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Old 03-09-2007, 17:54   #16
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I agree with folks who advocate practicing sailing on small boats. But, you don't have to buy one. A few afternoons in varrying conditions will give you the seat-of-the-pants experience which is the whole point of learning to sail in small boats.

Unless you are trying to master docking, there is no reason that you should need a year of practice on your chosen boat before cruising. If you are trying to master docking on a monohull, come back in 10 years and tell us how it's going.

The truth is that cruising isn't really about 'sailing' at all - the sailing part of it is mostly about navigating/weather checking/guessing, anchoring, and fixing the stuff that broke. We never made extended passages and have no interest in doing so, but we met plenty of people who had done so. We never met anyone who relished, welcomed or otherwise enjoyed long ocean passages. The best advice is go simple, go slow, and go now:

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Old 03-09-2007, 19:33   #17
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Learning as a couple

To add to all the other comments, I would recommend you think about the dynamics as a couple.

I learned to sail as a kid, and am a confident sailor.
My female partner, while a fit and confident outdoors person, had only sailed once.

When we chartered a boat, she tended to hold back and let me do things. I suppose I looked more competent and would get them done quicker (even tho I was learning as I went). Maybe she was cautious about making a mistake.

Altho I was keen for her to learn, she actually learnt very slowly and lacked confidence.

The Colgate sailing school recommends that members of a couple do lessons separately. Their experience is that both people learn much faster and build more confidence this way, esp the women.

Then go sailing together, once you can both do a wide range of tasks.

happy sailing

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Old 04-09-2007, 03:33   #18
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Docking...

My experience so far is that there are two problems associated with a large boat.
-Docking
-Engine

Provided you can dock and anchor safely and your engine is in good condition and reliable I say go for it.

Sail when you get sick of motoring. It pretty well works like the books say. Engines and docking don't.

If you carefully buy a good quality fibreglass boat there should be no massive financial downside.

While every catafanatic in the world seems to have found their way onto this site some of their points have considerable merit if you are buying a larger expensive boat.
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:42   #19
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Hello to all

I am in the same boat

Mid 50's and looking for a new adventure. I have limited sailing time. I live on the south end of Lake Michigan and have taken the basic three day sailing class. As of this post I will be single handing most of the time.. I was looking to purchase a used 30 Ft to get started but after reading and talking with others I am looking for a day sailer to get some tiller time. Thanks for your input
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:48   #20
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Thanks much for all the input. While I know there is merit to the smaller "starter" boat, the reality is that finding, buying, selling, and then moving on to what I would consider the best boat for our adventure would take more time than I am willing to give, given my age and the current market. We have adequet resourses for our plan, and would like to have the instruction on our own vessel on our own systems from the start, to minimize the learning curve. We are planning on getting properly certified and to take the courses necessary for the mechanical systems aboard. We are not "know it alls" in any respect, and understand that we have to crawl before we walk.
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Old 04-09-2007, 17:30   #21
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Don't know where my last post went. My wife and I have been sailing for the last 30 years are Fl and the Caribean and what everyone has posted here has merit. To give you a different perspective you may wish to look that this thread: bumfuzzle oct 2003 It is of a younger couple who did much of what you're planning on doing. They choose a cat as opposed to a mono but their experience level sound about the same as your and you might get some ideas of what they went thru. There is a complete thread on them in the various forums but it is best to look at what they did and not what the arm chair sailors say.

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Old 04-09-2007, 18:46   #22
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I am happy we went with a blue water boat as our first "Big" boat. Granted, my partner (Sunspot Baby on this forum) had sailing experience... but more than that he is good at problem solving, and I'm not bad at some aspects of problem solving as well. We did take (together) a Basic Sailing Course in San Diego, but mostly he did it for me, and I learned a lot. The best experience for me was (having learned the basic rules first) casting off on our own and learning as I went. I still have a long way to go, and we are both actively pursuing more knowledge, but I am comfortable on our own boat, knowing it can go anywhere without having to upgrade to the boat of our dreams.

Having said that, draft and mast height can be an issue. We draw a little under 4', and our mast is only about 50'.

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Old 04-09-2007, 21:16   #23
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we are planning on purchasing outright an Amel Maramu based on all of our research. It will be a few years old (5 or so, but not older)....................We are planning on having it delivered to us down hear and starting our sailing lessons from here

Why not go along on the delivery trip? You will be able to see how very experienced crew operate your boat, and you will learn something about passagemaking.

