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Old 31-05-2010, 17:45   #1
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I Have a Plan, but Lots of Questions to Go with it :)

Hello, I'm pretty new to sailing and so I have quite a few things I'd like to know about. However, instead of making some big list, I'm going to outline my basic, tentative plan and hopefully I can get some suggestions and advice from the sailing brain trust as well as someone to point out any major gaping wholes in the plan that I haven't spotted.

I am a twenty three year old woman and unfortunately I have very little experience with sailing because I live right smack dab in the middle of the ruddy North American continent . I have been on a sailboat twice in my life and other boats a few more times than that so my experience is practically nonexistent. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me spending even that much time sailing has left me completely besotted. I don't remember a time so far in my entire life that I was happier than when I was on that boat and I'm greedy enough to want that happiness to be a major part of my life.

My plan as it stands so far is to finish up my degree, which will be completed by next summer and spend the next aprox. two years saving up some money. During that time I should be able to save between 15 and 16000, so that's going to be my price range for starting up my cruising lifestyle barring any loans I might be able to get. Also, just to ward off any questions later on, don't think I'm underestimating my day to day cost of living expenses in my little savings plan, I've been living by myself since I was legally able to (and a little before) so I know how much I can feasibly save in my first two years after college.

Next of course, I have to learn how to sail, I'm mostly interested in the East coast and maybe the Bahamas later so that's where I'm planning to head, any precise locations are up in the air still for numerous reasons. From what I've researched my two best options for learning to sail are to take courses like those offered by ASA schools, or to get myself on a crew and learn as I go. This is where I'd like some suggestions. Part of me likes the idea of classes (probably because I've been a student most of my life) but realistically those classes can get expensive and I want to save most of my fund for eventually getting a boat and any maintenance and adjustments it might need. So I want any opinions you may have on if the classes are worth the money or if I could learn just as well elsewhere.

In an ideal world I'd be able to find someone who wanted to sell their boat a few years from now and was willing to teach me about sailing in general and their boat in particular in the interim, but I realize that is unlikely to happen. Of course I am letting all of you know about my little plan well in advance so who knows right? I'd rather ask about the possibility than miss an opportunity out of reticence. I know personally that I would rather get to know the person who's taking something as well loved as a boat of my hands but I digress.

It's early yet to actually look for a boat, but never too early for suggestions. I want a boat that I can learn to handle by myself with enough room for me to live on it comfortably and maybe have a friend along sometimes. I'm not looking for any trans-Atlantic worthy boats, I mostly want to cruise up and down the coast as well as to all of those lovely Caribbean islands. As I said before my budget is 15-16000 dollars although obviously I want something less than that, (or at least with a down payment of less that that) so I can have some left over for any repairs or adjustments I need. Any suggestions about work I can do while sailing is also helpful, but I have time to figure that out later and there are other threads about it I can look at.

I do realize that this may seem impetuous to some people given my age and lack of experience, but it's something I've always wanted and you wouldn't be sailors without a good sense of adventure, so hopefully you'll understand. Also, about four years ago I lost a good potion of sight in my left eye. People keep telling me that this is going to limit me in life but I won't believe that. I want to sail more than I want anything else and I refuse to give up just because I have a stubbornly deficient left eye. Let me know if I've missed any info. you might need to give an accurate opinion. Thanks for reading my excessively long post, I hope to get some really good thoughts from the lot of you!
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Old 31-05-2010, 18:30   #2
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Hi Kit

Welcome to the forum. I went through a similar discovery process with sailing. Never been on a sailboat until I was about 24, lucked into a 2 week sail to the Bahamas and was never the same again. Two years later I was living on a boat in the Bahamas so I know you can do it.

Seems like you are making realistic, long range plans so would call your idea impetuous. A $15-$15 K budget will not allow a very large boat, but if you can deal with a relatively small living space you should be able to get a boat that will allow you to safely cruise the islands.

If you don't want to divert funds from your boat account for classes you can do it the way I did; read everything you can find about boats and sailing and look for boaters that need an extra crewmember for a delivery or race or whatever.

