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Old 05-03-2004, 09:47   #1
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Talking Open for Suggestions...

My deal:
Ex-Wife remarried, no more alimony.
1 - child in college, I've taken care of the tuition.
1 - child joining Marines upon completion of highschool this June.
Sold house and all toys. Will rent until #2 child is off to bootcamp.
And finally - No Bills!
Ultimate goal: In Oct. - Nov. this year resign from my job and sail singlehanded for 1-2 years. After my sailing adventure rejoin the workforce, work another 15 - 17 years and retire. Then ???
Currently I'm reading all information about sailing that I can get my hands on. I'm looking for a sailing school in my area,(Calif. Bay Area) and hope to begin classes within 2 months.
Questions:
1)I plan on buying a boat for cash in the 30-40K range.
Should I buy the boat after all classes are completed?
2)Regarding sailing instruction: I realize that the instructors will recommend a certain amount of classes to ready me for this adventure. Does anyone else have advice/ experience on the number of classes I should complete? Type of classes?
As I get closer I imagine I'll be in here asking a lot of additional questions. Thanks
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Old 05-03-2004, 12:12   #2
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Hi Greg. My thoughts would be, do the courses, at least some, only to allow you to get an idea about what type of boat you want.
Then I would think you will find a slight flaw in your longer term course of life. Once you leave for your first 1-2yrs trip, I doubt you will want to come back and work another 17yrs. If you are now single, then you will probably pick up enough work for bread and butter money along your way.
Wish you all the best and have fun. Lots and Lots of it,
Alan
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Old 05-03-2004, 15:22   #3
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I'm currently looking at sailing schools.
I've contacted J World and they seem creditable. Does anyone have comments/experience with schools in the Bay Area, preferably East Bay?
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Old 05-03-2004, 15:38   #4
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I would also try to hook up with a local sailing group and see if you can crew for a few weekends. I would espeically look for some heavy weather time after I had a few sailing classes. No amount of book reading can prepare you for the adrenoline pumped times on the fore deck in rough seas and winds, trying to pull down a head sail. As they say, sailing is the most excitement you can get at 5 knots.

I would think you are in a good area for getting rough weather experience without leaving the bay.

Woody
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Old 06-03-2004, 22:21   #5
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Greg, you might want to look into the Cal Sailing Club in Berkeley. http://www.cal-sailing.org It is a great place if you have more time than money and if you are outgoing and enjoy a cooperative club spirit. It is not the place if you want a private lesson from 4:45 - 6:15 on a brand spankin new boat.

Realistically, if you are starting with little previous sailing or boating experience I don't think you can expect to be cruising by November unless you are prepared to make many mistakes while learning. If, however, you can devote almost all of your free time to sailing it is likely that you could find many daysailing and racing opportunities throughout the summer and maybe land an ocean cruising spot on a boat headed to Mexico this fall. This should give you a much better idea of what boats you find fit you and how the cruising lifestyle might work - all while sailing other peoples boats for the cost of gas, lunch and dinner. This can ultimately save thousands of dollars vs. rushing into a purchase without said experience. Good luck. Chris
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Old 07-03-2004, 05:13   #6
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I would suggest delaying the pruchase as long as possible. First, you'll save money on a boat you are not ready for. Second, you'll know so much more after you have sailed a while longer. Knowing more is the thing you need to work on first.

When you know more you'll better understand why you want certain things in a boat. You'll have things you like and don't like. Hopefully you will have lived on aboat for at least some short trips. You'll also get to know other sailors that can help you too.

As far as paying cash for a 30 - 40K boat you need to divide the available funds up. No boat in that price range is in sail away condition and equiped for a 1 -2 year journey. You'll need to refine your idea of sailing off into the sunset with some more concrete and relaistic goals then match the skills required, the boat and gear to it. Lastly the expense of taing off for 2 years requires a substantial amount of money plus reserves for your boat. A financial plan may be as critical as anything else you do.

As far as trainning goes I started with some classes. I've done some of the ASA courses but US Sailing also has a similar program. You may try any number of other courses too. One option is to travel to say the BVI's and do a live aboard charter / course. If you like to travel it's nice to sail in waters other than your own to get a feel. I took a class in San Diego and next door was the J World down there. They do a nice job with the basics, but it is a group lesson. For a beginning lesson I think it would be a good course. ASA (Amewrican Sail Association) and US Sail also have courses where you are and are worth looking into too.

I would say at least get yourself out on the water every way you can and as much as you can and do as many differnt things that you can. Offer to help people you meet with labor to learn as much as you can from them as far as working on boats too. You'll need a good solid understanding of the repair and maint asspects to owning a boat. You need to get to know boat people and how they think and act if you expect to be one.
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Old 08-03-2004, 13:08   #7
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If I may add one other thought. When it comes to purchase, with the intenion of world cruising, the greatest expense is bringing the vessel up to the requirements of equipment needed. The cheapest way of doing this, is to purchase a boat that has already done the trip and has recently returned. The only things you may need to spend money on would be updating flares, medical kit and life raft. To start from the begining is costly and difficult if you have a lack of experiance. It's much much cheaper buying something already to go. It may cost more than your orginally intended budget however.
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Old 08-03-2004, 17:42   #8
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We just bought a boat and are learning as we go! I am more experienced as a power boater but I am learning to sail on my own. I think your plan is better but I needed the money for the boat! And this is my 200th post!
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Old 09-03-2004, 02:35   #9
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Sailing school is the last thing you need...

