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Old 13-07-2016, 20:36   #1
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Complete Newby

Hello all,
Straight to the point, I am a 53 year old who has never sailed (as the "captain"), but has been on a few sailboats. I have owned many powerboats (17'-32') in various conditions and know my way around boats. However, I have always had a dream of coastal sailing from NC to the Keys. Now that I am 10-12 years away from retirement, I am ready begin laying the groundwork for my dream. I am currently enrolled in an Adult beginner class at a yacht club. My questions are: should I buy a small 15'-17' boat to practice or a larger 18'-22' (The yacht club uses 22' Catalina's for class). I live on a lake in East Tennessee and there are sailboats that sail, but not everyday because of lack of wind. Any ideas or suggestions? Eventually I would sale the practice boat and buy the boat to coastal cruise with. So, my last question: what are some coastal cruising boats (single hand) and what size (wife will be with me) to be researching (because of course, I need to spend countless wife-eye-rolling hours online looking at boats). Keep in mind due to my geographic location, it will need to be a trailer sailor (yes, I just heard the "old salts" groan). I do not have a fortune spend up front, so a older boat that needs some work (I have a few years to work on her) is what I am interested in. Thanks for any and all advice given!
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Old 13-07-2016, 20:46   #2
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Re: Complete Newby

Since you've had a 32-foot powerboat, I'm going to assume you know something about boat systems- electrical, plumbing, etc..
With a small boat, you won't have all the same sailing gizmos, i.e., winches, but you'll have most of them, just in a more easily managed dimension.
I'd get a 14 to 16-foot sloop, such as a Capri and sail it as often as possible.
Somewhere online there was an excellent pdf file on tuning the rig and getting everything out of this particular brand. I wish I could find it now because that kind of knowledge would transfer to most other sailboats.
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Old 14-07-2016, 16:02   #3
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Re: Complete Newby

Welcome aboard CF, kerrpapa.

I think your plan makes sense, as long as your good lady is truly aboard with it. If it is fun for her, too, life will be good for both of you.

Here is a confrontational question for you to consider if you want to, nothing mean is intended, but it's the other side of the question, from a tough old sailor lady, who has met a lot of unhappy, non-sailor women on boats. If it's not fun for your wife, too, why on earth would she want to be part of it?

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Old 15-07-2016, 05:31   #4
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Re: Complete Newby

That's a fair question. When I said "wife-eye-rolling," what I was inferring is that I am a person who can spend hours upon hours researching a subject. I come by it naturally. My father is a man who has done many, many things in his life, but always does extensive research on the front end. Don't get me wrong, my father would be the first one to tell you that "experience is the best teacher," but he likes to have some idea of what he is getting into before diving straight in. So, I am the same way much to my wife's chagrin. Anyway, back to your question. The wife is somewhat non committal at this point. She loves boating and the water. However, sailing down the coast is not something she has envisioned. She is a more "wait and see" type whereas I am a "let's do this." Her main hesitations are my ability to sail (she has complete trust in me in our fresh water boats, but like me, is honest in that I am not yet a sailor and knows the difference between the two. Also, being in open ocean as opposed to lake). And wonders how it will be for us as we age (I am 53 and she is 47, but we are talking about 10-12 years from now). She is also a person who likes all the variables accounted for. Not that she can't handle unknowns popping up. On the contrary, she is a calm, tough, fast thinking problem solver. She can "improvise, adapt and overcome." Yet, having said all that, she is a sit back a wait kinda gal. Make no mistake, much of my confidence in life comes from her being by my side, and many cases propping me up (I will deny this if you tell her lol). Lastly, the wife is firm in her convictions. If she does not want to do something, she will not. So, if I want to sail down the coast and she doesn't, she won't. She would never stand in my way of doing something I want to do, but that doesn't automatically mean she will do it. I admit this is my dream and part of it is having her by my side. So, time will only tell if she is onboard (no pun intended). In the meantime I am still going forward with my dream. On a related note. I am considering buying a Macgregor 26x or m to use in the interim as an introduction to sailing. Mainly for my wife because we can use it as a powerboat on our lake, but also sail. And it would be a good learning sailboat for me. Yes, yes I know you just puked when I mentioned "Macgregor." But given my situation, I believe it might serve a few purposes for me right now. I would love all of your input about any and all of this post. Thanks for any of your advice and questions.
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Old 15-07-2016, 11:58   #5
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Re: Complete Newby

If you are committed to trailering then I would suggest getting a boat that makes that as easy as possible for you and your wife. You don't want to be discouraged from sailing because of the additional work to get the boat in and out of the water - it's not like throwing a set of golf clubs into the trunk of the car to play a round.

