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Old 17-09-2014, 14:36   #46
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

Cadence, you seem prepared to go into particulars yourself by saying that "sailing a cat will be a lot different than a mono." Really? I have had over 30 years of experience sailing cruising monohulls and about 7 years experience sailing a cruising cat. In my experience, most of the skills are interchangeable with only minor adjustments.

Reading weather patterns and wind shifts? Identical. Navigation? Identical. The process in reefing? Identical (although one tends to reef a cat for the gusts rather than merely the mean winds). Sail trim? Identical, although on Cats one tends to pay more attention to VMG when sailing upwind. Maintenance skills for the rig, the diesels, the plumbing, the electrical? Identical. Anchoring techniques? Identical but for the use of a bridle rather than a just a snubber. Heaving-to?

Any experienced monohuller can move to a trypical cruising cat and sail it immediately. The minor differences that do exist will become second nature in virtually no time at all.

Brad
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Old 17-09-2014, 14:38   #47
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

Three more thoughts:

1) Docking is easier when you go backwards. Get the rudder up, then put the motor in reverse and use it to pull the boat out of the marina. Way better control. Back into the marina, too. Makes single-handed docking much easier.

2)You do have a boat hook, right?

3) Don't worry about the future transition to catamaran sailing. In my experience, the skill set differerences are negligible, except for storm tactics, which, at this point, should be very deep on your list of skills to acquire.
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Old 17-09-2014, 16:57   #48
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
I have a long term plan of buying a catamaran and becoming a full time cruiser when we retire.. (6 years). But, as of 4 months ago, I had never even been on a sailboat. My husband and I bought a small sailboat at the end of May so that we can begin to learn everything we need to know about sailing.

How's it going? not great!!

Here is the problem. since we bought our sailboat we've had 16 weekends in which to sail. (can't sail during the week because we work, and it's a bit of a drive to get there... )

Here is what happened in those 16 weekends:

4 of those weekends I was out of town. (family issues)
5 of those weekends my husband was working (he works shift work)
2 of those weekends we used to work on the boat. (major cleaning.. and repairs needed since it was an old boat owned by a bachelor who used it for partying.. )
1 weekend we went out on a friends boat
2 weekends the weather wasn't conducive to sailing
2 weekends .. we went out and had a good sail.

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 water sailing">blue water sailing? and do you think this is even feasible this close to retirement?
Chin up....I retired @68 realized this is what I want for the duration and went back to work to get money to buy a boat and I'm learning just like you. Reading everything I can get my hands on, taking a few lessons here and there. Very wonderful life and wonderful folks. It's worth it all! Good luck.
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Old 17-09-2014, 20:13   #49
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by jwing View Post
I agree with all the replies so far. Except I think you need a kick in the butt. Here it is:

I third Thinwater's and Ann T. Cate's advice about getting out solo, and I don't buy your excuses for not going out by yourselves. As a couple, you wasted 9 of 16 weekends because you are too scared to go out alone. Go to the marina anyway. If the conditions are gentle, take the boat out and learn something, even if it's just raising the sails on a windless day. Pick one skill to work on each outing. Strike up conversations with other people at the marina. Make a goal of meeting at least on new person everytime you go to the marina. You might be amazed at how many sailors enjoy taking people out on their boats. Also, think about how many other sailors are in your situation, looking for a person to help them sail. Learn how to get in and out of your slip by asking fellow sailors to help you.

Splitting up duties is a bad strategy. You both need to know how to solo sail the boat, run the engine, and return to dock. What if one of you gets sick, gets injured, or falls overboard? One method I've used in learning is "Captain of the Day." That is, one person acts as the captain, meaning: drives the boat, makes all the decisions, tells the other person/people what to do (including fetching food and drinks). Switch roles the next time out. Fast learning curve. Both roles have their advantages. It's fun.

Be judicious about your projects. You are far from needing electricity on your boat. You need to be daysailing, not gearing up for night sailing. And the conditon of the wood probably doesn't matter to the sailability of your boat. As you learn to sail, you will have a better idea of what projects are important. Make sure you sail at least one day for every day or part of a day that you spend on boat projects.
OUCH!!! you kick like a MULE!!

Duly noted though... I will take your advice!
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Old 17-09-2014, 20:24   #50
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
P.S. Scarlet, I am assuming two things which, considering your lack of experience and the size of your boat, I should not be assuming:
1. That you know what is meant by a spring line.
2. That your boat has mooring cleats on the side decks for spring lines.



Brad
I knew what you were talking about!!! scary.. huh?!
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Old 17-09-2014, 20:30   #51
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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You may want to go back and reread my post in this thread.

