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Old 30-04-2015, 17:02   #1
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Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

Hello all, this is my first post. I do not know if this is the correct place so please don't criticize me. I've been researching sailing cruising for a few months so I've decided to join so I can participate in discussions and learn more. I am only 21, but I am eager to participate and be around. Please don't write me off as a young kid who is just fixated/interested for a few months.

I am a complete beginner and only sailed once in a lake when I was younger. However, for as long as I can remember I have been drawn to the water. I often think about being on the water. And have decided that when I graduate in 2 years I would like to go on a sailing trip and move to a coastal area. I've even entertained the living aboard idea as well.

I am interested in gulf/Florida keys/Caribbean sailing. And am probably going to pick up a few books and try to find someone near me. (Currently in Houston Texas area) who can maybe teach me. (I will work for knowledge) but the main reason for my post is to find out if anyone has some tips and stuff I can start to learn so that when the time comes to start looking for a boat I will be prepared. And tips for things to learn skills wise. I know a lot is learned through experience. My grandpa always says, "anyone can learn to sail in a weekend, but it takes a lifetime to become a true sailor".

Thanks!!!!
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Old 30-04-2015, 17:50   #2
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

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Originally Posted by Camcmillen View Post
Hello all, this is my first post. I do not know if this is the correct place so please don't criticize me. I've been researching sailing cruising for a few months so I've decided to join so I can participate in discussions and learn more. I am only 21, but I am eager to participate and be around. Please don't write me off as a young kid who is just fixated/interested for a few months.



I am a complete beginner and only sailed once in a lake when I was younger. However, for as long as I can remember I have been drawn to the water. I often think about being on the water. And have decided that when I graduate in 2 years I would like to go on a sailing trip and move to a coastal area. I've even entertained the living aboard idea as well.



I am interested in gulf/Florida keys/Caribbean sailing. And am probably going to pick up a few books and try to find someone near me. (Currently in Houston Texas area) who can maybe teach me. (I will work for knowledge) but the main reason for my post is to find out if anyone has some tips and stuff I can start to learn so that when the time comes to start looking for a boat I will be prepared. And tips for things to learn skills wise. I know a lot is learned through experience. My grandpa always says, "anyone can learn to sail in a weekend, but it takes a lifetime to become a true sailor".



Thanks!!!!

Lots of sailing near you. Kemah has ton of boats, look up gbca racing to see if you can pick up a ride. Also the Texas city dike has an active bunch of cat sailors who male it a habit to meet the first Saturday of the month for the express reason of introducing new people to sailing. It's found at tcdyc on google.


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Old 30-04-2015, 23:47   #3
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

Thanks for the Info! I will look in to the clubs for sure!
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Old 01-05-2015, 03:18   #4
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Camcmillen.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:22   #5
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

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Originally Posted by Camcmillen View Post
Hello all, this is my first post. I do not know if this is the correct place so please don't criticize me. I've been researching sailing cruising for a few months so I've decided to join so I can participate in discussions and learn more. I am only 21, but I am eager to participate and be around. Please don't write me off as a young kid who is just fixated/interested for a few months.

I am a complete beginner and only sailed once in a lake when I was younger. However, for as long as I can remember I have been drawn to the water. I often think about being on the water. And have decided that when I graduate in 2 years I would like to go on a sailing trip and move to a coastal area. I've even entertained the living aboard idea as well.

I am interested in gulf/Florida keys/Caribbean sailing. And am probably going to pick up a few books and try to find someone near me. (Currently in Houston Texas area) who can maybe teach me. (I will work for knowledge) but the main reason for my post is to find out if anyone has some tips and stuff I can start to learn so that when the time comes to start looking for a boat I will be prepared. And tips for things to learn skills wise. I know a lot is learned through experience. My grandpa always says, "anyone can learn to sail in a weekend, but it takes a lifetime to become a true sailor".

Thanks!!!!
When I was your age, I went out and bought a 20' Newport sailboat and sailed the heck out of it and even lived aboard it for a few months until I moved up to a 26' Ericson Crealock and not long after, a Yankee 28. Thousands of miles of sailing later...

The advise my grandfather gave me was get out and enjoy before you turn 30, then grow up. Worked for me.


So, my advise is normally to buy your own boat - there are a few good used Cape Dory 30's down there that would be capable boats along with a number of other 70's era cruising boats with a lot of life left. Learn to sail it. Join Texas Mariners. They have a lot of cruises, classes and a wealth of knowledge. TMCA Join others as crew and then move aboard your boat and live on it for a few months.

When you are ready and have enough money put away, sail that boat through the ICW down to Florida. 80% motoring and by the time you get to Carabelle to make that first short jaunt over open water, you should know your boat pretty well and have little trouble finding a buddy boat.

