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Old 16-09-2014, 18:14   #16
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

You may want to start by coming up with your personal definition of "blue water sailing". Some folks think it means simply going a few miles off shore to where the water turns blue. To others it means rounding both the great capes. Just a guess but I don't think you will be rounding the great capes.

Something like going from South Florida to the Bahamas involves sailing in blue water. It can be done in a day with the right weather window and often times is a fun trip, but don't kid your self crossing the Gulf Stream under bad conditions can be a nightmare. Maybe that is plenty of blue water sailing for you and something most folks can manage. With your current progress I see no problem you would have with that blue water passage and cruising the Bahamas to your hearts content.

The good thing is that once you reach that level you will probably be able to figure out for your self just what you need to do to get ready for next blue water passage.
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Old 16-09-2014, 18:27   #17
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

I met a couple at last years boat show on an island packet. They had just finished a circumnavigation and the wife said "and to think we took our first learn to sail course 7 years ago".

I have been sailing much longer then them. They know much more then me. Your motivation is your limit.
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Old 16-09-2014, 18:56   #18
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

Scarlet,
Forgive me for not reading the posts on this thread. In 1985 my best friend and former college roommate asked me to help him with Spring prep on his 31' sailboat. The only boat I had been on at that time was the ferry to Staten Island, Fire Island and from Dover to Calais, and one in the Greek Islands. I provided labor for Spring prep and was treated to a 3 day sail the entire length of Long Island Sound. I was enchanted with sailing.

I began to read as much as I could and this was of course pre internet. Then I sailed one weekend with him and our other roommate. I was 37 at the time. In the following Spring '85 he asked me to look at at 48' boat he wanted to buy... and I was to be a partner providing half the cash. The boat was magnificent and I was game but needed to learn to sail and took a 3 day Colgate course... read more and was all ready to learn *hands on* from him... and his girlfriend killed the deal.

I was so bummed I asked the broker if he had something smaller I might buy and he showed me Shiva the same make but 36' long. I closed on the boat in August '85 and then the real learning began. I spent 6 years fitting out the boat and sailed off shore for the first time (aside from a trip from Ptown to ME) in the Marion Bermuda race of '91. It was one hell of a race and the worst conditions I have seen in 28 years. The boat did fine... the crew was seasick... and in the fall I departed for a 3 year live aboard cruise in the Caribbean.

I still have Shiva and have sailed perhaps 35,000 miles or more. I don't keep track. I've single handed back and forth to the Carib from LIS and sailed to Brazil from NY. I am pretty much self taught with the help of books. I do almost ALL the work on the boat myself... and I have to learn how to be a mechanic, plumber, electrician and so on... all necessary skills to live aboard. Shiva was a new boat, built strong but not set up for off shore when I bought her... that took me 5 years of work... windlass, SSB radio...refer, storm canvas, GPS, wfax, roller furling and so on...

You can do it... It is the best thing I did in my entire life... sailing.
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Old 16-09-2014, 19:10   #19
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
This is advice from an old cruiser that has done very little racing. RACE! as crew on large or small boats, as much as you can. You will learn how to handle a boat much faster than if you go out for weekends and putter around. You are already learning about boat ownership (money and time) but sail trim under pressure will help you for the rest of your sailing years. This doesnt mean that you have to push your own boat like a race boat, but you will know how to get the most out of it that you want. The other advantage of racing, is that you often get to learn with the only cost being sandwiches and beer. The most important thing is to have fun. ______Grant.
Oh.. this would be a DREAM!!! .We do have races at our yacht club.. a few times a season.. so.. I will see what I can do to crew when they have races... I just wish we were out east where I could really get out on the water on real racing boats... that would be fun!!

Great suggestion.
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Old 16-09-2014, 19:14   #20
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
Scarlet...

It's too late... you got the bug... I've seen all of your boat show posts, and the Christmas morning-like hyperexcitement....

This is the crap that happens... sooner rather than later though... You'll be laughing at all of the silly things you didn't know:

The first trip...
The first season...
The next spring...
And all of the outings you had...

Keep going, keep asking questions, keep reading...

After all...

You are a sailor...

