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Old 09-07-2009, 11:29   #1
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Call Me Whatever - Here's the Plan

You can call me insane. You can call me stupid. But you can’t call me chicken.
The plan: My plan is to buy 36’ cat (w/survey) and commence to sailing around the Bahamas.
Background: I’ve never owned a sailboat nor have I ever sailed. I have owned power boats from 18’ to 34’ for most of my life life. I’m very familiar with getting around in marinas, securing, anchoring and mooring. I understand the need redundancy in equipment. I understand how weather can turn everything bad with a moment’s notice.
About me: My business (construction) is kaput. My youngest is going to college in the fall. My wife’s business is doing well and she says “do whatever”. I’m a very “hands on” guy and come equipped with more common sense than most. I am capable (and experienced) of understanding/repairing/maintaining almost anything. I have pursued many many adventures. Sailing is the next in the series.
The Crash Course: My plan for crash course training is to one of two plans: Plan #1 (wing it) - take a few sailing lessons in Florida and then hang out at the harbor in Nassau. See if I crew for free until I get my sea legs (or fins). Plan #2 – Hire an experienced skipper to pilot the boat for awhile.
What do you think? Feel free to call me whatever, just not chicken.

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:40   #2
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Well Whatever...both plans sound sound enough to me and a lot saner than a lot of first timers....go for it!

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:41   #3
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Mark, you have experience on boats, I like option number 1.
Beth leonard did the same thing
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:55   #4
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Go for it. Option #1. Go down to Biscayne and hang out and follow another boat across the Gulf Stream, once across you're in heaven! A cat is perfect for the Bamamas. To my way of thinking the Bahamas are the best of the caribe... dont hang around Nassau, go to Georgetown or somewhere else... Oh and you better go back and visit your wife now and then...!
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:34   #5
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Don't waste your time and money hiring an experienced skipper. Take a week's lessons from a school (take the keelboat classes not the dinghy classes) and go for it.
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Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:56   #6
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3 years ago I did exactly the same thing. I had almost never sailed,had power boats,have been on and off the water almost all my life,and we went ahead and bought a 36' Cat. We took delivery of the boat in the french antilles and sailed her back to Tampa with the help of a young french sailor....So I would say there is nothing crazy about living your dreams as long as you use common sense in your decisions which to tell you the truth I am not sure any of us are using common sense when purchasing a boat......but that is another story.Go for it.
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Old 09-07-2009, 13:04   #7
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You can do it. Take some lessons and go at a pace you are comfortable with. Have fun.
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Old 09-07-2009, 13:10   #8
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If you ideas are crazy, welcome to the asylum, you are amongst your own kind Life is too short not to chase your dreams.
happy adventures, go for it,
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Old 09-07-2009, 13:46   #9
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There's only one thing wrong with your approach: you care what we think.

Go for it.
s/y Eagle's Wings— Catalina 30 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." — G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 09-07-2009, 13:48   #10
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Yes go for it (forget aboit hiring a capitan)

Seems the mood on this site has changed lately to the "do it" from the "wait and gain experience". :-)
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Old 09-07-2009, 14:39   #11
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I would concur with Vasco. A weeks practical keelboat course, will be of enormous help and will match the overall pragmatism of your plan.

Good luck

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Old 09-07-2009, 14:43   #12
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There is a VERY significant difference in the characteristics of a cruising catamaran and the 24-27 foot monohulls that I see the sailing school use. I used to race a bit, on a 44 footer. That's a lot different than sailing on my catamaran. It is different in that it is a lot easier! You sail more by instruments than feel. Since you don't get as much feel, and you don't have to get there fast, it takes a LOT of the compexity out of it. The most challenging part are things you have experience with alread. Rules of the Road, how a boat turns, docking, etc... You'll probably find you motor sail a good deal more than you would originally estimate. You already have the experience motor sailing.

So, buy a boat, get the seller to agree to an overnight cruise with you, or a 3 hour tour if you can't get the overnight. That will make you more comfortable operating the boat in real situations. Sail around the keys a bit. Drop the anchor at No Name Harbor and buddy boat accross the steam, hang out a bit with other boaters until you get tired of that (5 years, maybe?)

Good Luck! You'll love it!
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Old 09-07-2009, 15:02   #13
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Your post doesnt say where you are leaving from, but hopefully by the time you are ready to cross the gulfstream you will: 1) Know how to reef the sails, 2) have a good working depthsounder, 3)have a procedure down for how to keep the batteries charged to support any electrical needs you have, 4)know how to read a chart. 5) know as much about your boat's systems as possible
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Old 09-07-2009, 15:14   #14
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Hi, Mark and welcome to the forum -- we're all nuts here, so you'll be right at home. Your plan is no crazier than anyone else's and far, far saner than what the vast majority of people do, which is to daydream a lot, but not actually do anything.

I have a bit of a different perspective on the training thing. I did both sailing classes, which by and large were helpful for learning terminology (oh, there is a lot of that, and there's at least two terms for everything!), which really helps when trying to get answers to questions from fellow cruisers. Not that much help for learning the finer points of sailing a particular craft -- that comes from experience with it, more than any other. I do, however, strongly recommend taking a navigation course. There's lots to know there and it will help.

We also hired a training captain for our first off shore trip and we didn't regret it. Wasn't that expensive for a week and she really helped us get the most out of our boat. Maybe I'm just a chicken, but it was very comforting to have someone with 10's of thousands of sea miles behind her looking over what we were doing and either saying "OK" or "you need to think about this" or "do that, instead." After the week, we were pretty OK with things, but I don't regret the money spent.

I would suggest though to avoid Nassau. It is not all that friendly a place (unless, maybe you're coming in on a cruise ship) and the harbor can be pretty darn tricky for a beginner.

Some mentioned Georgetown and I suppose that's OK, but I'd prefer to head to the Abacos for the first trip. Not quite as much of a shock to the system and there's a pretty good infrastructure there if you should need it. While the same is true at Georgetown, there's lots of water in between where that's not the case.

Regardless of where you end up going for the first time, be sure and ask around on the Forum. Chances are there will be a number of folks who can fill you it on the details.

Go for it!

Intentional Drifter

Observations are gold; hypotheses, silver; and conclusions, bronze.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.--Ben Franklin

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.--Daniel Patrick Moynihan
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Old 09-07-2009, 16:32   #15
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The Gulfstream

Yep, the Gulfstream is of concern. The boat is at Bimini Bay and I would ultimately head to the Florida Keys. From a non sailor-man’s perspective, it looks like you aim the boat towards Florida and end up in Maine. Crossing the Gulfstream looks a little challenging. I understand there are optimum times of the year to make that trip. Any suggestions for timing?

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