Not saying a cat does not make for some things, just not all things. And that is a problem I see with lots of folks who buy boats, even very experienced folks.

Before you try and pick out the right boat and get skill to sail it you need to determine where you are going to sail and what kind of sailing you will be doing. Cruising in the Bahamas/Caribbean where passages are short and supplies are fairly easy to find is much different than sailing in the South Pacific where distances are greater and anchorages are normally much deeper. Sailing in the Pacific North West is a whole new set of conditions.

I selected a cat because I am sailing in Florida and the Bahamas. Possibly I will go a little farther South, but unlikely I would cross the Atlantic or ever see the Pacific. If I was circumnavigating even using the Panama and Suez Canals I would most likely get a steel hull monohull.

One thing that has been touched on is driving the boat under power, a skill often overlooked. Another thing you need to develop what ever boat you get is using ground tackle. Most folks who do any cruising wind up driving a boat under power to an anchorage and dropping the hook. Another skill often seldom practiced is heaving to. The better you are at these two skill the better you will sleep, literally.

Hi Tom!
I totally understand what you are say. Our intention is to start out in the bahamas and move south. We'd like to see most of the carribean. I think right now that is our primary goal. In the back of our heads we have this idea of going through the canal to the pacific, and making a crossing to the Gallapagos. BIG dream... likely hood of that happening? I have no clue. We are still too new at this to determine if our skills will ever be that good, and if we would ever have the confidance to do that.

On another note.. please don't laugh.. but we've never even set an anchor!
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Old 17-09-2014, 20:34   #52
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by jwing View Post
Three more thoughts:


2)You do have a boat hook, right?
Boat hook?!
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Old 18-09-2014, 11:08   #53
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by jwing View Post
Be judicious about your projects. You are far from needing electricity on your boat. You need to be daysailing, not gearing up for night sailing. And the conditon of the wood probably doesn't matter to the sailability of your boat. As you learn to sail, you will have a better idea of what projects are important. Make sure you sail at least one day for every day or part of a day that you spend on boat projects.
When I got my 22 foot boat I had only planned on day sailing and for the first couple of times that's what we did. The first time we went to the ocean for a weekend something happened and we ended up launcing as the sun set. The only place where anchoring was allowed was a ways away from the launch ramp so we did end up needing our lights way before we had planned. I was glad to have fixed my lights before hand. Fixing the lights was one of the first things I did when we got our current (26 foot) boat, even though we had no plans of night sailing in the near future.

I wish I could sail one day for each day I spend working on boat projects. As it is, my boat is parked in my back yard where I can work on her any time I get the urge. The nearest water is a three hour drive each way. (The lake we used to sail on has dried up.) For now I'm happy spending time on my boat even if it's not on the water.

Not to worry Scarlet. Anchoring is really not that hard. Read a few articles on setting anchors then try it out. Don't make it a chore that you have to learn. Make it fun. Take your boat to a nice spot. Once you set the anchor spend an hour for lunch or an afternoon fishing, reading or whatever activity you like on the hook. The main thing is to have fun. That's what worked for us anyhow.
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Old 18-09-2014, 11:12   #54
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
Boat hook?!
WEST MARINE Floating & Telescoping Boat Hooks | West Marine

It comes in handy for everything from reaching a spring line over to a cleat, to reaching a halyard that the wind is holding out of your reach, to poling out the jib when the wind gets light etc..
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Old 18-09-2014, 12:02   #55
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

Spend some nights on the boat, in the marina. Perhaps this can fit in during the week, or even on a Friday afternoon to get a better start on Saturday. Some of these nights should be in bad to very bad weather.

a. You will learn more about how the boat moves in different weather when tied up. Things you don't notice when you are working, or coming and going. This will be useful when you start to visit other marinas. A skilled cruisers knows many ways to tie-up, and how they handle storms.
b. You will learn about liveability. Things you may want to change. What will bother you on a rainy day. Ventilation and heat.
c. You will get some work done instead of sitting at home, watching TV. I do most of my maintanance during evenings spent on the boat; they don't detract from sailing time.
d. The best time to find leaks is whan it's pouring.
e. You'll learn what you need to get a good sleep.
f. Prepare meels wile you are there, not just re-heat. Again, you'll learn how the kitchen works for you.

It's not sailing, but cruising is not all sailing. And this will free up days.
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Old 18-09-2014, 12:16   #56
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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...The only place where anchoring was allowed was a ways away from the launch ramp so we did end up needing our lights way before we had planned. I was glad to have fixed my lights before hand. ...
It is wise to prepare for unexpected circumstances. That is why every boat should have at least the minimum proscribed safety gear, as well extra warm clothing, rope, etc.