Point is, if it is a passion, do it now. Don't wait. Same advise my grandfather gave me to go and the settle down at 30 and start laying roots.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:26   #6
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

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When I was your age, I went out and bought a 20' Newport sailboat and sailed the heck out of it and even lived aboard it for a few months until I moved up to a 26' Ericson Crealock and not long after, a Yankee 28. Thousands of miles of sailing later...

The advise my grandfather gave me was get out and enjoy before you turn 30, then grow up. Worked for me.


So, my advise is normally to buy your own boat - there are a few good used Cape Dory 30's down there that would be capable boats along with a number of other 70's era cruising boats with a lot of life left. Learn to sail it. Join Texas Mariners. They have a lot of cruises, classes and a wealth of knowledge. TMCA Join others as crew and then move aboard your boat and live on it for a few months.

When you are ready and have enough money put away, sail that boat through the ICW down to Florida. 80% motoring and by the time you get to Carabelle to make that first short jaunt over open water, you should know your boat pretty well and have little trouble finding a buddy boat.

Point is, if it is a passion, do it now. Don't wait. Same advise my grandfather gave me to go and the settle down at 30 and start laying roots.
I agree whole heartedly. But I have to wait for two years until I graduate. To actually be able to spend a long time doing it. But that being said. I can get a boat now and put work into it. And get everything ready for when I am graduated.
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:09   #7
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

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I agree whole heartedly. But I have to wait for two years until I graduate. To actually be able to spend a long time doing it. But that being said. I can get a boat now and put work into it. And get everything ready for when I am graduated.
The next meeting for TMCA is on the 15th at the Elks. They have a number of cruises in May and you may be able to talk yourself on a boat, and at the very least get a lot of guidance.

Clear Lake Sailing Club may be a good way to lean to sail. Don't have any direct experience with them other than trying to avoid them when sailing out. Clear Lake Sailing Club

Find a good ASA School. Nautic Sailing School in Kemah, TX might be one.

There are a number of free sites to take State Courses, I believe you fall under the age of requirement for Texas, but can't remember the cut off. That is just a basic exam like a drivers exam on the basics, rules of the road, etc. Texas State Boating Safety Course
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Old 01-05-2015, 13:17   #8
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

WELCOME!!!!
Many of us began with nothing but an urge that we could not really explain or understand. Embrace it. No matter how it goes you will learn many lessons about sailing and about yourself.
As a child I was around power boats all the time, and kind of took it for granted.
When I was 21 a buddy asked me to crew on his K Boat in a race on Canangagua Lake in Upstate NY. I knew nothing, but he gave good clear instructions, and surprisingly we won! And I was hooked!!!!
I went down to the local Rochester Yacht Club, and could not get past the front gate Guard. After several attempts I gave up, went out to the break wall and stood with a sign that said "need crew? I want to learn". and showed it to the sailboats as they left the river.
The Gate Guard was kind of frustrated the next few weeks as I showed up as an invited crew/guest.
Eventually I ended up on a Swan 44 (as I recall it) and began to learn how much work, and how much joy there was in sailing boats.
I have never looked back, and I have had a wonderful sailing experience. I gave it up for a while, (for a woman) ......NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!!!!!!
Now I am back, have a Tartan30 that sails like a sports car, and I love her!
There is a Caribbean trip in the future for me and "REHAB"
Never be afraid of a little criticism. It's part of the learning curve. If nobody points out our short comings or our foolishness then we don;t improve our skills, and since that can mean life or death sometimes......well I welcome a good stiff critique if I need it.
Good on ya for sticking thru till graduation! You can work on that goal, AND begin your sailing education as well.
Find an old copy of Royces Sailing Illustrated, and keep it within reach. Study it, and some other basic sailing texts, and you will be on a good tack.
This is supposed to be fun.....keep it fun...and share the fun.
If I can ever be of help please PM me, and I will share what I have learned.
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Old 01-05-2015, 14:37   #9
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

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WELCOME!!!!
Many of us began with nothing but an urge that we could not really explain or understand. Embrace it. No matter how it goes you will learn many lessons about sailing and about yourself.
As a child I was around power boats all the time, and kind of took it for granted.
When I was 21 a buddy asked me to crew on his K Boat in a race on Canangagua Lake in Upstate NY. I knew nothing, but he gave good clear instructions, and surprisingly we won! And I was hooked!!!!
I went down to the local Rochester Yacht Club, and could not get past the front gate Guard. After several attempts I gave up, went out to the break wall and stood with a sign that said "need crew? I want to learn". and showed it to the sailboats as they left the river.
The Gate Guard was kind of frustrated the next few weeks as I showed up as an invited crew/guest.
Eventually I ended up on a Swan 44 (as I recall it) and began to learn how much work, and how much joy there was in sailing boats.
I have never looked back, and I have had a wonderful sailing experience. I gave it up for a while, (for a woman) ......NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!!!!!!
Now I am back, have a Tartan30 that sails like a sports car, and I love her!
There is a Caribbean trip in the future for me and "REHAB"
Never be afraid of a little criticism. It's part of the learning curve. If nobody points out our short comings or our foolishness then we don;t improve our skills, and since that can mean life or death sometimes......well I welcome a good stiff critique if I need it.
Good on ya for sticking thru till graduation! You can work on that goal, AND begin your sailing education as well.
Find an old copy of Royces Sailing Illustrated, and keep it within reach. Study it, and some other basic sailing texts, and you will be on a good tack.
This is supposed to be fun.....keep it fun...and share the fun.
If I can ever be of help please PM me, and I will share what I have learned.
Thanks you so much Scotty and everyone else for your words of encouragement. I am going to do my best to learn and learn some more until one day someone will ask me for help.