Good luck.
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Old 31-05-2010, 18:56   #3
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When you finish your degree get a job on the coast and hang out at boating places and meet boaters. They will teach you all you need to know to get your 1st boat. Your very young and have plenty of time for this to all work out. Dave
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Old 31-05-2010, 21:36   #4
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Thanks for the replies! Skipmac, when you say I would be able to afford a small boat how small did you mean? I was hoping for 30' but do think smaller than that would be more feasible? Good for you making it to the Bahamas, hopefully I can sail there too someday, all I have to do is find enough money for the boat!
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Old 31-05-2010, 22:05   #5
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Hi Kit,

For $15K a 30' boat is a possibility. Depends on persistence, a lot of looking and learning, some flexibility in what you want, and sometimes a little luck.

To a great degree it will depend on what boat. You might end up with a 25' super heavy duty, ocean cruising, well known brand for $15k, or a 27' real good boat or a 30' good enough boat. Also will depend a lot on age and cosmetics. A nice, clean shiny boat will always sell for more. A faded, dirty boat might be in just as good physical condition but might go for cheap. Newer obviously costs more than older.

Also you can save money by getting a fixer-upper, but be very careful. Sometimes even a free boat is not worth it. Get opinions from experienced friends or a written, firm quote from a yard to make the boat right any time you buy an older boat.

Look around at boat yards. Down economy and a lot of people can't pay the yard bills. I've seen a lot of boats for sale to cover the storage costs.
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Old 31-05-2010, 23:20   #6
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Hi Kit,

All I have to say is "good for you"! I think it's wonderful what you have planned, and don't let any naysayers get you down. Try to save more, but $15K should get you started. I recently sold my house to buy a 50ft boat, and I plan to set sail sometime in the fall for a circumnavigation. I'm sure I will get an earful when I tell people that my only sailing experience has been on Flying Scots, and as a crewmember on a trip from FL to VA. The point is, if you want it bad enough, you will find a way. If you want to come to Annapolis, we can try to figure out how to sail my new (used) boat together .

Eric
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Old 31-05-2010, 23:58   #7
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Originally Posted by Kit-renard View Post
seem impetuous to some people given my age and lack of experience,
We met an American couple and Nicolle (my smooch) asked her usual romanitc question: How did you meet.
Well the lady just says: I wanted to go crusing so I only dated men who owned their own boats and wanted to go crusing!

So, there ya go. Move to the coast and joing yacht clubs and date men who have the other half of what you need

(As long as thats not your photo as your avitar you should be fine )


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Old 01-06-2010, 02:20   #8
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Ha! Nope that avatar is definitely not a photo of me, and personally I think I'd rather own my own boat!

I'll have to keep Annapolis in mind when I actually get out to the coast. I hear Maryland's beautiful anyway so it would be a good place to start, I think 50 feet is a bit big for me though!

I have good news so far as funds go though. Today I found an even better job opportunity for after a graduate. By current calculations I should be able to save $21600 in one year instead of $16000 in two. I'm actually ridiculously excited, it seems my options are getting a bit better. Now I'm glad I did well enough in school to be in reasonably high demand!
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:08   #9
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If you have the dream - Just don't get distracted. It's easy to make a left turn once you start working, have money to spend, meet a fellah! etc. etc. etc.

Get out on the water all the time to remind yourself why you are working.
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:31   #10
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Thanks for reading my excessively long post
Yer ain't seen nuthin' yet

I think your plans sound eminently sensible. And somewhat more coherent (reality based? ) than some others I have seen as a first post on CF.

As you mention, the big fly in the ointment at the moment is being landlocked - but if you have access to any lakes I would not discount them as not being "proper" sailing.........in addition to a mix of lessons (useful when starting from scratch, but not the be all and end all - so I wouldn't blow my budget on them) and crewing (scope to learn as much as you want - cheaply ) given your timescale and budget (low!) I would be looking to get a sailing dinghy. A cheap one. I personally wouldn't go for something with which getting dunked 5 times a trip is part of the "fun" but you're younger than me - so that may in fact be attractive.........but a squillion designs of dinghy out there - albeit with low cost you may not get a squillion choices At the very lowcost end (sitting unloved in the corner of a boatyard etc) if it floats and has sails then anything else is a bonus!

