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Old 27-11-2011, 13:56   #16
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

I think the general idea is terrific. It will probably be a very memorable experience for your whole family but especially rich for your daughter.

Just as background, we knew essentially nothing about sailing or cruising when we started. We took a 3 week course along the south coast of England and one week in the caribbean, and then bought a boat and about 6 weeks later set off for a round the world trip. We made it, and then later did a second round the world trip. We learned a lot along the way. (lots of details on our website, in the footer of this post)

So, what you are suggesting is certainly not totally crazy.

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Originally Posted by The Cooks View Post
2-3 year trip starting on the east coast of canada and sailing down to the bahamas and onto the caribbean, we would like to spend 1 hurricane season in the rio dulce and the next in grenada, and in between see as many places as possible but with no rush.

Two things to note. First, its not so easy to get from the Rio Dulce to Grenada. It's upwind the whole way into pretty decent size waves. Its much much easier to go the other way. Second, unfortunately, perhaps the most difficult part of the whole trip will be getting down from Canada to the Caribbean. You want to plan this out carefully. You have avoid both hurricane season (June/jul-Oct/Nov) and not get into winter storms (Oct - onwards). So, Suggestion #1 is to buy some books to think about route planning. Jimmy Cornell's 'World cruising Routes' is the classic text, but also add a few specific to the east coast and caribbean to get extra flavor and see the dream more clearly.

approx $60000-$80000 for the sailboat and approx 38'-45' in length,

It can be done for that, but realize that is not a huge budget for a 38' ocean equipped boat. You will probably need to do some work on it yourself - hope you are handy. And you will have to work hard to resist all the people who say 'you simply have to have x and y and z or you will not be safe'. I can tell you that usually you really don't need x, y, or z but the safety/fear marketing is very successful in the marine/cruising business.

The only problem is we have never sailed!! I would of course get sailing lessons and when i buy the boat I would spend a couple of months getting to know the boat

From first hand experience, the sailing is the least difficult part of it all. You sound intelligent and thoughtful and will very soon get the hand of it. Basically you hoist the while triangles (sails) and pull the sheets in until the telltale's are flying and you are good to go !

Usually fixing the boat is the biggest challenge for those who are not boat builders and take up cruising later in life. There is a good reason that cruising is defined as 'fixing your boat in a series of exotic ports'. So, learn as much as you can about engines and electricity and fiberglass. That really even more important than the fine points of sailing.
We have already made about every mistake there is to be made along the plan you are talking and it was a wonderful ride. So, good luck!
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Old 27-11-2011, 14:27   #17
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Estarzinger thanks for the kind words of reassurance,you certainly didn't waste no time in putting a plan into action. I was a builder in the uk and now have my own truck so I know my way around diesel engines so I consider myself fairly handy. I will have a good read if your website and hopefully pick some good tips up.thanks
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Old 27-11-2011, 14:56   #18
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

No dream is all crazy! Just be deliberate in how you go about achieving it.

I'll second some of the key thoughts from others:

- learn. sail in small boats - preferably dinghies. Nothing teaches you how to work with wind and waves like a small boat. Being confident in sail trim and how to move the boat is a huge plus.
- charter. If you can, go with friends who already know about sailing. You'll learn a ton from them an learn whether or not you enjoy the time on the water
- read. blogs, books, magazines. Everything you can. But note that reading is no substitute for experience.

Lastly - don't let the homeschooling worry you at all. We homeschooled both our kids all the way til they left for college. Both did great. We know lots of folks who have homeschooled on both land and water. Lots of positives.

Keep on dreaming!
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Old 27-11-2011, 14:58   #19
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Aside from everything mentioned, I'd wonder just how easily it will be to rent your house and how easy will it be to get back into your house when you return? How much possible damage could be caused by tenants as well.

The other possible problem (at least could be in the US, not sure about Canada) would be if the tenants refused to leave. I know evicting here in the US can often be quite difficult. I'd just be very careful in choosing tenants, but that can limit the market as well.

I've thought about this myself, but wonder quite a bit how easy it would be to rent our house.
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Old 27-11-2011, 15:33   #20
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Well, who da thunk it, Saskatchewan has a Yacht Club. I don't know how they got some of those boats to that lake, but they did.