Also Scotty. Sorry you had to put it off for awhile. But I'm sure it was a learning experience! Also that urge you mentioned...it's so true. Just everyday I feel it more and more (probably will keep happening till I officially get started) And it's indescribable I've mentioned my thoughts about sailing to my family and several friends and when they say why I am silent. I don't know what It is but I just feel like I am meant to do this (my religious side says God wants me to go this direction).

I will definitely ask questions when I get to some.
Again thanks everyone. This advice is very appreciated. I will listen to what anyone else has to say as well.
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Old 02-05-2015, 19:01   #10
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

Follow your Bliss!

But first you must learn to respect the power of wind and waves while learning to sail solo.Find a $500 Laser and sail 4-5x weekly in any and all kinds of weather for one season. You will learn quickly and have a ton of fun doing it. Then donate the Laser to another newbie and volunteer to crew on a club racing boat. Your dinghy experience (reading wind and waves) will be a welcome asset. Racing will teach you about decision making, teamwork, anticipation and forethought - all characteristics that will serve you well cruising. Over the past 40 years, I have found dinghy sailors make the best racers and informed cruisers and open ocean sailors because they learned the fundamentals sitting 3" above the water.

I'm preparing for a circumnavigation of the Caribbean Sea ~ July 2017 - hope to see you out there!
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:21   #11
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

I concur with TDOSTER, find a good ASA school. This will accomplish several things as it did for me.
1. puts you on a boat
2. teaches you the correct way to do things
3. teaches safety
4. builds confidence in your own skills
5. good for networking so that you will be able to join regattas or clubs on other peoples boats

Welcome aboard, you will never regret it.
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Old 03-05-2015, 18:00   #12
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

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Follow your Bliss!

But first you must learn to respect the power of wind and waves while learning to sail solo.Find a $500 Laser and sail 4-5x weekly in any and all kinds of weather for one season. You will learn quickly and have a ton of fun doing it. Then donate the Laser to another newbie and volunteer to crew on a club racing boat. Your dinghy experience (reading wind and waves) will be a welcome asset. Racing will teach you about decision making, teamwork, anticipation and forethought - all characteristics that will serve you well cruising. Over the past 40 years, I have found dinghy sailors make the best racers and informed cruisers and open ocean sailors because they learned the fundamentals sitting 3" above the water.

I'm preparing for a circumnavigation of the Caribbean Sea ~ July 2017 - hope to see you out there!
Ive been looking around my area and I cannot find any lasers, however I found an older sunfish for $850 with current tags and trailer. Would this work as something to practice on?

Also I have looked into the Kemah Nauticaul Sailing School mentioned above and am signing up for there ASA 101 next month and hopefully going to get the 102 and 103 before end of summer!
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Old 03-05-2015, 18:17   #13
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

If you spend time lurking here you will notice several long disaster threads about boats that were lost as sea. One common factor in those threads is many of the disasters happened under adverse weather conditions. Also lots of threads about selecting the right weather window, something about 'I rather be at anchor and wish I was at sea than be at sea and wish I was at anchor'.

My advice is to start getting up to speed about understanding weather as a first step.
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Old 03-05-2015, 20:45   #14
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

I do realize that weather is the most important factor. and I am going to have to learn all the things you've mentioned and that is now on my list of things to officially do!
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Old 19-05-2015, 10:44   #15
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Re: Gulf to VIrgin Islands/Caribbean

A little update:

I haven't been gone, I have just been silently reading hundreds and hundreds of threads soaking up information. I have learned exponentially more in the past two weeks than I have in the past three months. I am purchasing a small sunfish later this week to take out to the lake whenever possible. I have also bought numerous books about coastal cruising and long term voyaging.

This whole adventure in daunting to say the least, all the information and all the different ways to go about it as well as the cost for someone who hasn't worked his whole life saving money to retire an explore. BUT I am going to do this and I have given myself about 5 years to get everything ready. I also have signed up for ASA 101, 103, 105 courses for this summer.

Thanks for everyone being so supportive when i initially started this thread!
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