My boat carries 2 strong flashlights, one to point at want I want to see and one that can act as an anchor light or to illuminate my sail if I get caught out after dark. This is USCG-acceptable for boats shorter than 23'.

I also have a light that flashes red in case I need help at night.
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Old 18-09-2014, 12:23   #57
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
Hi Tom!
I totally understand what you are say. Our intention is to start out in the bahamas and move south. We'd like to see most of the carribean. I think right now that is our primary goal. In the back of our heads we have this idea of going through the canal to the pacific, and making a crossing to the Gallapagos. BIG dream... likely hood of that happening? I have no clue. We are still too new at this to determine if our skills will ever be that good, and if we would ever have the confidance to do that.

On another note.. please don't laugh.. but we've never even set an anchor!
A quick search of CF will turn up the fact that anchors and anchoring are one of the most debated topics at the site. Never the less there are some areas of basic agreement. My advice would be to spend some time in the Florida Keys or the West Coast of Florida before going anywhere. Sea Tow is cheap and covers this area. Lots of good anchorages and places to try out your cruising legs and if there is any problem parts are easier to get than if you are out of the US.

Best of luck.
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Old 18-09-2014, 13:00   #58
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
So far, I think the advice is going well.

I'd like to second Happy MD's suggestion of keeping a log. If done right, it'll point you in the right directions for further learning, and figuring out what goes wrong. Do not expect a straight line up growth curve. Some days are better than others.

Do a Google search here on CF to find posts about getting boats out of difficult slips. Southern Star gave you good advice there. Once that rear spring is on, skipper uses the throttle to keep the boat under control (prop wash over rudder keeps steerage).

Stop helping each other talk each other out of going out. It can become a habit, and is counter productive.

You need to practice docking, both of you, and over and over again. Make sure the prop is clean and also the bottom, because it will make the boat steer more easily. Spend as many mornings practicing docking as you can. Figure out what goes wrong. You may need to come in faster to overcome the effects of the wind on the boat. Many of us have hit the dock with our boat, but it's better than squashing the guy next door. (And, fender both sides of the boat for this practice session. To protect both boats.)

Ann
I have to take exception to getting in and out of slips. You don't need this skill.

If you are going to cruise outside of the weekend sailing world of coastal USA... you just don't find many marinas with slips. What you will have to learn is ANCHORING because 99.9% of the time when your boat is not underway it will be ANCHORED.

Of course you need to learn how to get the boat to a gas dock... and manuvering though anchorages etc.

I've had Shiva 28 years and the only slip she's been in is in water winter storage! I use mooring and anchor. PERIOD. If you cruise you need a dink and you use that dink to get to those awful docks.

Getting in and out of slips is NOT a mission critical skill for cruising... unless you are doing coastal in USA.
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Old 18-09-2014, 13:22   #59
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Cadence, you seem prepared to go into particulars yourself by saying that "sailing a cat will be a lot different than a mono." Really? I have had over 30 years of experience sailing cruising monohulls and about 7 years experience sailing a cruising cat. In my experience, most of the skills are interchangeable with only minor adjustments.

Reading weather patterns and wind shifts? Identical. Navigation? Identical. The process in reefing? Identical (although one tends to reef a cat for the gusts rather than merely the mean winds). Sail trim? Identical, although on Cats one tends to pay more attention to VMG when sailing upwind. Maintenance skills for the rig, the diesels, the plumbing, the electrical? Identical. Anchoring techniques? Identical but for the use of a bridle rather than a just a snubber. Heaving-to?

Any experienced monohuller can move to a trypical cruising cat and sail it immediately. The minor differences that do exist will become second nature in virtually no time at all.

Brad
Brad,

I agree much is the same. However in heavy weather they are two entirely different animals. I would not like to see someone get minimal experience on a mono and think they can circumnavigate a cat. I never much worried about pitchpoling a mono. Of course I'm a newbee, only been on the water 67 of my 71 years.

Roger
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Old 18-09-2014, 13:34   #60
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Re: How Will I Ever Learn?

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Spend some nights on the boat.....
It's also fun.

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I have to take exception to getting in and out of slips. You don't need this skill.
According to post #23, she does. She's terrified of docking, and that's reducing sailing time and overall enjoyment of the boat.

This is their starter boat - they're not planning on going 'round the horn in a 22 ft boat- it's to gain valuable experience. If docking is inhibiting that, they need to gain confidence and experience docking. And that confidence definitely will transfer to their "real" cruising boat.
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