I crewed part of one season on a J70 and it was fun once out on the water but the whole trailer thing before the race and afterwards convinced me it was not a boat I would want to own at this stage of my life.

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Old 15-07-2016, 12:13   #6
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Re: Complete Newby

With regard to the boat for your lake, I'm inclined to suggest the 20 to 22 range. For one, you'll have a boat that has a porta-potti on it. Your wife may appreciate that, and certainly nice if you have company on the boat.

Can I assume you'll be able to keep the boat in the water in front of your house? In not, I'd suggest going with the smaller, 15 to 17 for ease of launching.

A 22 will have winches and likely roller furling that are miniature versions of what you'll encounter when you get your coastal cruiser, so you can begin to acquaint yourself with their use.
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Old 15-07-2016, 14:29   #7
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Re: Complete Newby

kerrpapa,

If your good lady wife is someone who likes swimming, and being in the water, I'd go with a pair of small dinghies that will throw you all in the water when you goof. It's warm out, the water's not too cold, and can be interpreted as fun, accompanied by laughter. I'm talking physical fun that has a child like quality to it, not the quietly reserved kind of pleasure adults usually demonstrate. Join your wife in some dinghy sailing classes. Imo, if you're not both swimmers, swimming classes are also in order: it is important to develop confidence on and in the water. After a dinghy class, the world's your oyster and you move up and change.

Siamese's idea sounds good if the two of you are more staid, in fact, you could let your wife choose..... The more involved she is from the beginning, the more connected with you and the project she will feel. Since you're talking about lake sailing, the smaller and lighter the craft, the more use you'll get out of them/it, because lakes tend to have light, flukey winds most of the time.

I would not interfere the idea with that of the "power boat", because it's seductively easy, but learning to work the wind you have goes deep into you and may save your life one day.

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Old 15-07-2016, 15:43   #8
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Re: Complete Newby

Howdy Kerrpapa.

You have already gotten good advice. I will offer a different opinion. Take it with a splash of saltwater.

Sailing on some southern lakes can be very boring due to lack of wind (boat goes nowhere).

If your dream is not shared by the wife, getting her out on a small, relatively uncomfortable boat that does not do much may squelch your dream unless she enjoys her time on the boat.

So, my suggestion:

Don't buy a small, uncomfortable boat that is a hassle to rig and does not do much to get your wife hooked on your dream of sailing the coast. Instead, take the money you would spend on that starter boat and "start HER" on loving sailing as lifestyle!

How?

Use that same money, even if it is just a few thousands of dollars, and go down to the Caribbean for a liveaboard weeklong sailing class aboard a nice, big, comfortable, captained sailboat. Start right, with a captain who will teach you both, not a bareboat charter.

The location is important. Pick a nice one where you both will enjoy the location. I expect she is more likely to enjoy the time on the water, learn something about sailing as a lifestyle or holiday, and learn something while you are learning too. Goal? Get her hooked on sailing in the best possible location on a comfortable boat, so that SHE comes back home and says SHE wants to share that dream WITH you.

Better to have a willing partner, especially one that thinks the idea of owning a sailboat and cruising on it is her idea of fun. Remember, she will be the Admiral.

Good luck on your choices.
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Old 15-07-2016, 17:01   #9
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Re: Complete Newby

Ok, Im new myself and we are pretty close in age to you ade your wife. My take:

Get a 20-24 foot boat. Its really not hard to sail when you already have the basics down. I learned on a colorado mountain lake on a catalina 22. This class will give you an easily trailerable boat with a little bit of comfort for camping on the boat. Get tiller steering if you can. Its much easier to steer and more fun in my opinion .

There is the issue of stepping the mast but its not a big deal. We could step ours in about half an hour. Obviously this is not something you want to do every day, so keep it in the water if you can or enjoy nights out on the boat over the weekend and holidays. We (my boyfriend and I) call this cruising lite. You get some essence of living aboard without a big cash outlay.

I cant speak to sailing later in life, but there are many many folk who get their start later AND life is funny, you never know whats around the corner both positive and more challenging. Better to try for your dream and find ways for your lady to enjoy it too, if you can.

Just for myself, but when ever Ive found words to worry its really about feeling out of control. Knowledge and experience remedy that feeling. Do not dimiss your wifes fears, but rather listen and seek to find a way to address them with knowledge and experience.

