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Old 02-12-2019, 18:10   #16
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

I love classic boats.
Pay cash (no financing) and have a third of that in cash for the boat. If you are extremely lucky if it won't cost more.

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Old 02-12-2019, 19:11   #17
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

You don't have to own the boat to go sailing. Join a crew on the type of vessel and journey that interests you.

But get your degree first. It will serve you well in the future. Its an investment in yourself.

While doing your degree, save your money. Pay off those debts. Can you live with family instead of paying rent?

There are lots of boats out there looking for crew, some for passages, some ongoing. Lots of tall ships especially, since they run on manpower. Explore some of those...lots of links online and on FB.

And finally, put aside your narrow expectations of boat size, rig, location...see what opportunities are out there, and join one. Life doesn't need to be a struggle, don't make it one...every boat and every opportunity is a compromise, unless maybe you have a truck load of money, which you do not (nor do I!).

Dream big, live big. Sail.

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Old 02-12-2019, 20:40   #18
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Welcome aboard MuffinMan.
Yet another Navy Corpsman vet here.
Much good advise already given buy a old plastic boat
and learn to sail/repair her.

You mentioned "wood transom planking replacing" on a boat you are considering in your post.
Also having a "local yard do the work."
As I get to crew, help maintain and play on a few old wood boats I find qualified shipwrights are far and few between. (Just helped sail
a very special wood boat 80 miles back home after she came all that way to be hauled and bottom worked on by the right shipwright.)
Equals $$.
Also crew on a old wood gaff rigged sloop about the size (40 ft on deck) you are considering. And I get to manhandle the main. There are usually 3 of us. Would not want to single hand her. And man hours add up with repairs/commissioning.
(Christeen/Oyster bay, N.Y.)
s/v Little Jumps
Lancer 30
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Old 02-12-2019, 22:20   #19
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Cut the size of the boat to something under 40', well under. 30' would be a minimum for long term live aboard or cruising. Mid 30' would be ideal for living space if you pick up a crew yet still small enough to easily single hand AND AFFORD.

Boats are expensive and way more so as they get larger. I'm downsizing into a 28' boat and last haul out cost more than $2,000 for bottom job and some work they wouldn't let me do myself. Slip fees are $5,000 a year and would be nearly $7,000 for a 40'. That is if you could get a 40' as the waiting list is years for boats that size but shorter to non existent for smaller slips in my area.

Split rigs don't make sense on boats under 40' and the Schooner rig is the least efficient split rig. When I was about your age used to lust after a rotting Alden Schooner that was at the end of the pier my plastic fantastic sloop was on. Fortunately the galvanized fastenings were bleeding rust all over the topsides with a lot of iron sickness and the stem was rotten. Even I was smart enough to realize its problems were terminal. Still, nearly brought me to tears when they towed it out to sink it for a fish aggregation reef.

Find yourself an older fiberglass boat with a good low hour diesel, no deck core rot, and serviceable equipment. Spend a year or so fixing what must be fixed, adding equipment as you can afford it, and save money for the cruising kitty.

Wish you luck in you quest.
Peter O.
'Ae'a, Pearson 35
'Ms American Pie', Sabre 28 Mark II
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Old 03-12-2019, 00:08   #20
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Thanks for all the great and helpful responces. Im sure you all are right and Im thinking too big too fast. I suspected as much. I always hated buy beginner or entry things since i learn fast and it usually doesnt end up saving me money but I'm sure you guys are right here. There are plenty of amazing boats are the PWN. I've been browsing them for a while now but there are a few that look good. If I narrow out a few Ill put up some links to get some thoughts on them. I appreciate everyones thoughts and help so far.
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Old 03-12-2019, 00:21   #21
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Originally Posted by Dr. D View Post
MM: Greetings from another veteran corpsman! My four year tour was a while ago (1970's). After training, I spent the rest of my tour aboard the USS Yosemite (AD-19) out of Mayport, FL.

For my sailing background, I've knocked around in small boats off and on for decades. While in the Navy, then afterwards working as a contractor, I accumulated about 25,000 nm crossing oceans. I've seen a lot of ocean. Which is why I prefer coastal cruising.

Around 20 years ago the thought popped in my head to learn to ride motorcycles. I took lessons in riding. I bought a used 800cc single cylinder bike. I learned to maintain it and to ride it. Sold that bike and got a faster one. After 10 years I started doing track days. A few years after that I bought one of the fastest production bikes. The electronic aids on modern bikes help, but my experience and insights from previous situations help more to keep the shiny side up.

I think I understand your goals. My advice would be to start like you did with diving, learn the basics thoroughly, then work up.

Buy an older, poorly maintained version of a popular boat in the 28' to 30' range. Lean to sail the hell out of it. Learn to fix all the systems on the boat. The PNW is a great place to start your adventure as there are so many sailing challenges there. Work up to sailing out onto the northern Pacific for a week.

Then decide if your goals are the same. If they are, then you are prepared to leap forward. If they are not, then that is OK. We all change over time.

