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Old 30-03-2014, 14:51   #1
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never sailed before.

I have dreamed of sailing since I was a kid. Now in my 50s, I am looking for advice and a boat. My intent is learn now and prep the boat for live aboard between panama and florida. I would like a boat that can handle rough seas. From looking over the internet, it appears I need a boat in the 30 to 35 ft range.

I honestly have no clue what I am doing, or what I need. I currently live in Indiana and I am figuring to buy a boat that is on the great lakes, learn there in fresh water. Then sail it to florida. Am I being to ambitious? Any advice appreciated.
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Old 30-03-2014, 14:58   #2
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Re: never sailed before.

Hey im here from canada ontario I learned how to sail on sunfish last april ob georgian bay bought a macgreggor swing keel 25 ft played around midland perry sound colling wood for summer then last sept drove it down on trailer to ft lauterdale came back to on canada for winter next week me and wife going to bimini big game then to andros and rest sailing kicks ass

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Old 02-04-2014, 08:59   #3
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Re: never sailed before.

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Originally Posted by jcordine View Post
I currently live in Indiana and I am figuring to buy a boat that is on the great lakes, learn there in fresh water. Then sail it to florida...
Why not – any successful voyage starts with a plan… sounds good to me… you just have to decide how you define “successful…”

There are probably as many ways to learn to sail as there are folks claiming to be sailors – however, I’d suggest at least a modicum of formal training at first as (in my experience) it vastly accelerates the learning curve and help you be better grounded when actually boat-shopping… your priorities will probably change more than you imagine (surely I’m not the only one it’s happened to), but at the end of the day your preferences will be uniquely yours…

You may already have done so, but nowadays there are myriad video products (free or otherwise) that will help you learn the basic nomenclature of sailing and sailboats, but gaining the hand-eye coordination still takes physical interaction… whether it is best for you to take a one-day small-boat orientation course or a week-long cruiser/sailing probably depends a lot on you and your desires…

Learning to sail doesn’t take all that long, learning to sail well is a life-long pursuit (at least if you learn as slowly as me…). There is a very human temptation to desire a sailboat that that is reputed able to handle near-hurricane weather and then rationalize an excuse to stay in port anytime it looks like you’ll need a reef… some folks dream of finding hidden anchorages where they can find some peace and solitude; however, for me -- I get so little sailing time I hate wasting it at anchor and very much enjoy sailing through the night – different strokes… all good…

Cruising and larger boat handling is just more of the same as small-boat sailing done longer with more investment of time and money, but as the displacement of the boat goes up, the effort required goes up exponentially as well – and that will doubtless drive your boat-shopping as well as what features you find essential, nice to have or superfluous… what seem to be rough waters for some folks are placid ponds to others, but keep it fun and you’ll be incurably hooked!
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:23   #4
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Re: never sailed before.

All sailboats are compromises, some heavily compromised to one end of a wide spectrum. Personally having learned to sail in a club and having had a chance to sail several different kinds of boats early on gave me enough experience to have an idea as to what kind of boat I was interested in. So my advice is to not get a boat until you know something about sailing.

Googled Indiana sailing lessons and here's the first hit

Indianapolis Sailing Club

$25 a month to join and lessons for $75. Way way cheaper than buying a boat then finding out you either hate sailing or hate the boat you bought and want to find another.

Edit: found initiation fee, $672 payable over three years, but says free access to all club boats.
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:29   #5
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Re: never sailed before.

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Originally Posted by cal40john View Post
All sailboats are compromises, some heavily compromised to one end of a wide spectrum. Personally having learned to sail in a club and having had a chance to sail several different kinds of boats early on gave me enough experience to have an idea as to what kind of boat I was interested in. So my advice is to not get a boat until you know something about sailing.

Googled Indiana sailing lessons and here's the first hit

Indianapolis Sailing Club

$25 a month to join and lessons for $75. Way way cheaper than buying a boat then finding out you either hate sailing or hate the boat you bought and want to find another.
+1

If you take lessons locally it becomes easier to make friends that can take you out on their boats and you can compare designs, features, and makes. Also the more people you sail with the more you can learn. Been sailing since I've been 5 or 6 and I learn something almost every time I go sailing.