Apart from getting in as much sailing time as you want (in addition to crewing on larger boats) you will also learn to be the Skipper. When you are the one solely responsible for not sinking / hitting anything (etc ) you get a different perspective from the helm than as simply crew (not to say that learning to be crew is not also important - good crew is always welcome onboard , and part of being good crew is accepting you are not Skipper - even though you could be........and better at it ). In some things size is not so important Nor is the length or distance of voyage. Half way accross a small lake will provide lessons applicable to half way accross an ocean..........especially the bit about getting back to dry land I would also suggest a sailing dinghy if you manage to get near the shore.

The good news is that with your timescale you have the opportunity to learn oodles and oodles, not only from reading (CF well worth hanging around on) and from others in person - but from actually doing..........not only the sailing stuff (easy enough to learn, the lifetime learning is about doing so well - whilst not sinking / bumping into anything - Docks or Continents )..........but (for you on a very low budget) equally importantly to learn about boat maintanence (what boats need, what is good / not good, what the work actually involves in cash and time - and ideally some hands on skills, or at least knowing what the jobs involve)

Your own small boat (even a sailing dinghy!) will teach you a lot, but being interested onboard other boats will generate a mass of information and opinions (not all right - part of what you have to learn is being able to sift for the nuggets) as well as the opportunity to look very closely at boats you are crewing on - for the good, the bad and the scarey!

Nothing like doing a job to realise why you would prefer not to do a job - and to help you decide whether or not to buy that job when the time comes for your "proper" yacht.............with your budget and plans she will require work. With your budget mostly by you . (only with boats is it considered normal to buy the opportunity to pay bills ). ..........but by taking the time over the next couple of years to learn and experiance to the max you will save yourself a fortune - with your (and any!) budget very easy to buy yourself a whole heap (word chosen carefully!) of trouble. and the bills to go with it. Buy badly and you can easily break your bank balance. and your heart...........whilst remaining tied to the Dock.

BTW offering to help out with maintanence will make you very popular, especially if you have 8 foot arms with 4 elbows and can see in the dark. and around corners - Hell, if you fitted that bill (and posted a photo - I've been caught before ) I will send you a plane ticket for next winter

Anyway, enjoy the learning curve - and remember it's meant to be fun.........even if you can't always remember why
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:37   #11
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Hi, Kit, and welcome to CF. You might want to check out CF member littleflower's blog. She's successfully done what you're thinking about doing. Here's a thread that has her signature link to the blog. I Live on My Boat with My Cat!
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Old 01-06-2010, 15:22   #12
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Thank you so much for all the replies, they are really helpful. Also I just found a place in my area where I can start to learn to sail!! I'm so excited I can hardly sit still, I love it when things come together!
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:21   #13
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Keep in mind several things.
We all had or have the same silly dream. Impractical and foolish and we're all here for more of that.
We all didn't know how to sail at some point and we're all still learning.
Many of us have budgets that don't allow us to do what we want when we want so we do the best we can.
There are tons of great sailing books available that are used and cheap. Read them all.
You can get a small free or inexpensive sailboat almost anywhere and start learning on your local lake and have a lot of fun for very little money.
Some of the people on any internet forum have spent far more time at the computer than they ever have actually doing what they're opinionating about.
There are about 14,000,000,000 single male sailors that would be delighted to have any female of any description join them on their boat for any amount of time.
Stay obsessed.
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:40   #14
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I've got the boat, you've got the brains....hmmm

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There are about 14,000,000,000 single male sailors that would be delighted to have any female of any description join them on their boat for any amount of time.
Stay obsessed.
Ha...Speak for yourself. I'm sure you jest. I've got the boat & I'm still looking for the brains (I do have a little, but a little more would help). It's not easy finding somone with chemistry and the dream of sailing round the world!
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:46   #15
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check out this blog. Sailing, Simplicity, and the Pursuit of Happiness but there are plenty more. She did it and is doing it.
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