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Old 02-12-2019, 05:15   #1
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Advice from wiser minds

Hello,
I am looking for words of wisdom from older heads than myself. I am here of course because I want to buy a boat and sail away. Often with posts like this I see people not put enough detail to really get helpful advise on their scenario so I guess Ill just put out my life story and see what you guys have to offer.

After high school I join the Navy and served 5 years. Oddly enough I never saw more of a ship than anyone person on a public tour. I was a corpman so instead of a ship, after time in a hospital I was sent to a Marine Corps Battalion. 3/7I for those curious. I say this not for platitudes but so you guys understand a bit about me. I'm no stranger to hard work, making do with little to nothing, and making things happen because they must be done. I got out about 2 years ago. I have a good job that pays enough and I get money from the VA for going to college. Despite being well enough off I am bored, restless and not having fun at all. Work day in and out for an apt I dont care about and all. No wife or kids and only a car loan and some 5k-ish in misc debt. Im not senitmental and have mostly lived in barracks so all Id have to get rid of is bed, counch, tv. Not enough risk to life or limb currently I guess. I live in Seattle. My parents and sibling live nearby also. To try to focus the advise coming in-
1: I am looking to test myself, while I dont want to waste time or money this is not about taking the easiest route. Ill take the harder road if the Inn at the end is nicer.
2: I want a gaff rigged schooner. I have seen a couple ones that I'm looking at. I will be solo sailing but again, this isnt about easy. I do want to sail around the world but I want to do it in the boat I want to be in, not the most convient.
3: The average LOA is around 40'. I know this is getting big. Maybe more than I know. But I know people can and do Solo bigger. It can be done and so I can do it.
4: I will do anything and everything I can myself. Not out of cheapness but because I want too.
5: "Damn the torpedos"

Most of the boats I'm looking for that I see are on the east coast which really presents my biggest dilema. We will call Maine home port for any east coast boat Im looking at. It kind of comes down to staying here or going there.

I would like to stay here for various reasons. Though I've done it before, I wont claim to know how to sail. I wont know how to sail the boat I buy more specifically too. I want to learn around here as the PWN is on my list to explore. I do want to hit all the island and the BC coast. Id like to practice my sailing around here until I start down the coast and eventually to HI when Im ready for a big trip. Then I can start to work my way down the west coast and around. My job here is easy, pays well and is at night so I'd have the days to do whatever I needed. My college is also here and while I can do my whole program online I get more than double the monthly stipend from the VA when I attend one actual class in the college so even though it costs more here, it makes more too. My family is here so if I need to I can stay with them during a period I couldnt be on the boat. Any intial refitting, upgrading and refurbishing would be easier as I would have access to the tools and work space to build, fabricate or fix more or less anything I could need too. Also I'd be able to stay in my apt while doing any work on the boat until its ready to live on.

Moving to the east coast would be a bit harder. I would probably keep my truck. I bought it new and I love it so I wouldnt sell it till I was going gone. I do have some friends on the east coast but not nearly the resources I have here. I dont know the waters here anyways so it doesnt really matter where I learn to sail. I would have to be moving right into a boat and if I needed to stay off of it to do cabin work or something that would be harder over there also. It would save me trying to move a boat across the US though.

So buying the boat I have my eye on would mean a long distance buy. It does require some maitnence before floating again. Transom planking that needs replacing and some few other similar projects. Survey says once this maitnence is done this craft would be a good marine risk. So I could see if a local shipyard can do the work, or the marina. If I had to load the boat to send it to a shipyard from the marina might it not be better to just ship it here to the PWN and have the work done at a yard that could then just put it right into the water? Land vs sea shipping? Heard stories about both.

Ive actually typed all this out once before but the page messed up and I lost it all so this is round two. My first post had some stuff I'm missing here but this is a ton and probably most wont read it all so any advise helps. Thanks all.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:21   #2
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

I remember the part I forgot. Lol. I also was looking for knowledge in financing as a private person or a company. I could start a company to do this under. I plan on mostly working remotely but I am ADCI certified commerical diver. I can weld, burn and do all sorts of things underwater with hard hat and surface air. Also have various certs in scuba. I thought about maybe "starting" a dive company in order to pick up extra work along the travals. Could help with both the boat as well as personal insurance and the like for doing work while traveling. An acutal company for those that dont want to work under the table or perhaps being a hired company would be safer for me working, insurance wise and all if I got hurt. I could easily pick up the cert for Dive med tech also if that could be helpful. Also I would want a cat. So thoughts on that. Thanks again.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:27   #3
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

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!!
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:01   #4
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

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!
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:56   #5
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Another Navy vet chiming in...

I would suggest that you sign up for some trips with a crewfinding service like CrewFinder.net. 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
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:58   #6
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Quote:
Originally Posted by FAST FRED View Post

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

.
This is simply not true.

My KP 46 has 356 sq ft and it is easily hoisted nearly to the top then finished off with a two speed manual winch.

I used to single hand an Alden 54 with 456 sq ft on the main, again same thing, a two speed manual winch after hand over hand about half way up.


My wife and I sailed an 80' cutter around the world. it had harken cars on the full battened main, It required a winch after about a third of the hoist.

All of these boats had jiffy reefing, all lines were led to the base of the mast for ease of use. All were easy to hoist, douse, reef, and.. well stowing the main on the 80' was a thrill... all boats had lazy jacks.