Are you near Lake Diefenbaker? Long and narrow, but judging by the size of the boats in the classifieds, (all around 30') it looks like a sweet little lake to sail on.

Lake Diefenbaker Yacht Club

I wouldn't suggest buying one of the listed ones, but you could certainly tow a $5,000 27' footer from Lake Winnipeg and plop her at the yc. Sell it in two years for whatever you can get, (sailboats are easy to buy, hard to sell). Then again the yc may have more boats for sail than listed. In such a small market it might be best to look now before spring fever hits, and the good ones are gone.

And who doesn't like a $90 a year yacht club membership fee?
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Old 27-11-2011, 15:35   #21
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Chris, The plan certainly is not crazy, but why not take the bigger risks out of the plan? Most cruisers would agree that the worst scenarios while cruising come with the commitment to be at a specific destination at a designated time. If you were to buy your boat in the Chesapeake with it's big market and protected cruising ground; then, you would begin with short crusing trips selecting the best of weather and plenty of safe harbors. You can continue to hone your skills through the protected sounds,- Albemarle, Pamlico & Neuse River down to Beaufort, where you can choose to make short, good weather offshore passages to Little River, Charleston, Port Royal Sound, Savannah, Brunswick, St. Marys, St. Johns, etc.. All easy fair weather hops down the East Coast and always with the option of ICW passages or remaining at anchor in foul weather. This pattern of learning and fair weather cruising can continue down through the Bahamas. Here, now with much experience, you can make the decision to work your way east to the Lesser Antilles or cruise to the western Caribbean. Most would leave the Chesapeake in september or october so that they would remain in locations with safe harbors available during the end of hurricane season and enter Florida waters by early november. Some insurance providers will regulate how far south you may cruise before the hurricane season ends, though we have no such restrictions. We regularly cruise from Maine to the Bahamas and casually take as long as three or four months, but we are notoriously slow and enjoy that choice. If you add to your plan, the freedom not to commit to a destination, you will greatly increase your potential for success.
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Old 27-11-2011, 17:46   #22
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Plan sounds doable - whether you can is down to.....you But FWIW you sound like you have your head screwed on , and are solvent unlike many of those who turn up on CF . And even some of them make it "out there"

FWIW I would differentiate between learning to sail (starting is easy - to sail well is the harder bit), learning to be a Skipper (being in the hot seat gives a different perspective on every decision) and what being a boat owner involves (often involving fixing things. or paying out money )............albeit of course plenty of overlap.

I wouldn't wait until you own the boat before getting some sailing time in - the sailing basics you can learn in an afternoon (White flappy things go on the large stick ).....what will take a little bit longer is getting a handle on your unknowns (don't have to know it all to start your voyage, just to be aware that you have shortcomings on the experiance front) - and then it's off on the never ending learning curve everyone else is on..............

Probably a good idea to take a few sailing courses in your home waters (including Navigation). and ideally for the Missus to do the same (with or without you ). Remember that if you fall overboard she will have to do everything you can - might not want to day to day, but IMO should know what she needs to do. That or train up the 5 yo

I would also consider getting a cheap Dinghy (as a Tender for later?) that can be sailed. and then simply getting time on the water.
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Old 27-11-2011, 18:06   #23
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

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Originally Posted by Chrisgo View Post
It sounds like out of about 100 or so boats that tried to get to the islands over the last month or so, maybe 2/3 's made it. Some were abandoned, some turned back to South Carolina, and tragically one person lost her life. Those are some pretty scary odds. The idea of buying down there seams a lot more prudent to me now.