SEE!! I knew if I stuck around here long enough I'd catch what YOU PEOPLE HAVE!!! Thanks alot you guys!!!
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Old 16-09-2014, 19:25   #21
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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You've never been on a sailboat before, but you know you want a Cat?
YUP!!! I love my monohull.. but, for long term cruising and living aboard? a Cat makes more sense for us. Hopefully you won't judge me too harshly..
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Old 16-09-2014, 19:32   #22
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
Scarlet,
Forgive me for not reading the posts on this thread. In 1985 my best friend and former college roommate asked me to help him with Spring prep on his 31' sailboat. The only boat I had been on at that time was the ferry to Staten Island, Fire Island and from Dover to Calais, and one in the Greek Islands. I provided labor for Spring prep and was treated to a 3 day sail the entire length of Long Island Sound. I was enchanted with sailing.

I began to read as much as I could and this was of course pre internet. Then I sailed one weekend with him and our other roommate. I was 37 at the time. In the following Spring '85 he asked me to look at at 48' boat he wanted to buy... and I was to be a partner providing half the cash. The boat was magnificent and I was game but needed to learn to sail and took a 3 day Colgate course... read more and was all ready to learn *hands on* from him... and his girlfriend killed the deal.

I was so bummed I asked the broker if he had something smaller I might buy and he showed me Shiva the same make but 36' long. I closed on the boat in August '85 and then the real learning began. I spent 6 years fitting out the boat and sailed off shore for the first time (aside from a trip from Ptown to ME) in the Marion Bermuda race of '91. It was one hell of a race and the worst conditions I have seen in 28 years. The boat did fine... the crew was seasick... and in the fall I departed for a 3 year live aboard cruise in the Caribbean.

I still have Shiva and have sailed perhaps 35,000 miles or more. I don't keep track. I've single handed back and forth to the Carib from LIS and sailed to Brazil from NY. I am pretty much self taught with the help of books. I do almost ALL the work on the boat myself... and I have to learn how to be a mechanic, plumber, electrician and so on... all necessary skills to live aboard. Shiva was a new boat, built strong but not set up for off shore when I bought her... that took me 5 years of work... windlass, SSB radio...refer, storm canvas, GPS, wfax, roller furling and so on...

You can do it... It is the best thing I did in my entire life... sailing.
Wow.. what an incredible story! You really did it!! I'm going to really do it too! we definitely want to spend some time in the Caribbean. And if we get real confident.. I want to sail to the Gallapagos... You give me hope!
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Old 16-09-2014, 19:46   #23
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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and now the season is nearing a close.. and I feel like I've learned so little. I have to learn enough in the next 6 years to be able to go on blue water passages... I need WAY more time to learn than this... right?

Or, am I just thinking that this is a way bigger deal to learn than it actually is.

so my question is... how experienced do you think I would need to be able to handle blue water sailing? and do you think this is even feasible this close to retirement?
Two weekends of sailing during your first 4 months of ownership? You're way ahead of many of us. My first boat was put under contract in early February (this was about 10 years ago). Moved to its then on the hard location in late April. Worked on all of that Summer and next Spring. And finally launched in early July of that NEXT Summer. So it was 1.5 years between buying and sailing. But that delay gave me all the reasons to sail her as much as I could for the next 5 years.
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Old 16-09-2014, 19:54   #24
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

It looks to me like you've gotten excellent advice from everyone above!

The only thing I'd add is...

if you're in St. Louis, MO, maybe you can get some weather gear">foul weather gear and extend your boating season a little longer on the warmer weekends later this year. It's not always going to be warm and sunny, so a little cold weather practice might help. Warm foul weather gear and a cup of hot cocoa makes it a lot easier to get out more!
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Old 16-09-2014, 20:15   #25
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

How many weekends each year is the water ice-free? 40? Stretch the season, if you are serious.

It doesn't take 2 to sail. Go out by yourself. You need to learn to handle the boat alone anyway.

Vacation days?

What is "not condusive?" Dangerous conditions both days, or did it only rain, perhaps only part of the day? If you are going to cruise you will be sailing in the rain. I'm not suggesting sailing in weather you are not ready for, but you do need to push yourself, if you are really intersted. If a little rain puts you off, perhaps you are not a cruiser at heart, just a day sailor, which is OK!
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Old 17-09-2014, 01:11   #26
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

Scarlet,

If your sails are really shot, look into better second hand ones.

I agree with the poster who suggested you might take your boat out by yourself with the intention of learning *stuff*. You're never going to be stronger or nimbler than you are now, and now is the time to start understanding how what you do on the boat changes things.

