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Old 13-11-2013, 05:29   #1
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advice on how to learn

Goal,
in five years end up with a 55 to 60 ft. blue water cruiser and begin cruising.
I will have funds available to be able to do it, not excessive amounts, but I won't have to cut corners on safety and or buy a project boat.
I've got boating experience, been on different boats off and on all my life, all power boats though, don't know squat about sailing.
I know, understand and can repair almost any boat system, got the Diesel mechanic thing down, decent electrician, have my refrigeration license, Aircraft Airframe and Powerplant license, many years ago was a contract welder etc.
I don't know squat about sailing, so what's the best way to learn? Crewing I think is out, right now we are both fully employed, just don't have the time.
so I was thinking about two options
1. Both of us take an ASA live-aboard sailing course that takes about a week and I believe qualifies you to charter a bare boat. (about 4 grand for two, I think). I'd love opinions on this as I have no idea at all if it's a good course or just a way to spend four grand on a vacation?
2. Buy a sea-worthy smallish boat on a trailer and teach ourselves, reading books etc. I've got a 1 ton Diesel truck that pulls our current Center Console power boat with ease, so I'm sure pulling a sailboat shouldn't pose any problems? Does having smaller boat experience qualify you to rent a bare boat charter, assuming a check out sail or something?
A really HUGE consideration in this is I need the wife to want to do this as well, I can't let this become misery training, or how to work yourself to death and become sea-sick in two days for example.
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Old 13-11-2013, 05:38   #2
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Re: advice on how to learn

Buy a small boat and learn to sail on this. Start daysailing in good weather. GRaduate to heavier weather and longer trips. If you wife's not on board, you need to get her interested. Don't let her end up as a "fender bender" where you do all the fun stuff and she only runs around with a fender and a line when you dock.

Take turn docking the boat, setting and trimming the sails, steering etc. IN others words - make her your partner, not your crew
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Old 13-11-2013, 05:55   #3
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Re: advice on how to learn

Does your wife currently get involved with the power boats. Whats her views on the "project"

if you have a current boat , does she drive it, dock it, etc. You could just start there.

The actual art of sailing is not difficult to pick up and you could go down the classes route or sail with others, or the buy a small boat ( but that may be a way to looses money).

The main thing about wives is you suddenly just can't get them involved if they have serpent years being excluded.

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Old 13-11-2013, 06:23   #4
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Re: advice on how to learn

In our club, I am surprised by the number of wives who don't sail, and just come along as galley slaves. My wife, who took sailing lessons along with me, was trying to organize a few of them for a ladies only sailing course. It seems they sometimes learn better without hubby yelling orders all day long. At any rate, I think the best way to sail a larger boat on long distance voyages is to simply combine professional instruction with hands on experience, somewhat like an apprenticeship. The skill set you describe puts you halfway there already, even without know sailing itself.
Good luck.
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Old 13-11-2013, 06:30   #5
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Re: advice on how to learn

a lot of folks on this forum will tell you to go small and then big -- i totally disagree -- neither of us set foot on a sailboat until dec 2000 - we did not do boats at all -- we took asa 101 and liked it so decided in march 2001 to go to sw florida yachts and charter sailing school and put up with capt roy - a brit and great teacher - and just the 3 of us set out and he taught us to sail AND work as a team not capt and crew - we spent 4 days with him then 3 more on our own -

we charted once or twice then in 2003 we bought a new 40' jeanneau DS40 - we lived in miami so were able to sail in biscayne bay almost year round -

in 2007 sold up and sailed out - we cut the dock lines and headed out up the east coast of the usa - then the northern bahamas and back up the east coast of the usa - then back to sail all the bahamas and by now knew what the boat needed so into the cheaspeake for major work -

after that we headed to western florida and bought capt roy dinner to say hey we made it so far - then down the western coast of central america from mexico to colombia - across to jamica and down to trinidad and back up to antigua and then across the atlantic to the azores to portgual and now in tunisia --

i guess we did fairly well not going small first -- so i disagree -

if you want more send us a private message here

take care and good luck -- it is an incredible life style

just our thoughts and opinions
chuck patty and svsoulmates
in port yasmine hammamet tunisia for the winter
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Old 13-11-2013, 06:38   #6
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Re: advice on how to learn

...an alternate way...you and your wife should get a seaplane rating...instead of spending days at sea to get to your destinations, you'll be spending hours; more local enjoyment time...just a suggestion!