Greg, I don't mean to criticize sailing schools and I'm sure some formal instruction would be useful to you. But most of the challenges you face are w-a-y outside a typical school curriculum. Insofar as structured education is concerned, I'd recommend you instead book a leg with John Neal (visit www.mahina.com) on a real cruising boat in a true cruising venue consistent with your plans. Yes, it will be expensive...but it will erase a lot of misconceptions (in fact, it might save you the cost of a boat you end up not needing!), orient you to what's necessary vs. nice-to-have, and teach you a lot about "cruising" (which encompasses a much broader range of skills than "sailing").

Buying a boat that's previously been cruised sounds like conceputally good advice but the devil's in the details. Most cruising boats these days are loaded down with stuff you can't afford, given your budget. Most 'stuff' has been owner installed, but you don't yet know what to look for. Most cruising boats these days are bigger than you need or can afford. And so forth...

The best single thing you can do is get on the water, as has been suggested multiple times already. Use Latitude 38 religiously, attend their crew-finder parties, read the racing skeds so you can seek crewing positions, prowl the boatyards to offer weekend (free) help in exchange for crewing opportunities, visit yacht clubs and ask about signing up for beer can races...the list is endless and L38 always is offering suggestions on how to get on the water. If you can't find the time or motivation to do this a LOT, then perhaps you like the idea of cruising by sailboat more than its reality.

I'd encourage you to seek a berth on the Baja Ha-Ha that L38 sponsors each fall. Even if you can't book passage on a boat leaving San Diego - which would be idea because, given your location and timetable for leaving, Mexico is about as far as you're going to get - being able to crew a boat South from the Bay Area would be good experience and introduce you to what another owner's done in prep for cruising longer-term.

Begin assembling a good basic reference library that will help educate you on picking, equipping and sailing a cruising boat. Beth Leonard's Voyager's Handbook is a good one because she tackles topics life financing your cruise and does a nice job of offering cruising 'models' that are based on smaller boats with few systems and smaller budgets. Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook is useful as an educational tool; just don't get trapped into thinking all those gizmos, systems and toys are going to be useful for you. For a very few bucks, I'd buy an old copy of Hal Roth's After 50,000 Miles - its full of sound advice and was written at a time when boats were simplier and the emphasis was on seamanship and not on electrons, bow thrusters and satcom systems. There are many other references; dig into them and see what you can learn.

Good luck on the research...but get 'out and about' and dig into some good references to help with your basic education. I'm afraid that BB advice like mine is only skin deep.

Jack
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Old 19-03-2004, 18:38   #10
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Well Greg ,you certainly have found alot of sound advice here .
Having sailed for the last hum, all my life , have been teaching sail and cruising for the last 6 years,and being very active in the bay area i would suggest looking at a different angle.
Most schools there are into weekend sailing and a overnight on the hook,which only shows you the art of sailing and a few other coastel cruising methods.
Instead go for a week or two, whether a class or a crew position and get a taste of the lifesyle of sailing long runs.I usally spend months just appraising my sailing routes, time of year,weather and then prepare my boat for such.

My best advice: From a not too old salt who sails more miles per year than most people drive there car is ,,,go slow and take it all in, and take some formal training at least in navigating.
I always run into week sail trips from schools and once in a while for open crew.

Fair winds
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Old 22-03-2004, 15:47   #11
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Thanks

The more I learn about sailing/cruising the more I realize just how ignorant I was to ask my intial question!
Damn! It was much easiler fantasying about cruizing the open sea.
That being said... I still have the bug, even more so and I'm determined to live out my dream.

BTW: I am getting a lot of negative feedback from friends and family. They all think I'm nuts and going through a Mid-Life Crisis.
Has anyone else experienced this? How did you deal with this tackfully?
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Old 23-03-2004, 13:05   #12
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I don't think most friends like to see thier friends do something different. This is hard for me to put into words. They may be somewhat jellous that you are doing it and they are stuck doing what they have been. They maybe sad that they will lose a good friend. I have lost some as we work at getting out there, I have gained more because we are getting out there! And many are still my friends. Follow your heart and let your friends decide how they will handle it.
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Old 23-03-2004, 15:37   #13
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My day job is in the Financial and Insurance business so a lot of my collegues are the three piece suit types that look like sharks. These guys are the driven types with lofty goals, fancy cars, show offices and so on. They are in a hurry to get somewhere but they do not know where it is, and they are not sure of where they are now. The highlight of their month is the big deal they just closed. My highlight was the two baby lambs born last Thursday. I am an underachiever by their standards, but I am an overachiever at apreciating life, the birds the animals and sailing. As a sailor I think you have a much firmer grasp of reality and lifes perks than the type I have mentioned. To condradict myself the branch manager of one of the companies just phoned, he wants to go sailing. Talk to more people, someone will talk sailing, most folks just do not understand, and they shy away from stuff they do not understand. Michael Casling
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Old 23-03-2004, 16:36   #14
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That's right Mike. I was making good money but it just did not satisfy me. No that I've been "downsized" I have more time to live. And I like it! I can't wait to get out there and see the world!
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Old 23-03-2004, 21:11   #15
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The right attitude, IS. I also was downsized after 24 years and after getting over the shock it was the perfect opportunity. I became self employed and am able to make enough to keep the wolves at bay AND I have time to finish a major refit. We will leave in one year.
My parents think it is the coolest thing. My dad is envious as hell because he had to shelve all his dreams due to five kids and now old age.
My wife's parents were mortified by the whole idea but they have both passed on recently so my wife finds it easier to leave. We just did not talk about it in their presence.
Many people are afraid to do something really adventurous and live out a dream. That's okay because someone has to stay behind and keep the wheels of the military industrial complex going. Just think if there was no one to sit home and watch American Idol. What would happen to our country? More room out there in the wonderful places for us.
We have been planning out cruise for several years and we have drifted away from people who did not understand or encourage our "lifestyle choice". The friends who are left are much more interesting and we have met may new friends doing or about to do the same thing.
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