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Old 19-06-2012, 22:34   #1
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Starting from scratch, lots of questions

Hi Guys,

Just joined the forums here, looks like there is a lot of good info already here so if I ask something that's already been answered please just point me towards the good stuff!

I'm in the beginning stages of planning my dream trip. I have very minimal sailing experience and will start from scratch. Here are my questions:

1) Which is more difficult to sail, the Caribbean or the Mediterranean?
2) How much training would I need for either? (Planning on doing certification classes at the Cal Berkeley Sailing club)
3) How safe is it to go by oneself? With a 2nd person only?
4) How difficult would it be to sail a 35'? Any reason to go bigger/smaller?

Thanks for helping me get started!

Andrew
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Old 19-06-2012, 23:07   #2
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Re: Starting from scratch, lots of questions

Andrew, you have found a great spot to find information on cruising if you can decipher the real from the bullshit. I would personally recomend sailing on SF bay before deciding on the Med or the Carib. A 25 foot boat on SF bay for a year will make your choise of a 35 foot boat in the med or Carib, much better informed. Bribe friends with gourmet lunches and wine, and you will learn about sailing and people. You will get a lot of opinions on this forun and everybody is trying to help you in there own way Good Cruising To You_____Grant.
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Old 19-06-2012, 23:15   #3
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Re: Starting from scratch, lots of questions

Hi Andrew and welcome to the forum.
There are a lot of people who sail by themselves. I would suggest sailing with at least one more person. Especially if you are inexperienced. There is safety in numbers.

Scott
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Old 19-06-2012, 23:22   #4
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Re: Starting from scratch, lots of questions

I'm also starting from scratch although this is a dream I've had for many years...there are allot of Catalina sailboats here on the West coast.

1) Is a 30 ~ 35 foot catalina sturdy or heavy enough to sail the South Pacific the tropics or possibly circumnavigate ? ? ?

2) Is a 30 footer of any builder to small for blue water and extended cruising ? ? ?

3) What years should I be targeting for any heavy displacement fiberglass boat.

4) Do you think I can get a solid sea worthy boat for under $30,000.

Thanks in advance, hope to hear from you soon.
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Old 19-06-2012, 23:36   #5
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Re: Starting from scratch, lots of questions

We started out asking the same questions as you and now we are sailing around the world ... Impi has now sailed from France to Brasil to South Africa, South Africa to Brasil, tobago and all the way up through the Caribbean ... we are now in the BVI .. a 45 ft Catamaran and will head for the Pacific next year. Crew? Just Ana and myself. The way I started was to barecharter a cat in Australia where we sailed around the Great Barrier Reef ... We had a boat in the med previously (also a catamaran 47 ft).
My opinion is that it would not be nice to be sailing alone ... it would be very possible but it is handy to have that extra pair of hands and good company.
Dont worry about the med or Caribbean from a point of which is more difficult ... the trick is to DO THE SCHOOL and get your ticket ... get PLENTY OF TIME ON THE WATER ... it is amazing how capable and confident one gets the more one sails ... it's all about 'time in the saddle!'
We spent 2 years sailing in ALL WEATHER conditions to test the boat and our skills around the southern tip of South Africa (home) before we left ... our skills developed quickly and steadily ... we would sail most oceans in the world now ... we have a healthy respect for the power of the sea and keep a very good watch on weather systems. I hope this helps !
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Old 19-06-2012, 23:58   #6
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Re: Starting from scratch, lots of questions

I've been vocal about my desire to sail the Med, mainly because of my love for that sea, and for the coastal lifestyles there.

Each time, I've received looks of shock, urgent warnings against it, and advice that I should sail some other place instead.

To this day, I haven't received a clear answer as to why this is the case, but I can only guess that the Med is somehow more difficult than other areas.

I can tell you that, around November of last year, there were some very strange and severe sea conditions in that area. Giant cruise ships were forced to abandon certain ports. One ship was stuck at sea for 5 days with nothing by peanut butter sandwiches for it's guests. People were constantly commenting on how strange, and bizarre it was, and all I could think of was how lucky it was that I abandoned my idea of attempting a bareboat charter, despite having had no formal training.

Basically, it had something to do with unusually large waves causing problems with approaches into docking areas, and creating excessive heaving.