Yes, some crewing for others (possibly nearby where you live, on a river?) will teach you how things are done on the boat you're on. Just understand it isn't the only way, when you learn from only one skipper.

You might read some blogs by women who singlehand, too, to see how they go about things. Get an idea of concepts to try.

You'll need to plan how to leave the dock and return under control and be able to tie up the boat yourself. So you need a plan for the lines and when you'll make them ready.

You need a plan for if the engine dies, especially if you haven't a clue about how to get it running again. (apologies if that doesn't fit you, it's a stereotype.....) So think, could you anchor in the fairway if you lost power and steerage? Obviously, you need to have an anchor ready to go, just in case, that is the seamanlike way.

Most of this stuff is simple logic and a little reading.

But it is IMO essential homework for both of you to do, otherwise when you get your dream boat (whatever that turns out to be) you'll be unlikely to take it out, even in protected waters. 'Cause the older we get, the more scaredy cats we become.

The more time you spend in your O'Day, trying out *stuff*, the better sailor you'll become, and you will gain self confidence. And if you don't, you won't. Your choice.

You may want to see how things can be better coordinated so both of you can get in more sailing time next season.

Wishing you fair winds and easy breezes for your beginning sails.

Ann
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Old 17-09-2014, 03:44   #27
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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well.. our boat is pretty old.. but it doesn't have a lot on it.. But, sails needed to be repaired... and wood maintained... and we had to put in a new battery... and fix the electricity so that we could sail at night.. And honestly one of the reasons we bought the boat was to learn how to make repairs.. so.. I know there is value in that...

but DARN IT!!! I want to SAIL!!!!!!!

I am in the same position as you.........sorta. I recently bought a 26' Islander with big plans to get going right away cleaning up wiring systems, haul out for bottom cleaning, blister checks, and painting. I have been on the boat for about 8 hours in the last month. I am a field services tech. for a pretty large real estate company with over 90 properties to check every week spread out over the entire Hampton Roads area.

I bought this boat to get away from the exact thing that is keeping me away from the boat right now.....lol (does that make any sense?)

I finally told my boss a couple days ago that I will be taking 9 consecutive days off at the end of the month to get this done. I will be changing her home port at the same time. I have her berthed at a little marina on the back side of Portsmouth and I have to go through some pretty crappy neighborhoods to get there. I will be bringing her down the river to the Little Creek (navy base) which is only 15 minutes from my house. Things should get a lot easier for me after this is all done.

I hope things work out for you!

PS: I don't know a darn thing about sailing either
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Old 17-09-2014, 06:52   #28
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

Oh, Ann! I would love that.. but honestly... I'm scared to death! Probably because I don't have enough experience yet.

Scott and I have basically been learning "our jobs" on the boat. (i.e. we divid up tasks so that one person would be an expert.. then, we will switch and teach the other person to do our jobs... ) So... I still have NO concept in how to run the motor...

I think I could do the sailing myself, except for docking.. we have a HORRIBLE time docking. we are on the last dock in our marina, and when the wind is coming out of the South, it is near impossible to get out of our slip safely.. and that's with 2 of us working together. As we back out the wind pushes us into the other boats, and the rocks along the shore. It is a high stress situation that both of us just DREADS! I'm scared to try it on my own...

But, the rest of it I think I could handle.
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Old 17-09-2014, 06:55   #29
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

Old Snipe... it's funny, what you posted. When we first checked out our marina (before we bought) the harbor master there said he would GIVE us a boat, if we would take a slip. WOW... seriously!? We were excited... until we saw the boat. It was actually structurally sound, and seaworthy.. however, we would have had to spend the whole season working on it as it required lots of repairs... and some gutting of interior stuff that had fallen apart.

Now, one of our goals, besides learning to sail.. was also.. learning about boat repair, etc... We wanted a balance between the two.. a little sailing, and a little working. So, we turned that boat down because it would have been all work for the first whole season at least...
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Old 17-09-2014, 07:06   #30
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

One if the lessons I've learned is that sailing is the EASIEST part of boat ownership. It's everything else about owning a floating home that is difficult.

As others have said, the lessons you're learning are all vital to your future plans. Sailing is easy. Avoid hitting things and you're fine. It's all the other stuff about boat ownership that is hard.


Why go fast, when you can go slow
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