being able to push the boat to its limit and beyond will give you a fine appreciation of why you don't want to do that in a big boat. You will also get to feel and know when the boat is approaching its limits in real life.
- - I had a 17ft Newport sailboat and removed everything from inside and filled the quarter berths with white styrofoam boards packed tight. Then I could take the boat out with students and let them "crash" the boat - spreader and sails in the water without fear of sinking or hurting anybody.
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Old 05-09-2011, 20:49   #13
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8 years is a long time. Slow down... Moving slow is a prerequisite to sailing the most useful thing you can do is save money, the second Is to get practice.

Buy a small boat and start daysailing. That fits your personality (as described) much better than crewing for someoneelse. You have 8 years! You'll be alright... The most difficult thing will be maintaining focus on your end goal for that period of time. Havig a small boat fills that gap in your life and establishes a focal point to effectivly grab ahold of.

That's the basics... Beyond that, since you have plenty of time, might as well start crewing whenever possible... I'd be happy to to take you for a weekend cruise on the Chesapeake and I'm sure you'll get many similar offers... Take advantage of them, but whatever you do, don't become a sailors wife! Keep your independance and stay focused on your goal,
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Old 05-09-2011, 21:39   #14
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Re: Help Me Get Started On The Right Foot !

I disagree with crazy...buy the boat you want, live aboard, learn to sail it and also what is it best and worst features. As a live aboard you will make changes to suit your needs, learn to do the repairs necessary (never ending), add or remove systems to make it a comfortable platform for you. By the time you set off you will know the best points of sail and what makes the boat go. You are right on track in my opinion.
Invite local sailors aboard for sailing trips of a few hours. I still do this on occasion, a few hours before dusk, watch the sunset, then have a light meal or snacks to discuss the other skippers ideas. Some have led to really great improvements in the boat or in my sail handling. Its a great way to learn to sail with different ideas bantered about and everybody has a good time.
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Old 05-09-2011, 22:00   #15
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I wasn't suggesting she buy a dinghy you could easily get a decent sized (23-28 just for example) boat for less than $5k and still accomplish what the others suggest. Meanwhile, you're maintaining focus on your goal in contrast to relying entirly on your imagination... Get a boat, absolutely... But don't go Overboard on it (both figuaratively and litterally!)... Just know it's a starter boat, take it ad a financial loss, and sail the **** out of it for the next 8 years

Maintaining focus is my main point. And I beleive it requires a boat I'd some sort as opposed to just saving and wating, or even crewing.
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