So...if you can charter, she might be dazzled with the beauty of where you go to get on board.
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Old 15-07-2016, 20:33   #10
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Re: Complete Newby

We bought a,26 foot trailer sailor to learn on. I did my research, looked at any close by, and picked one that wasn't as tender as most. Thinking that it would be more comfortable and fun for my wife. ( and yes she came with me when looking)
All that did make it more fun for her. BUT... She didn't see herself living aboard until we took a live aboard course on a 43', 20,000 lb saga. She said to me after, "I could handle living on that"
Now she gets on our boat and almost cringes on how much it moves and reacts to everything.
So having your own will give you both a lot of practise. If you need to sell your wife on the idea of living aboard then charter and learn. Both work. Just find what works best for the two of you.
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Old 16-07-2016, 08:22   #11
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Re: Complete Newby

Here is a page that describes what I am suggesting as a good way to learn to sail in a nice vacation or holiday location. My suggestion is for a live aboard week long class on the boat and in the Caribbean. The classes are "all inclusive" and start at about $2,000 per person for a 7 day class.

Live Aboard Sailing School in the Caribbean - Ltd Sailing

Disclosure: I am not connected to this school or any other. I am simply passing on info I found that appears to fit the topic. In this case the school mentioned is represented on CF by a member, Chris. Here is his name:

Chris Rundlett
LTD Sailing - Living the Dream!
Caribbean Sailing School and Skippered Yacht Charters | LTD Sailing
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Old 16-07-2016, 09:25   #12
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Re: Complete Newby

I sent you a PM.
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Old 16-07-2016, 11:57   #13
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Re: Complete Newby

I think the MacGregor 26 is a great idea for starting out. It's not my cup of tea but is handy as a hybrid sailboat/powerboat & is designed to be easy to trailer with a swing keel & water ballast. This boat is big enough to do some coastal cruising so it'll give you a good idea of what it would be like in a bigger boat. A couple of guys in my neighborhood actually singlehanded both of their boats from Tampa Bay to the Bahamas & had a great time from what I hear. Another guy I know pulled one all the way across the country & stayed in it like an RV. Get one now & you won't have to wait 10 years to take a trip down the ICW to Florida or you can just pull it to the Keys for a quick dose of the Conch Republic. You just need to have a vehicle that can handle the weight of the boat plus gear, provisions & the trailer. Probably around 3,500 lbs total so an SUV should be able to handle it.
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Old 29-07-2016, 19:42   #14
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Re: Complete Newby

I understand where you are coming from my wife is from the Black Forest of Germany the largest body of water is the local swimming pool. I bought a 26X in 1996 with the idea of keeping it for a couple of years to introduce her to sailing and being on the water. Sold it last month. A good boat to cut your teeth on the bigger the outboard the better. They launch and trailer easy enough. We had a 50HP on it no problem in bad weather.You say you are taking a sailing course what about your wife surprise her with a intro to sailing course she will get a better prospective on things and may enjoy it more.We currently own a 42' steel sloop which she enjoys sailing on.I am looking forward to retiring soon and doing some extended cruising in coastal BC waters and beyond . Good luck and i hope your dream is realized and she is a comfortable part of it.
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Old 29-07-2016, 20:46   #15
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Re: Complete Newby

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Howdy Kerrpapa.

You have already gotten good advice. I will offer a different opinion. Take it with a splash of saltwater.

Sailing on some southern lakes can be very boring due to lack of wind (boat goes nowhere).

If your dream is not shared by the wife, getting her out on a small, relatively uncomfortable boat that does not do much may squelch your dream unless she enjoys her time on the boat.

So, my suggestion:

Don't buy a small, uncomfortable boat that is a hassle to rig and does not do much to get your wife hooked on your dream of sailing the coast. Instead, take the money you would spend on that starter boat and "start HER" on loving sailing as lifestyle!

How?

Use that same money, even if it is just a few thousands of dollars, and go down to the Caribbean for a liveaboard weeklong sailing class aboard a nice, big, comfortable, captained sailboat. Start right, with a captain who will teach you both, not a bareboat charter.

The location is important. Pick a nice one where you both will enjoy the location. I expect she is more likely to enjoy the time on the water, learn something about sailing as a lifestyle or holiday, and learn something while you are learning too. Goal? Get her hooked on sailing in the best possible location on a comfortable boat, so that SHE comes back home and says SHE wants to share that dream WITH you.

Better to have a willing partner, especially one that thinks the idea of owning a sailboat and cruising on it is her idea of fun. Remember, she will be the Admiral.

Good luck on your choices.
+1, Steady hand... That would be my suggestion.
It will give you both a chance to experience and learn together on a safe, well fitted out seagoing vessel. Be choosy about the skipper you select and don't discount female Captains, they can be more in tune with teaching your wife than a guy might be and at least as capable if not more!
There are a number of reputable sailing schools in the warm Caribbean. Involve your better half in the selection and duration you want for your introduction to the best lifestyle I know of... Cheers, Phil.. Let us know how it goes!
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