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Old 13-11-2013, 06:46   #7
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Re: advice on how to learn

I agree that you don't have to go small first and you don't have to go to a school. Our first sailboat was a brand new Beneteau Oceanis 40. And we taught ourselves how to sail - not a single "official" lesson. I did a lot of reading and talking to people. We have attended a couple of rendezvous every year and always bend a lot of ears about this and that - go with a list of questions prepared. IMHO the only benefit of starting small is that you will lose less money if things don't work out. One other suggestion - work up to heavy weather. No wind over 15 knots until you can read the wind/water and reef without thinking about it. Practice reefing when it is blowing 10, not 20. You really don't want to scare yourself or your wife.
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Old 13-11-2013, 07:05   #8
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Re: advice on how to learn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teknav View Post
...an alternate way...you and your wife should get a seaplane rating...instead of spending days at sea to get to your destinations, you'll be spending hours; more local enjoyment time...just a suggestion!

Mauritz
Flying is for long distance travel...sailing is for local enjoyment; Seaplane or BUST!
I've got my SES, and considered for awhile putting Amphibs on my Maule, then realized several things, it's no longer a short field, bush plane with Amphibs, it's cruise speed, efficiency, useful load etc. is gone, and there are only two authorized places to land a seaplane in Ga. Plus it's expensive (about 50K or thereabouts for a good used set ).
No, truthfully if I weren't an A&P/IA, I wouldn't have an airplane, just don't use it much, and the airplanes will go before I begin this cruising thing anyway. I've enjoyed flying, it's how I have made my living, but when I retire, I think that part of my life will be over.
Is that Twotter in your picture yours?
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Old 13-11-2013, 07:23   #9
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Re: advice on how to learn

One reason not to buy a big boat now is in order to do it without having a loan, I'd need to sell "stuff", Plan is selling out as everything is paid for, no loans, would give me plenty to buy most any good boat that we would want and give me a good cushion of cash to cover those un-planned realities that come up if and when you can least afford them, plus at that time I would have a healthy (hopefully) 401K and three retirements coming in. Trying to ensure I have the financial means to do this first, I've seen too many ruined dreams when the realization that they just can't afford it sets in.
I plan on retiring in five years when I am 60, I'm currently retired military as well, my wife can't retire for ten years, she is a school teacher, so she works 180 days a year and has the rest off. I intend to buy this boat in five years, spend the next two or three years really learning what we are doing on Caribbean cruises etc. when she has her summers off, then the last year or so re-fitting the boat for extended cruising / live aboard and going.
If you buy say a 300 to 400 K boat with essentially no experience, can it be insured? How bad is the first year of insurance? I assume after the first year your experienced assuming no losses?
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Old 13-11-2013, 07:26   #10
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Re: advice on how to learn

The reason it's better for most people to learn to sail on a small boat is because when you pull a "string" you can immediately see how it affects the boat especially if the boat is say under 1500lbs.

If you have the money and you are a good listener, you can be taught all you need to know, but some folks learn better on their own by reading and doing.

I have seen folks with beautiful large boats that still do not know the basics like what sheeting in the main will make the boat do.

I learned on small catamarans then raced them so I didn't have a motor onboard for about 15 years. Some of the races were 100 mile races so you were totally dependant on the wind/weather.

When leaving the beach, it's to shallow for rudders so you sail off steering the boat (sometimes having to avoid old ladies and children) with the sails only. You learn at lot about sailing with a boat like this.

The ones I sailed weighed around 300lbs with as much sail area as my 6600lb Bristol 27.
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Old 13-11-2013, 07:37   #11
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Re: advice on how to learn

You didn't say where you are located. I'm a club sailor and a strong advocate for learning how to sail that way if you have access.

Read my thread entitled "Club Sailor - first year retrospective" in the General Sailing forum and see if it interests you.

