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Old 01-09-2009, 17:25   #1
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Unpack My Bags Before I Am Even Out The Door?

Hello to All

While only recently joining this Cruising Forum, ( I wanted to ask a question about where to learn how to sail) I have been lurking in the back ground reading oodles and oodles of posts from all the categories. The more threads I read, the more I have learned and the more scared I am.

I have only been on 3 sailboats for 5 6 hours at a time and never did any of the work but have always enjoyed being on the water and on a sailboat. I too was one of many that thought I would learn how to sail ( I am 48 which is rather late to start learning but better now than never ) and buy a sailboat and off I go. Boy I certainly learned that is absolutely the most foolish thing to do ( buying the boat part ) with out first spending time on different types of boats to see what I like and dislike.

I was so sure at first I wanted a large ( 60 75 ft ) sailboat but then I started to think that a catamaran might suit my style better. I require lots of room, small spaces are not for me.

My plans are to spend 5 months ( December April ) of each year in the Caribbean with either leaving the boat on the hard ( I hope that is the correct phrase ) somewhere in the Caribbean or making the trip each year to and from Florida and leaving the boat there instead.

I am the type of person that likes all my toys (satellite tv that I can watch on a large tv and broadband internet while being anchored ) . If my family came to visit, when not sailing each one would need their own tv and their own internet connection. A strange family yes but it is mine so what can you do? Kind of like having a floating condo
( which makes me wonder about a catamaran ) as compared to a lean mean sailing machine.
But the more I read the more I wonder if I should unpack my bags before I am even out the door. When I read about all the repairs to the electrical, plumbing, the sailing systems, plus unwanted guests such as rats or snakes, I start to wonder what am I doing??
I am not a mister fixit type, more the type to have others fix problems which from what I have learned will be expensive.
I am wondering if I am just over whelmed thinking about the reality of it. That the truth is sailing is great but there is a lot of work that is required with the upkeep and that the boat will continually drain your bank account or do not be discouraged with all the things that I have read about going wrong and be more positive about joining the world of sailing.

spencerj1961
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Old 01-09-2009, 19:17   #2
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You don't need to be Mr Fixit. If you've got a bank account that will spring for a 60-75' sailboat or similar cat then just hire a mechanic, boat yard, or professional captain to do the dirty work. That's what they are there for.
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Old 01-09-2009, 21:35   #3
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You don't need to be a Mr Fixit, but if you're not at least a little bit handy and prepared (and able) to maintain and repair as necessary then you're going to have to budget for professionals to do that work instead. Buying a brand new boat should cut down on the amount of repair work, but there will still be maintenance required.

In terms of amenities and luxuries, it is possible to have TVs, satellite broadband connections, etc, etc, but once again you're going to have to be prepared to pay for those things. You're also going to have to have an electrical system (and a means of keeping it charged) that can keep up with all the amenities and luxuries you want to run.

Keep in mind also that the more stuff and the more systems you have on board, the more there is to go wrong and the more there is to maintain and repair and the more there is to know in order to maintain and repair.

Cruising can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Its entirely up to you. You can have a brand new boat built to incorporate all your wishes and desires, but be aware that's going to cost money. You can take an existing boat and refit it to include all the toys you want, and that may be cheaper, but its still gonna cost money.

It is possible to do what you want to do, but it won't be cheap or simple cruising. It will be living in an expensive mobile condo.

On the other hand, many people have sailed the world without refrigeration, watermakers, TVs, radar, GPS, chartplotters, email, etc. and have been very happy doing it.

I would suggest chartering a yacht somewhere with a group of friends or family. Try to charter something like you would be interested in owning ... a charter catamaran should be easy to find, a 60-75ft yacht less easy to find. That way you get some more experience (always a good thing) and get to try the whole cruising thing for an extended period (days, not just a few hours). That might give you a better perspective on what you enjoy and what you want in a yacht.

Honestly, I don't think anyone here can tell you what is best for you. The only one who can do that is you and it sounds like you need some more information and experience to be able to better make some of those decisions.

The idea of sailing appeals to a lot of people and while the idea of living aboard may appeal to many, the realities of doing so may not be to everyone's tastes. Trying it before you commit is probably a pretty smart way to go.