Finish your degree!
Its funny you mention motorcycles. First thing I did when i got to A school was buy myself a motorcycle, even though your not allowed to ride in schools. Spent time taking street bikes up and down canyons, tracks and then went to dirt for a while.

Originally Posted by George DuBose View Post
Another Navy vet chiming in...

I would suggest that you sign up for some trips with a crewfinding service like There are dozens of these services and most require that one pay one's own transportation to and from the boat. Sometimes they want money for food and beverages, sometimes not.

This is one way to learn what sailing is about and also experience the operation of different models.

My advice would be to buy a 26-30 footer which these days can be had for 2-10000 bucks and learn to sail. A 40 foot two masted schooner is going to be a handful and the more experience one has the easier it will be to handle.

I bought a 36 foot sloop after moving up from a 26 footer and although it was only 10 feet longer, it took me a couple of seasons for us to get comfortable with each other.

Keep in mind that buying a boat is one thing, renovating a boat is another. Don't give up your day job too soon...

See you on the water, sooner or later,

George DuBose
Thanks a bunch for the link to this site. Ill will look at it and see what crewing oppertunities I may be able to take up in the near future. This does sound like an excellent way to get out on the water, meet the community and start to gain some knowledge and skills.

Originally Posted by Paul Howard View Post
Look at the (late) Tom Colvin designs, he was simplicity itself in his philosophy and designs and ease of sailing.
Many of his designs were built in steel, some gaff schooner rig and some chinese junk schooner with a jib and other sail configurations.
Two of his most built designs, either professionally or home-built were the Gazelle and the Saugeen Witch, though there are several others. Colvin always said 55 to 60degrees off the wind was the most comfortable angle to sail when going to windward offshore, so he designed his boats to sail well at that angle. He single handed his vessels, some without an engine, until well into his 70's.
I had a friend with a Gazelle (42ft) that I sailed on and another friend with a 34ft ft. Tamarak schooner, both easy to sail and well mannered boats, both steel hulls.

Michael Kasten, Oak Harbour, WA, is contact person for the Metal Boat society.
There are two Colvin gaff schooners listed on: Classifieds - Local listings at, a Tamarak design and a Saugeen witch design, both under 35ft on deck, one at about $30,000.00 and the other at $19+k, assuming Canadian Dollars, cut that by about 1/3 for USD.
They are located near Victoria, B.C.
Thanks a bunch for this info. I will check out these links. I like simplicty. Im not interested in having something crazy fancy with every luxury you can possibly squeeze. I just want to adventure.

Originally Posted by Hoodsail View Post
So if i am doing the math correctly, you are 25 yrs old. 1st, use your VA benefit and go to college and get an undergraduate degree - hey, its only 48 months going full-time (might get it in 36 months with summer school). Might ignite your interest in a particular subject & relieve some of the boredom. College might have a sailing team...Doing this later in life (your 30's & beyond) is much more difficult. Would heed earlier advice, re: smaller/cheaper boat to start with and Crewfinders to gather sailing experience. Cant speak to a gaff rigged schooner....been on a couple but never sailed in earnest or maintained one. Good luck to ya, from maybe a wiser mind, but definitely a much older one.
Yea just turned 26 last month so your math is pretty spot on. I am already about half way through my degree. Personally I dont have a lot of interest in college but the check in the box is required so here I am. I figured it got harder. Big part of why Im on this now. I have a level of freedom that likley wont come around again. No wife or kids, very little bill or expenses. No other anchor like life issues to keep me from leaving for a couple of years.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:02   #22
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

A couple of incoherent coffee thoughts:

1) Size to single hand. With decent sail handling gear, you can rethink the size to single hand. I have a friend in Mallorca who several times a week single hands his Hanse 630 (20 meters long) for FUN. But his sticking point is docking/med mooring. He called for my help on VHF a number of times coming into the harbor alone, or relied on passersby and calm days, or he was stuck at anchor till things settled down. Docking single hand is where the size issue will bite you but good. If you anchor almost all the time, or anchor all season then in one marina all winter, then no worries. If you are gonna be coming and going a lot from marinas, I'd go smaller.

2) That said, I'm not a fan of buying a learner boat (unless you're talking an optimist for 500 bucks to learn to feel the wind). You never make money selling a boat. You lose it. You don't want to overstretch but you (like us were) are talking about a boat to call your home. I sailed a decent amount in my life, but by no means a huge amount. Our first (and last) boat is a 53 foot Amel. It was exactly what we knew we needed, and 2 years on, we were right.

Good luck!
3 cats, 3 queers, endless wake, endless love!
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:46   #23
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Originally Posted by Sojourner View Post
2) That said, I'm not a fan of buying a learner boat (unless you're talking an optimist for 500 bucks to learn to feel the wind). You never make money selling a boat. You lose it. You don't want to overstretch but you (like us were) are talking about a boat to call your home. I sailed a decent amount in my life, but by no means a huge amount. Our first (and last) boat is a 53 foot Amel. It was exactly what we knew we needed, and 2 years on, we were right.