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Old 13-11-2013, 07:38   #12
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Re: advice on how to learn

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
One reason not to buy a big boat now is in order to do it without having a loan, I'd need to sell "stuff", Plan is selling out as everything is paid for, no loans, would give me plenty to buy most any good boat that we would want and give me a good cushion of cash to cover those un-planned realities that come up if and when you can least afford them, plus at that time I would have a healthy (hopefully) 401K and three retirements coming in. Trying to ensure I have the financial means to do this first, I've seen too many ruined dreams when the realization that they just can't afford it sets in.
I plan on retiring in five years when I am 60, I'm currently retired military as well, my wife can't retire for ten years, she is a school teacher, so she works 180 days a year and has the rest off. I intend to buy this boat in five years, spend the next two or three years really learning what we are doing on Caribbean cruises etc. when she has her summers off, then the last year or so re-fitting the boat for extended cruising / live aboard and going.
If you buy say a 300 to 400 K boat with essentially no experience, can it be insured? How bad is the first year of insurance? I assume after the first year your experienced assuming no losses?

You may be able to buy a small inexpensive boat now, but then later you will have to deal with selling it (and losing how much money unless you can get an awesome deal when you buy it) and then still get a loan for what you need/want and start all over. We bought what we wanted right off the bat and paid every penny we had available on the loan until we paid it off in 3 years. Now we own the boat we want free and clear and are ready to go. Furthermore, we learned how to sail on the boat we are going to be sailing. We know how she works.. we have also been doing the upgrades/changes that we want along the way.

All just my opinion.. definitely NOT the "normal" way to do it. But then no one has ever accused me of being normal. You should do what works for you :-)
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Old 13-11-2013, 08:07   #13
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Re: advice on how to learn

Hiya A64Pilot! The pictured Twin Otter is not mine, as it is worth $8M USD. There are 10 of us who split the cost and lease it 2 or 3 times a year for vacation to remote destinations; a month/year. I used to sail much of the Caribbean and French Polynesia; it took a lot of time sailing and getting where I wanted to go. Flying changed the dynamics; at my destination in less than a day. More time spent having fun where I want to be.

If you haven't decided on a sail boat yet, search the Beneteau Oceanis line. It has a stern's platform that you can lower/raise. Very useful for water sports activities and during provisioning; very easy on the back, as we get a bit older. (Disclaimer: Not affiliated with Beneteau in any capacity.)

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Old 13-11-2013, 15:32   #14
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You didn't say where you are located. I'm a club sailor and a strong advocate for learning how to sail that way if you have access. Read my thread entitled "Club Sailor - first year retrospective" in the General Sailing forum and see if it interests you.
Albany Ga. but keep my center console down in Panama City Beach Fl. at the Naval Support activity (Navy's SCUBA school)
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Old 13-11-2013, 17:24   #15
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Re: advice on how to learn

A64Pilot,

This may sound silly, but why don't you talk with your wife about how she'd like to get into the sailing part of it? She's probably already thought about it some, and may be attracted by a women's sailing program. From what I've seen over the years, I think they can be lots better for both the husband and the wife. There are a number of reasons for this, but I'll try to touch on most of them:

1) men tend to dominate their wives, especially in areas where they have more experience; and you have experience flying which is a partly using foils against air to do fun stuff with the craft, like sailing. Your wife could start out feeling inferior. Usually

2) what happens with women's sailing programs is that the psychological dynamics are more conducive to learning, the women's innate competetiveness gets activated, and they all try to learn as much and as fast as they can, 'cause they all at least feel "equal" and not "inferior". Yes, there is much of this that is stereotyping, but that is in part because stereotypes come from repeated observations.

3) Some women do lot like sailing, and it's not a matter of not liking being cold, wet, terrified, sea-sick and hungry. They just like being pampered. Such women may not enjoy a women's sailing program. Just sayin'.

4) After she has gained some self-confidence, and learned that she has FUN when she goes sailing (at least some of the time), then she is in a good position to learn teaming with you, assuming that that's what you want. (Not all guys want an equal partner sailing.)

So 1-4 is why I think your good lady should be involved in the decision making from the get-go. Because it will make her a better sailor, better crew, and easier for you to trust during your off watches when she has all the responsibility for the welfare of the boat and the crew, or you'll find out maybe this isn't the right tree to bark up. FWIW, there are some CFers out there with #3 sorts of wives, and they have posted some ingenious strategies for involving those sorts of women; they address the issues way better than I can.

Ann
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