Could you please post links to the stories you mention? You are talking about the Bahamas right?
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Old 27-11-2011, 18:07   #24
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Getting some really helpful post so thankyou and keep them coming, I think santa is going to buy me a little sailboat this year whilst the snows on the ground and there cheap, chrisgo just checked out the yacht club and that will be our haunt for the next two years..cheers.
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Old 27-11-2011, 18:12   #25
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Only problem I see is that you may never want to come back Many wish they had done the same thing you are contemplating when they had children but decided to wait, me included. The experience with and for the children will be the best education they could ever receive. It will teach them patience, tolerance, problem solving, living within ones means, and of course the cultural experience.
I like the Chesapeake idea spending a few months there working your way down the coastline.
Jet skiers make it to the Bahamas, so can you...and by the time you get there the family can decide if it is all it is cracked up to be, worse case they fly home you follow and you sail part time or sell boat. Follow your dream.
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Old 27-11-2011, 18:20   #26
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

More than sailing you will require knowledge in piloting. For what you want to do you will seldom be out of sight of land for long. Check your local Power Squadron, they run some good courses. Sailing will come to you. It's not that difficult although, when I started, I said, in jest, I would give myself ten years to learn. Twenty years later I'm still learning.
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Old 27-11-2011, 18:24   #27
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Sure, go for it.

My parents took me and 2 siblings around the world with no previous experience outside Moreton Bay. Learnt a few things along the way and survived.

My sister was only 3 months old when we left on that trip, but 30 years later she bought a cat in California with her husband and 2 toddlers under 4 years old and sailed it back to Oz last year. Her husband knew his way around a tinnie and could fish but not much about sailing. My sister had learnt nothing while a toddler on the first trip, but grew up around boats. But they are both smart, careful and learnt along the way.

The challenge is not actually about sailing - it is more about the mental attitude to facing any challenge and a steep learning curve.

The Bumfuzzles, Evans and Beth, my parents, sister and brother-in-law, etc, etc, etc, all did similar quick, fast learning curves while on their way. So if you are careful and smart, just go for it. If you are a little casual and not the sharpest knife in the drawer (sorry, but I donīt know you!), take a bit more time to feel your way.

But remember from the Bumfuzzle tale that you may very well cop a hammering from this same forum if you do it too quickly. The posters here tend to hand out advice about heading off but donīt like it when people follow through too quickly. Students beating the teachers always leave the teachers feeling a little impotent!
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Old 27-11-2011, 18:40   #28
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

Hi,
I hold a USCG 50T Master with Sail endorsement, ASA instructor and current TWIC,

ISAF SaS, STCW, CPR, First Aid/AED and drug screen credentials.
I am also a certified SCUBA diver and private pilot.
Excellent mechanical/electrical skills.
My experience ranges from Laser Pico dingy to 12M AC Grand Prix yachts, one designs and displacement cruisers. I am very familiar with east coast waters and routes from MA to FL (outside and ICW) as well as the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

I specialize in helping new owners learn to sail their boat and I will assume any role that you wish. Make the investment in a professional that will teach you the basics and mentor while you practice the skills and gain the hands on experience.

I am located in NY/NJ but will travel!
Available for crew and deliveries.
Please reply directly to the email below if your need still exists and you want a professional.

[personal contact info removed - send PM for email address and phone number - TJ]

Cheers,

Steve
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Old 27-11-2011, 18:55   #29
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

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Sure, go for it.

Students beating the teachers always leave the teachers feeling a little impotent!
However, a good teacher will want their students to excel beyond their wildest dreams! I'm with you on this one--"sure, go for it."
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Old 27-11-2011, 18:57   #30
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Re: Is 'this' Plain Crazy ?!

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Thanks for all your comments and advice, if the realism of the plan took me 5 years it wouldn't be a problem. I would not risk my family members if I weren't competent in sailing no matter how long it takes, we are off to caribbean in febuary so we are going to look into the charter holidays whilst we are down there, my first priority of course is my family so we must all enjoy sailing or its a no go situation. I agree there's not many sailboats for sale in Saskatchewan but I travel quite a bit with work and I could organize to get to the places where I need to if I was serious about a boat. We have had many offshore trips for seafishing as we are from the uk and we always loved it out on the water and just want more,anyway I will stop rambling on and once again I do not think anyone rude and appreciate the feedback. Thanks...chris

Here's the thing -- and take it from someone who just promoted herself from "beginner" to "intermediate" sailor ... time on water counts. It counts a LOT. You can "learn" all sorts of skills but until you've had to use those skills in a variety of circumstances, they aren't completely yours.

You have be zen about this -- it's about the journey (learning about sailing) as well as the destination (taking a specific trio).
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