Still, I'm pressing forward with my plans - though, in my little cruising world all plans will be fluid. I have time between now and then. If I finally decide that the med is just to unpleasant, I'll give it up and sail somewhere else instead. But my goal remains, as of today, to obtain the right boat, knowledge, and experience to make that Med cruising dream a reality.
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Old 20-06-2012, 00:04   #7
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Re: Starting from scratch, lots of questions

Remember, any old barges will get you down wind. It takes a real sailboat to get you upwind without a big diesel. Think about that in your selection of a boat.____Grant.
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Old 20-06-2012, 00:06   #8
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Re: Starting from scratch, lots of questions

Chuck, I once bought a 1984 hunter 34' sailboat for $15k. It seemed a fine boat, though I didn't get a lot of time with it due to a small tropical storm near Cuba named "Katrina". Or at least, that's what it was when I got on the plane that bright sunny Friday morning in New Orleans.

I don't know much about blue-water monohulls, but my gut tells me that boat would have been more than capable at sea, and would only need some equipment upgrades to be taken on an ocean crossing - probably 15k would have outfitted her nicely.

I have heard that boats of that circa were built with heavier hulls than the boats of today. Also, though, they lacked some of the new boat features such as open transoms, and again my gut feeling is that, in those days, they were designed more for seaworthiness and less for style compared to today's models of the same type and length.
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Old 20-06-2012, 00:31   #9
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Re: Starting from scratch, lots of questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
I've been vocal about my desire to sail the Med, mainly because of my love for that sea, and for the coastal lifestyles there.

Each time, I've received looks of shock, urgent warnings against it, and advice that I should sail some other place instead.

To this day, I haven't received a clear answer as to why this is the case, but I can only guess that the Med is somehow more difficult than other areas.

I can tell you that, around November of last year, there were some very strange and severe sea conditions in that area. Giant cruise ships were forced to abandon certain ports. One ship was stuck at sea for 5 days with nothing by peanut butter sandwiches for it's guests. People were constantly commenting on how strange, and bizarre it was, and all I could think of was how lucky it was that I abandoned my idea of attempting a bareboat charter, despite having had no formal training.

Basically, it had something to do with unusually large waves causing problems with approaches into docking areas, and creating excessive heaving.

Still, I'm pressing forward with my plans - though, in my little cruising world all plans will be fluid. I have time between now and then. If I finally decide that the med is just to unpleasant, I'll give it up and sail somewhere else instead. But my goal remains, as of today, to obtain the right boat, knowledge, and experience to make that Med cruising dream a reality.
Most places have bad and unusual weather patterns ... I would not let that deter you from your plans of sailing in the med. To the contrary we found the Med pretty relaxing although it could pick up steep 'chop' occasionally. We were sailing up through the Caribbean recently when we hit massive seas ... Ana and I were astonished as we tethered ourselves in and prepared the boat for 'emergency conditions'. A boat had capsized and one out of six was lifted out of the water by a fellow cruiser ... we heard him on the VHF ch 16 and so searched for others but to no avail. A charter yacht was also feared missing and was recovered with all on board two days later! When we arrived in Rodney Bay (St. Lucia) Ana introduced ourselves to the sailors as 'new arrivals' on the cruisers daily net VHF 68. The nett controller could not believe we had come through this storm saying it was one of the most violent in years in that region.

The point is that weather is unpredictable ... can change in any region and one needs to be prepared for it and be able to handle it when it comes your way. Sometimes it will be unavoidable ... and thats what makes sailing interesting!
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Old 20-06-2012, 09:28   #10
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Re: Starting from scratch, lots of questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by impi View Post
A boat had capsized and one out of six was lifted out of the water by a fellow cruiser ... we heard him on the VHF ch 16 and so searched for others but to no avail.
That's a great story, thanks for sharing it. One out of six?? I still have trouble understanding how this can happen. Are these people non-swimmers? Or just really really out of it? Drunk?

I have never been in the situation, so I don't really know what it can be like, but I really do struggle to understand how a person can drown in an area like that, much less five of them. Even the most primitive safety equipment would keep you going for several days, and in an area crowded with cruisers, and in a boat known to have gone down.

Something else to put on my list of things I need to learn to understand I guess.
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