But... a gaffer is something else. You are not only hoisting the sail, you are hoisting the gaff. Most have a double or even triple purchase to hoist.

I met a couple in Tahiti who had a 50' Alden Schooner, made of concrete. Amazed me how nice a boat she was. It was a frenchman and his girlfriend, and she did most of the work. She could hoist the main on that boat, I witnessed that very time they sailed.

Gaff Schooners are great downwind boats, look wonderful and are full of nostalgia and romance. But, will take a lot longer if the destination is very far forward of the beam. My advise would be to not limit yourself to on type of rig in your search for a boat.

One other thing, people seem to think anything over 40' is a big boat. It is not. They are faster, have more room, just as easy to handle as a 30 or 35 foot boat. But.. one tends to add more gear when there is room and the maintenance and price of gear goes up exponentially. Time and money are more the limits on size than ease of handling.

Good luck in your adventure!

M
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:41   #7
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

If you are interested in tradititional gaff rig the I can recoment a book called 'hand, reef and steer'. Seatly will be an ideal place to learn to sail but if you are not buying locally you will either need to get the boat delivered overland or hire a delivery skipper, the Washington coast is no place for a novice! 40ft is a very large boat for a single person prepared to live a modist lifestyle. 32-35ft over the deck is plenty big enough and much easier to handle but it would be a gaff cutter not a schooner. A 40-45ft traditional gaff schooner will be a challege solo, it's possible but needs very careful setup and very good sailing skills.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:44   #8
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

PS I am just accross the water on Vancouver Island and love traditional boats, did my coastal skipper exams on a 45ft gaff schooner (with a crew of 5!)
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:08   #9
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

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 CanadianListed.com, 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.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:19   #10
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

MM:
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.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:22   #11
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Man, boats cost money. Lot's of it. So, the bigger the boats are the cost goes up exponentially. You also don't know yet what it feels like to be out in bad weather on a boat. It can incapacitate even the hardened veteran sailors.

Baby steps....from "what about Bob"....you have time to learn the things necessary for making good sound judgement calls later. Yes, gaff rigged schooners will catch any sailor's eye. Doesn't mean they are a good boat ...or even more importantly...a good boat to maintain financially. Don't be the fool who rushes in due to emotions and later finds out what a huge mistake that was...and maybe not even be able to unload the boat.

Wooden boats are a special niche in the yachting world. I'm a decent enough carpenter and have rebuilt 3 houses from top to bottom. But I wouldn't want to take on one of them. Nothing is plumb, straight, or bob. They are huge labors of love. They are high maintenance and sexy as hell. But at my age I just can't see myself doing all of that and enjoying it. It is something that you really have to deeply reflect upon.

You asked for help from older guys and gals. You have a truck. Buy a trailer sailor. Can truck that boat to any venue from Ketchikan to Sea of Cortez to Great Lakes, to Bahamas, to Maine....You want adventure...you don't have to have a 100,000 dollar ...live in the water full year accumulating slip fees and all the attendant problems of brine...insurance...and such. You would be surprised at all the places you can sail from when you have a truck and a trailer. Those fellas who have non trailerable boats are limited to sailing venues by how much vacation time they have. You are still a working fella. Check out youtube trailer sailing...plenty of fellas doing it.

Have fun...sailing is just the biggest adventure and will see many places and interesting things....meet great folks...nature and mother earth so wonderful...
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:22   #12
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

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![/QUOTE]


I second this. Get a small 30 footer and maybe some partners to make it even less expensive. Take some Courses and learn the basics then see if you can get on a race crew. This might help with the restlessness. Spend 2-3 years saving while you do this. Immersion learning is great and it may change your mind about your ultimate boat
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:21   #13
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Yet another Navy vet...
I bought a cheap 30 footer when I was enlisted in the mid 2000s. Literally sailed it until the keel fell off. Not because it was fast and I had a sense for the elements but because I was new and made a lot of mistakes even though I did the research and thought I knew enough. At 12K, it was easy to get out from under that boat with a lot more experience under my belt. I would have been devastated if I had actually bought my dream boat and "learned" on that. It really is good advice to start with something less expensive and smaller to learn with. You have plenty of time to grow into a gaff rigged schooner. Take it. There are plenty of challenges learning on a simpler rig that should keep you interested and perk up your life for awhile. Don't give up the dream but also don't rush into it.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:49   #14
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

In fact the best way to learn to sail is in a 12-16ft open boat. Either a centre boad dingy or something with a weighted keel. You can add a boom tent for camping on weekend trips and a small outboard or trolling motor for power. These boats are fun and way more responsive than a full keel boat so you get lots of feedback and it really teaches you how sails work. Would be quite up to exploring the sound and out to the gulf islands. Big plus is they are really cheap and will get you on the water now.
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Old 02-12-2019, 13:29   #15
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Re: Advice from wiser minds

Hi. Dont know about wiser but at 73 with 4 adult sons am definitely older. Buying a boat is a big deal. strongly suggest you learn to sail by crewing for other people (at virtually no cost) first - strongly agree 16 footer plus is good idea - learn about sail trim then move up to bigger boats.
When you have done that & racked up 1000 plus miles you will be much better placed to make informed decision about what kind of sailing you want to do & what kind of boat to do it in. Good luck.
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