IMHO the only way to discover if living and cruising on a boat long-term is for you is to do it.
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Old 04-09-2007, 21:52   #24
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Waterworldly...I want to add my encouragement to your plan. You do not need to start small. We sold our last boat a 44footer to a couple with similar plans to yours who had never sailed before earlier this year. We stay in touch and they have gotten instruction aboard and have been working on THEIR boat and learning the systems and sailing around the Chesapeake double handed now as they prepare for their departure. Sure there is lots to learn and it is smart to do your adventuring in discrete steps as you feel you are ready for each one....BUT...you can follow YOUR plan and cut down the time and expense of going through multiple boats and the small to big learning curve. IMHO....big boats are EASIER to handle and sail if properly set up. The only more difficult part is coming into a dock....and you don't learn that in a dinghy!
SO...good luck...you can make this work!!

I still question your choice of the lovely Amels given your plannned cruising grounds...can you clarify your reasoning on that??
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Old 04-09-2007, 22:28   #25
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If you had posted 2 years ago stating that you were embarking on a 2 year journey to divest yourselves of work and business in order to join the cruising life everyone here would be all for it.

As you are zeroing in on the goal people seem to be second guessing how you went about it.

As for me I think it's all good. Congratulations on your very detailed plan and then sticking to it.

As for sailing experience - I am in the camp that says you can learn keelboats in keelboats. Dinghy's will teach you all about capsizing dinghy's, transferring weight to the high side, and lights airs and such but they won't teach you much about managing a big boat and big boat systems.

So go learn on some 26-30 foot keeboats.

In regards to boat choice my only thought is that the majority of owners who have multi mast boats wish they had a cutter or sloop rig. I think a cutter rig with furling foresails is the way to go, especially for a two person crew.

My final philosophy is this - You start with an empty experience bag and full luck bag - just make sure you take wise risks lest you run out of luck before you have sufficient experience.
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:58   #26
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About Bumfuzzle

To give you a different perspective you may wish to look that this thread: bumfuzzle oct 2003 It is of a younger couple who did much of what you're planning on doing.

Interestingly enough, we know Pat and Allie and we all used to laugh at the negative comments as they made their way around the world. They have been a great encouragement.
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:38   #27
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I will also endorse Vasco's advice the boat is big , but start slow,and you will get it Ihave spent many years teaching couples to sail number ONE LESSON dont scare each other, communicate well before each maneuvre, trade places and enjoy, keep us posted. Ole
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Old 05-09-2007, 19:20   #28
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To give you a different perspective you may wish to look that this thread: bumfuzzle oct 2003 It is of a younger couple who did much of what you're planning on doing.

Interestingly enough, we know Pat and Allie and we all used to laugh at the negative comments as they made their way around the world. They have been a great encouragement.
It's interesting that some people still talk about them as having no experience, and no idea what they are doing. They sailed around the world! They would have done more sea miles by now than many "experts" ever will!
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Old 05-09-2007, 20:41   #29
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44, there's no doubt you can learn on a big boat. But perhaps you've missed a point: You can learn MUCH FASTER on a small boat, dinghy class to 20+foot class. And if you make a mistake in the small boat, there's no damage. Do a slam tack or a gybe on a 45' boat, and you can do major damage AND major injury. And, even if you do nothing wrong, you'll take way longer to get the feedback from the boat and get your sailing skills up to the same level. Run a small boat into the dock, and you scrape wood. Run the 45'er into it...and you can buy a used car for the damage.

No, starting off in small boat is not NECESSARY. But, you asked for advice, and as you may have noted, a lot of people advise you to start that way. It could be mass hypnosis, but there might be some reason why so many people make the same suggestion. No one wants to hold you back. But there are plenty of large boats and sad stories, from people who started big--and then realized it just wasn't what they were expecting, or was more than they could handle.

In the long run? The price of sailing lessons on small boats to make sure you both "get it" and get started on the learning curve, is nothing compared to the price of your larger boat. And way less than the price of one "learning curve mistake" on the big boat.

The fact that one person, or a few people, can walk through hell unscathed does not mean the next guy is gonna be blessed the same way. For every "bumfuzzle happy ending" story you find out about, there are dozens of sadder ones. Including total losses at sea, that no one talks about because those stories aren't so amusing.

I know, or rather knew, one fellow who spent years preparing a boat and said "I can learn along the way, I've been sailing with other folks plenty of times". He was lost at sea and his boat sunk within 36 hours of his start, still within sight of the NJ coast.

OK, you're ahead of him, you plan to take lessons on your boat. But doesn't the chorus refrain still suggest something to you?
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Old 06-09-2007, 04:44   #30
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Many thanks for the replies once again, but I have some clarification, in that we are not planning a "learn as you go" for the basics in any way, but lots of bay sailing and midweek (less traffic, especially in port) motoring to start. I have perhaps understated this aspect, as although we have been out sailing on smaller vessels, our main question was the feasiblity of this plan in general. As to the questions about the Amel and our cruising grounds, we are not planning a career as east coast sailors, but having sailed on various boats as far south as the Grenadines, we are hoping we have the knowledge and courage to do more off shore sailing on our own after our experience is up to par, and the larger blue water boat was a look forward to that time.
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