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Old 03-06-2013, 00:53   #1
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If You Were in my Shoes...

I love sailing, and have done it enough to know I love it, but I am sadly landlocked in the mountains at present cranking out school debt-free to get the skills I want in order to be financially able to sail indefinitely once I burn out on dealing with the impossible politics of making our government/world less crazy. (ugh, but somebody's got to try right? Might as well take my best shot. Maybe at the very least get legislation helping cruisers slipped into the NDAA or something.) If you were in my shoes, stuck far from water most of the time, what skills would you learn of the course of several years to prepare for liveaboard cruising? And what other advice would you give me? (lots of good advice hopefuly)

Of the things I list below, how would you advise I go about learning them? What should I add to it? (All of the things below are interesting to me in their own right as well)
So far my list is:

Welding
Woodworking
Knots
Spanish
Fixing engines (cars? Diesel? electric motors? [solar is about to get 2x as efficient and 1/2 the price] Should I buy a POS outboard or something and fix it up for practice? I can probably only choose one of those)
Sailmaking/repairing?
Radio - (would getting a HAM license pretty much cover everything I would want to know?)
12V Electrical? (Blarg, I know how it works from a physics perspective, but practically, I have very little experience. How exactly should I go about learning this?)
Magically finding a beatiful, down-to-earth, loving, wealthy wife that wants to go cruising.

Alas, the last will likely be the hardest, but who knows?

I am already skilled in the arts of cooking, hammock-occupying, rum-appreciation, and fish-eating. Also medical, rowing, diving stuff I'm already good on. I'm used to backpacking for months on end in the wilderness, so sailing in a little boat with an actual tiny galley will be an upgrade in many ways compared to a walking with everything on my back, cooking on a fire that's time consuming to start, and sleeping in a tent. So far I've never been that comfortable staying in one place for very long. I really really really look forward to doing this, and am not very worried about the possibility of getting stuck in a rut and putting it off forever—when I can do it, I will, barring any extreme extenuating circumstances.

What other skills would be good to know? How would you learn them in the US? What other advice or wisdom can you give me?
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Old 03-06-2013, 00:56   #2
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

No reason that you can't do the theoretical aspects of

Coastal Navigation
Astro Navigation
International Rules for Preventionof Collision at Sea
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:07   #3
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

Oh yeah, and that lol. I've got the "Annapolis Book of Seamanship" and a celestial navigation book. What else might you reccomend that would be good study material for those?
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:12   #4
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

I'd forget about learning celestial navigation; use a GPS, instead. Mauritz
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:00   #5
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

Get a second job. Or work hard on getting promoted to a higher pay. Money makes boats go. Work hard while working. Play hard while playing.

Is there no sailing opportunity within a 3 hours drive? Joining a race program would be very helpful no matter your skill level ... even though by observation cruisers need not know much about sailing.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:37   #6
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

Concentrate on skills that most cruisers find difficult to do themselves: diesel engine repair, electrical work, refrigeration. Consider getting a little trailer boat and fixing it up, a Typhoon would be awesome but pricey. Find a job that you can do from anywhere such as networking computers to provide income.

You can't fix the government, it's too full of passionate criminals.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:17   #7
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Buy a non fuel injected Royal Enfield, Harley, BMW or Triumph motorcycle. Do all your own work and you will know engines, carbs, 12v electrical, battery basics in no time at all.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:25   #8
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

Learn to make money, and save money.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:29   #9
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Garbone View Post
Buy a non fuel injected Royal Enfield, Harley, BMW or Triumph motorcycle. Do all your own work and you will know engines, carbs, 12v electrical, battery basics in no time at all.
+1 lol
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:33   #10
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Fiberglass repair.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:39   #11
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

Diesel engine repair and maintenance, 12v DC electrical systems, boat plumbing and refrigeration topics.

These are critical boat systems, and they are also the things you will pay through the nose to have someone in a marina do for you with questionable results.

I'm in a very expensive marina on Long Island Sound right now (layed up at no cost for a few days) and the guy next to me had a new water pump installed, four hours of work at $100/hr. The installer was a nice young man with a nice set of tools. He connected the hoses backwards and they leaked.

After you learn this stuff as best you can (which will be difficult given that you don't have a boat to gain practical experience with) I would then move on to navigation and seamanship.

A great place to start is Calder's general tome on boat systems.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:44   #12
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

I vote for improved computer skills, and not the social networking kind, the "open it up and fix it" kind. Working with electronics will make you a friend in any port.

Another thing to work on is moving to the coast. If you can't get to a coast, you'll have a hard time getting OFF the coast.
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:45   #13
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

Most important skill: How to live within your means--that is, spend less than you earn.

After that, I think I would work on diesel mechanics. Buy an old diesel-engined car and determine to do as much of the maintenance and repair on it yourself as you possibly can.

Also, just because you are in the mountains doesn't mean you can't learn about boats. There must be some lakes that are not all THAT far away. I learned to sail when I lived in Omaha, Nebraska--not exactly the center of the sailing universe.

Good luck.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:02   #14
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

You will learn all those skills when you actually get a boat and begin to sail. The connection between learning and application then, will be much stronger.

As two members have suggested:

1. Learn to save money and live within a restricted budget. Sailing and cruising takes money.

2. Learn to be happy living in a small space, entertaining yourself with hobbies and interests you can do in that space.

But, I hear you, and you want to do something sailing related ...now.

Best thing to do: get an Amateur radio license and a ham radio, and begin to listen in on all the cruising and weather nets. That will directly apply when you get out there and give you the best sense of what being out there is like now.

Hope this helps

Best

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Old 03-06-2013, 09:24   #15
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Re: If you were in my shoes...

*Diesel engines,
* Ham Radio/license,
* Weather:Acquiring and using weather fax on your laptop etc..
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