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Old 08-05-2012, 18:53   #1
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Advice for a year of sailing

Hi, my names Alex. 22 years old and just finishing up at university! However I've planned to avoid the big bad world of work for a little longer and i'm taking a year out to do as much sailing as i can. I currently race laser SB3s (now SB20) and cruiser racers, and i've done some regular cruising in there aswell. I started sailing when i was about 13, sailed and SB3 from 14 to 16 and cruiser racers for a few years after tha. Started again in SB3s fairly regularly for the last 2 years. Unfortunatly i've be quite silly up till now and never logged anything! I would say i'm fairly competant, if you threw me in a boat the chances are i'd be able to get it moving and sail it half decent but i would really like to learn more, i'm no where near as good as i would like to be!

I'm posting here as its coming up to the end of uni and the time i can begin! However i'm trying to find out some information so i dont make any major screw ups. I would really like to do some sailing abroad and do some long hauls as i've never really been able to do that. So down to the questions!

First off is there any general advice people would give someone in my position, anything i should ensure i have/do etc etc.

Can people reccomend any good places to find crewing spots. I've seen crew seekers international, is that good? bad? Are there any others that i should be 'stalking' (for use of a better word). I haven't had much time to look yet with exams etc etc but i was going to have at some point so nows a good-a-time as any.

When it comes to boat costs if you get a place on a boat what is the 'norm'? I.E, i assume the cost of food is split, what about fuel, maintanance etc. Also is there any particular etiquette i should be aware of in this department? So far i've been blessed and had skippers that have never asked for anything and always refused contribution but, to be realistic, that won't be the case on the whole.

Are there any courses that are a Must? I did my day skipper theory a while ago and will probably do the practical over summer. If i do manage to do some 'sea sailing' is it worth doing something like the RYA offshore safety course? Also would a first aid course be a good call?

Basically any advice you have would be much appriciated.

Sorry for lots of questions and thank you in advance for any help.

Many thanks!
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Old 08-05-2012, 19:18   #2
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Re: Advice for a year of sailing

Many come to Panama to crew to the S. Pacific, or through the canal and to the Caribbean side. Grab a VHF radio and get on the morning nets = thats how most do it here.
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Old 08-05-2012, 20:21   #3
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Re: Advice for a year of sailing

These places are great . Just remember to keep checking back. Get to as many yacht clubs as possible and put your name on the notice boards. Especially, before and straight after long distance races. You will often fine and international boat heading home after a big series.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:53   #4
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Re: Advice for a year of sailing

Hey Alex,

Some ideas you might like to use/recycle/reject:

1) Make sure taking a year off NOW is a good idea. This depends on the kind of uni you are graduating from. Business first. Work harder, play hard.

2) Stick to your well organized approach (in everything) as seen in your post. It will take you further, sooner - both in professional life and in traveling.

3) You seem into racing. Stick with it. Start with your racing mates - ask around, they may direct you to their racing friends elsewhere that can take you racing, or otherwise sailing, into the deeper, bluer waters.

4) Consider sticking with your professional career while setting up a racing/cruising team. When not racing, team members could use the boat for cruising. There are some racing/cruising boats around that can be picked up, fixed up, and used for many years to come.

5) Should you decide to crew on other people's boats, you can be actually paid for this - if you bring in valuable skills and work. Otherwise expect to pay as you go - at times you just pay for your share of food and water but when you are desperate while the boat owner is not, then you may be expected to pay for the ride. Last year I saw vagabundos hitching a cross-Atlantic ride for EUR500+. I'd rather fly ;-)

6) Stay focused on what actually gives you a kick but be open to new experiences. If something does not work for you, get out of it and go for the next best thing. Life is short. When you are young, life is a jeans shop - try things out before you buy them.

7) Should you get stuck in an uncomfortable position (e.g. mid-ocean with a crew that hates you) take it as an opportunity to grow - one can only grow when faced with challenges. Easy tricks dope your senses with pleasure - a poor substitute of happiness.

8) Build skills. Ask yourself what is missing then go for it. Get papers along the way - if you need a license, get it. Do NOT get licenses just because they are there. Build contacts. Build friendships.

9) Avoid lists longer than 9 items. If a list is 10 items long, you may be reading the wrong list.

Good luck,
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:06   #5
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Re: Advice for a year of sailing

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Alex.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:47   #6
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Re: Advice for a year of sailing

I've been wanting to take a year (or more if possible) out to sail since i was younger but decided to wait till after uni to do it so that i'm not restricted in any way. I think now is the time for me to do it as i have no obligations, i only have a part time job in which my boss is very flexible and knows i will be going away and has already said he will keep me on the books so i can build up some more cash whenever im not sailing. It also means that i can always say yes to an oppertunity, i won't have to say no because i have to be back at work the next month etc etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
9) Avoid lists longer than 9 items. If a list is 10 items long, you may be reading the wrong list.
Any reason a list over 9 should be avoided? This one had me stumped
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Old 09-05-2012, 13:23   #7
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Re: Advice for a year of sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by alex199020 View Post
Any reason a list over 9 should be avoided? This one had me stumped
;-)

Ten Commandments - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 10-05-2012, 21:15   #8
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Re: Advice for a year of sailing

Go visit Offshore Passage Opportunities: Halesite, New York Hank is the owner and he matches crew with boats and does some screening of the boats/captains as well so you do not get setup with Capt Ahab! I did a St Martin to Bermuda on a Swan 38 with them and it was great. You can build up some bluewater miles and don't have to be very experienced either. You generally have to find your way to and from boat on your own dime; everything else is typically free. You will gain experience without much expense and see the world too. They have some USA to Europe runs--and vice versa, SF to Hawaii or SF to Tahiti boats looking for crew. Be sure to ask questions of the captain about his qualifications, the boat and other people who will be on the boat as well. Good luck
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Old 10-05-2012, 21:44   #9
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Re: Advice for a year of sailing

Non sailing related advice. Grab a hard drive and fill it with your favorite movies, tv shows and music. It will be your source of entertainment when sailing long distances. Obviously, you can plug it into a tablet or laptop. Of course tablets seem to be the most logical choice for transients these days.
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