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Old 25-10-2012, 20:53   #1
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Newbie Questions About Gulf/Carribbean Sailing

Hey all,

Let me preface this by saying I have never sailed anything anywhere ever.

I'm 24 years old and am currently taking 2 years off before entering into medical school. Im interested in sailing and would love to start teaching myself to sail. I'd like to learn as much as I can with the end goal being me sailing from Texas around the northern part of the Caribbean (Cuba Bahamas Puerto Rico). I know its a long way away and might take more than 2 years but I want to get started.

Now don't get mad haha. I know its not something I will do tomorrow and I know its very easy for an inexperienced person to get into some real trouble really fast, but I have to start somewhere and this is my first step.

So Im wondering the following.. these are very general questions just to get an overall idea of what Im embarking on.

What Type-
I'm wanting to learn to sail so Im obviously decided on a sailboat over a motorboat. After that I know there are catamarans and monohull (kind of like a typical sailboat). What would you kind people recommend for what Im wanting to do?

The Size of the Boat-
The next question is what size. What Im wanting to do is the most minimalistic (ya its not a word) sailing. A boat I can take to my local big lake and learn as much as I can but that I can also eventually take into the gulf. From what I've read the size of the boat needed mainly depends on what you want to bring with you. I don't need a bathroom, shower, kitchen etc. This summer I road a 1975 550cc motorcycle from Dallas through Mexico for 2 weeks and camped the entire way, that type of minimalism. Im more concerned with what size is needed for safety.

I was planning on staying close to the coast down Florida and then "island hopping" for my long term goal. What sizes would you all recommend?

Engine Size-
Most of the sailboats I've seen on my local lake have small outboards around 10hp. For sailing in the gulf do you need something bigger? What size?

Thanks for all of those who can give me some advice. I'm wanting to learn to sail and I know I have big pipe dreams. Right now Im just trying to figure out what type of boat to buy. Depending on your recommendations I'll be able to decide if my end goal could even be a reality in a few years. If not then I'll just try to find something small to learn on while I save my money.

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Old 25-10-2012, 21:01   #2
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Re: Newbie Questions About Gulf/Carribbean Sailing

First, welcome to the forum.

Second, spend the couple of hundred bucks, and take some sailing lessons to see if you really like it.

Then, if you do, I'd suggest a small trailer sailer to get experience. Maybe even big enough to do your trip, if you shop around for a good, sturdy one.

It's a doable dream, just take small steps.

Take a look at the minimalist boat thread here:
Minimalist Sailing . . . the Boat


Dean - 22' Westerly Nomad - Travelnik
A 14-foot mini-cruiser is minimalist. A 19ft is comfortable, and anything much larger than a 25 borders on ostentatious.
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Old 25-10-2012, 21:13   #3
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Re: Newbie Questions About Gulf/Carribbean Sailing

What's the budget?
Are you in Texas now? On the coast or inland some?
Any chance someone else will be along?
What kind of vehicle do you have to tow with?
A house is but a boat so poorly built and so firmly run aground no one would think to try and refloat it.
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Old 25-10-2012, 21:26   #4
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pirate Re: Newbie Questions About Gulf/Carribbean Sailing

Welcome to CF Campbmic...
Not a bad ambition mate... hope you get to see it through...
Now your talking minimalist so I've got to go for my favourite which is the Wharram Tiki's 21 and 26footers... both can be trailed... the 21's been circumnavigated and the 26 has competed in Transatlantic races..
If you want a look at a Tiki 21 go to my photo's in my profile and you'll see 'Kali' my Tiki from a few years back... top speed 14+ knots... draught 12inches and easy to break down for trailing...
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Old 25-10-2012, 23:58   #5
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Re: Newbie Questions About Gulf/Carribbean Sailing

Hey all!

Thanks for the warm welcomes! As far as the info you all asked for. I live in Dallas TX and my hauler would be a 2008 Nissan Armada rated at about 9,000 lbs towing. Also, I will hopefully have someone with me.

I was thinking of a boat and trailer cost of around $5,000 USD and then towing it down to the coast of TX or LA. I was hoping it would be doable in a 25'ish boat and thats what I was planning on. Something along the lines of this...

1979 26' Paceship PY26 Alcort by AMF 8HP Yanmar diesel - $5200
1979 26' Paceship PY26 Alcort by AMF 8HP Yanmar diesel

I was talking to my friend tonight about my idea and we came up with a few questions..

- What speed does a typical boat sail at? Is that different in lake vs ocean?

- I know a lot of bigger cruisers anchor themselves offshore then take a raft to land. How do you guys prevent people from stealing the boat?

- What happens on a sailboat if your unfortunately caught in a big storm? Do you take down the sails and just ride it out? In a motorboat I thought there were certain ways you hit the waves to get through it, but I cant see how that would be possible in a sailboat.

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Old 26-10-2012, 12:56   #6
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Re: Newbie Questions About Gulf/Carribbean Sailing

If you are near the water, then that is a start. Go down to the marina and strike up some conversations and get an invite to go sail.
Many many questions will be answered by going out for a few hours.
Dave in New Orleans
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Old 26-10-2012, 13:23   #7
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Re: Newbie Questions About Gulf/Carribbean Sailing

A good goal and a nice dream.

For starters, take sailing lessons.

This question comes up so many times, there really should be a "Greatest Answers to Newbie Questions" topic!

Which suggests that you perhaps do some research, and a search on "newbie" or "wannabee" on this forum would be a good start for you.

While the internet kinda lends itself to basic questions, like "What boat should I buy?" or "How fast does a sailboat go?" or "How do I learn to sail?", a further bit of reading may help you begin to refine your questions. One good resource, before you even go to BOOKS are the multiple BLOGS that folks have written about their experiences. Here's one I came across recently: ICW and the Bahamas A Google on "sailing blogs" would keep you busy for a long time.

So, get creative with your searching, and realize that it may be, if not will be, impossible to answer all your very basic questions here on a single forum.

Live the dream, good for you.

Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
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