Good luck!
That was something that I had been considering. While I know there is a lot to learn and a larger risk to the boat your in while learning I never liked to buy beginner or learner gear. I do a lot of things like MTB, snowboard, surf. I learn fast and while I'm not rich or anything by any means I dont like to buy cheap equipment. I learn fast. Since you really only ever lose money on a boat I would hate to buy a "beginner boat" for sake of ease and then be stuck either trying and unable to get rid of it or upside down on it. I'd rather struggle more in the beggining and already be in a nice cruiseable boat on the back end. Maybe its not always the best way to go about things but (being a diver) Id rather just jump in the water rather than try to inch my way and adjust.
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:09   #24
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

I am an 80 y old, Italian chemical engineer, I sail since I was 30.
I became a professional in the sailing field, becoming the importer of a well-known shipyard in Italy.
As for anybody, I feel the sailor's main concern is safety.
The two worst possible happenings for a sailor are SINKING or FIRE.
So, since 1990, my boat is unsinkable, and cannot catch fire.
There is a brand "ETAP" , of Belgian boats, not in production any more, which used to produce marvellous well made beautiful comfortable and fast sailboats, really UNSINKABLE !!!
They sold a few also in the US. Try to find one of those models, a used one, of course. E.g. the following: 28i, 28s, 30i, 32i, 32s, 34s ...I would stop here.
Then, use the following rules:
1) no smoking, no fires, no gas bottles, no fuel lights ;
2) cook using those fantastically safe and efficient ORIGO stainless steel alcohol stoves. I own one since 1999, since then I never went back to liquid gas stoves as I used before: origo is much much much better and safer.
3) I have revised (actually re-made) all electrical circuits using wider cable sections, rapid fuses and other current interruption devices (mostly magneto-thermical) which should eliminate any possible fire in case of short-circuits. I have efficient ways to discharge lightening from mast top to the sea.

You may contact me if you want more details.
Best wishes
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:34   #25
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
Id rather just jump in the water rather than try to inch my way and adjust.
two comments/suggestions

1. there are some amazing adventures to be had sailing right north from you - circumnavigating Vancouver island is very interesting, going further north up the 'inside channels' is spectacular, Alaska is amazing, the Aleutian island are a 'big boy' adventure, and the NPW is one of the ultimate adventure things you can do on a boat. So you have it all right at your doorstep. And you can do all that in a quite small quite simple boat. And you can take it in small steps. And there is decent 'repair and safety coverage' for at least the first few steps. Potentially summers off from school would be enough time to do something amazing.

2. the advice to go slow with the boat is sensible . . . . however, I will say that I personally did not follow it. I essentially read about a dozen books, bought a 'bluewater boat' and set sail across an ocean. Like you I figured I learned fast and how hard could it be (and this was back in the days when you had to learn celestial to go offshore). It did all work out in the end, but I did make several pretty bad mistakes (did learn from them) and was decently lucky. I later (after a couple of oceans on my own) joined a racing crew, worked bow, and that's really when I learned to sail. The net of all that is that I would definitely encourage you to truly challenge and stretch yourself, don't settle for 'easy' stuff, but equally, don't pass up opportunities to learn from people who really have experience and know what they are doing (which JFYI a lot of weekend sailors, and a lot of self-described 'experts', don't really know) .

The sailing itself is not rocket science, but seamanship is much much more than sailing. Weather alone is a vast topic, as is emt/first aid/remote medical care, and engine repair, and proper rigging and rope work, etc. And then there is just a whole 'feel for seamanship/safety' thing - some of which can be learned, but some of it is simply intuition and some people have it and others just don't.
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:49   #26
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

I'm in the "buy your second boat first" camp. You'll adapt and learn.
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:07   #27
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

contact sid,he is looking for crew on his classic gaffer to sail from australia to denmark.
my catamaran building project updates
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Old 04-12-2019, 03:27   #28
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Does anyone have a take on double enders? Among other boats I am seeing a couple of Ingrids that look nice. Anyone have knowledge of Ingrids in general? I found this much already.
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Old 04-12-2019, 16:04   #29
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Hi MuffinMan I am in Portugal and have been searching for a boat and stumbled on this ad.

Not sure if it suits you but if adventure is what you are after try contacting this guy in Italy seems like he has a loved boat that he wants to sell at a good price to a younger sailor to keep on loving it.
It has been with them 35 years I am sure you could work out a deal to store it until you finished school. Then jump right in new language, country everything then try and get back with the boat!
Learn in the Med for a year or so then if you love the life and that one is too small upgrade buy a boat in Malta, Turkey or somewhere giving good deals on the dream boat. With all your skills you would get work easy along the way.

Ok maybe not wiser but an option to consider...adventure right?
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Old 04-12-2019, 16:41   #30
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Originally Posted by FAST FRED View Post
Schooners do not usually go to windward really well so a larger diesel is better than a tiny one.

About 300SQ ft is as large as one person can work ( hoist, reef and flake) a mainsail.

A powered windlass (hyd is best) will be a great assist if single handed.

An autopilot and a self steering setup will help at all times..

Simplicity is key , what you dot have , you don't have to fix.

Have fun!!
300? My main is 500 square feet and a piece of cake to handle. Yes, an electric winch makes it even easier. If the reefing is set up well itís very simple.

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