I know lots of people who love sailing but they don't want to cruise for extended periods. Day sails, overnighters, maybe a week at a time is more than enough for plenty of folks and nobody thinks any less of them for that. Living aboard and/or extended cruising isn't for everybody.

You don't necessarily need to throw your dreams away, but you may need to refine them a little on the basis of a little more first hand experience.
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Old 01-09-2009, 23:26   #4
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Do you have 2 homes now?

Imagine the budget you need to maintain 2 homes full time using professionals to fix anything that goes wrong. If that doesn't scare you off then start considering the following.

Boat type - You really have answered you own question. You want a dockominium that sails. Nothing wrong with that. You have family and friends, want space and like to entertain. If I were you I would seriously consider a pilothouse, or catamaran.

Boat location - 5 months aboard throughout the year and leaving the boat in a foreign port is not something I would do. You might consider leaving the boat in Florida, picking it up each year and sailing it down for the season.

Boat maintenance - If you are looking at 65 foot yachts, consider 40-44 foot catamarans. Get something used but no old and maintenance hassles will be less. You might also consider an ex charter boat.

Just my opinion based on what you described.
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:59   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerj1961 View Post
I am the type of person that likes all my toys (satellite tv that I can watch on a large tv and broadband internet while being anchored ) . If my family came to visit, when not sailing each one would need their own tv and their own internet connection. ....... I am just over whelmed thinking about the reality of it.
Think about this quote from some old book: A fool and his money are soon parted.

Unless you start to look at things in some semblence of reality you will be taken for a fool and lose all your money.




We love the reality of cruisng


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Old 02-09-2009, 05:53   #6
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One aspect of the original post is absolutely correct - if you read all the posts in these forums, and in boat magazines etc, the newbie can easily construe it as a life spent avoiding storms, and making repairs with no time for enjoyment.

You have to understand that these posts are mainly about seeking help to do things (especially repairs) and that most people who sail are not really very much in need of assistance in knowing how to have fun
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:16   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerj1961 View Post
Hello to All



I am the type of person that likes all my toys (satellite tv that I can watch on a large tv and broadband internet while being anchored ) ..... When I read about all the repairs to the electrical, plumbing, the sailing systems, plus unwanted guests such as rats or snakes, I start to wonder what am I doing??
I am not a mister fixit type, more the type to have others fix problems which from what I have learned will be expensive.
I am wondering if I am just over whelmed thinking about the reality of it. That the truth is sailing is great but there is a lot of work that is required with the upkeep and that the boat will continually drain your bank account or do not be discouraged with all the things that I have read about going wrong and be more positive about joining the world of sailing.

spencerj1961
I think it is good that you have taken the time to better analyze your abilities/ desires/ and fears. You have probably saved yourself lots of money and agony and probably disappointments.

Sailing/ cruising may not be for you if your personal evaluation is accurate. Finding out this fact is not something that is uncommon.... just look at the unused/ un-loved boats in many marinas around the world. Sailing and Cruising is a very attractive looking life style... it is far more work than most anticipate and can often be more difficult to self analyze once your "hooked" on the idea rather than the reality.

I would recommend you continue to sail with others and expand your knowledge and experiences. You may later find you are more prepared for jumping into it on a more full time basis.

Having a boat in the Caribbean on the hard 6 months, is not something that is at all unusual. Most non charteror or live aboard boat owners do exactly that. I have done that for the past 3 years or so with no problems at all. Most Insurance policies will Require it. It may be something to consider later.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:55   #8
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Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I do appreciate it.

My plan is for winter of 2010 to spend three weeks ( one week Jan, Feb, Mar ) taking the ASA courses for learning to sail (and also understanding how a catamaran is sailed )
Going on the assumption that I still want to sail, the winter of 2011 I will be able to spend six weeks (two weeks at a time ) learning and gaining more experience.
If I still am committed, then winter 2012 spend 8 weeks getting more experience before 2013 which is when I am able to retire and make the decision to purchase. Hopefully by then I will know if I prefer the sailing yacht or if the cat is more my cup of tea.

thank you again for taking the time.

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Old 02-09-2009, 11:24   #9
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There are many places to charter a cat with a professional skipper, and learn to sail at the same time. The BVI is a great place to start........i2f
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