Your "perfect" boat will change daily as you learn more and more. Give it time / experience (aka lessons) / and lots of research.
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:34   #6
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Re: never sailed before.

Very well put dcstrng ... You obviously have much more sailing experience than I ... I'll put in my 3 cent worth anyway.
I've sailed on a 27, 35, and 40 something, The 35 was my first Spencer. I learned very quickly that it was not going to be enough room for a liveaboard ... I just like more room. I currently have a 42 Spencer. I haven't sailed her yet but in doing the rebuild I find here a nice size inside for living. Why do I mention all this? Everyone's needs and desires are different. Hal Roth and his wife were perfectly happy for many years on a Spencer 35 ... I'm not. Go to boat shows, go aboard every used boat you can, maybe even take a trip to the coast and get on some blue water boats. Buy a smaller boat, learn to sail, then trade up. Why does your first boat have to be your last boat?
Good luck ... we expect lots of posts by you in your quest for your boat.
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:49   #7
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Re: never sailed before.

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Originally Posted by jcordine View Post
...I honestly have no clue what I am doing, or what I need...
Everyone has to start somewhere. Learning to sail is the right place to begin. Once you have learned enough to be competent chartering a 35' sailboat, then you will be almost prepared to buy one.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:11   #8
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Re: never sailed before.

Why not start right out in Florida? Lots of boats and more good weather to go out in. 30- 35 feet should be nice for a single. I had alot of fun in my 30 footer. I would stay a little on the conservative side design wise. there will be tons of people tell you to just buy a Catalina or a Beneteau.... but a protected rudder and keel is more forgiving and tracks better too. Cape Dory, older Pearson, Luders, Alberg 30 or 35.. there are a ton of good sailing boats out there. Are you a good mechanic/handy man? You know cruising is "doing boat repair in exotic places" right?
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:50   #9
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Re: never sailed before.

Are you a good mechanic/handy man? You know cruising is "doing boat repair in exotic places" right?

RIGHT ON ... you couldn't have said it better. How many cruisers / sailors post here and have questions about gear on boats they've sailed for years but have no clue what to do when that equipment fails. The latest and greatest if great but simple is sweet. My philosophy is: if I can't fix it I don't need it on the boat. Well, except for my stereo system, but you're not going to sink if the stereo breaks.
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Old 02-04-2014, 18:53   #10
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Re: never sailed before.

Based upon what part of Indiana in which you are located, the Brookville, (Indiana) lake is a very nice and has a very active racing and sailing club. It's called the BLSA for obvious reasons. They don't have club boats but the racers are very willing to have newbies crew with them. We have a lot of members from the Indianapolis area. I bought an inexpensive boat from a former club member 9 years ago and learned a ton about sailing and sailboats. There are sailboats ranging from 20' to 38' on the lake and there are couple of year round marinas. We learned enough that we bought a 44' mono and plan to take our first offshore trip in that boat in a few weeks. Just a suggestion for what it's worth.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:40   #11
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Re: never sailed before.

[QUOTE=jcordine;1505615 Am I being to ambitious? Any advice appreciated.[/QUOTE]

Of course you are being ambitious; nothing wrong with that.

Advise, start reading then ask questions on what you can not figure out. I found it was pretty hard to ask questions of use till I had either read up on a topic or had some type of starting experience.

Good luck.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:16   #12
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Re: never sailed before.

I want to thank everyone for the encouragement and suggestions. Motoman, I am familiar with Brookville lake it isn't far from me. I will check into the racing club. Do you know which marina they sail out of? I believe i will take several posters advice and buy a local coastal cruiser in the 22-25 ft range to learn on and figure out what I need.

There is a local mcgreger venture 25 for less than 2 k with a trailer. What do you guys think of this as a starter?
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:23   #13
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Re: never sailed before.

any boat will be good to learn on- just get out there and sail. As someone up above said, "learning to sail is easy, it takes a weekend. Learning to sail well takes a lifetime"

I consider myself a reasonably seasoned sailor and I'm still learning every time I go out.

For your interest - on the Sailing Channel, you can buy a download of Captain Jack Klanges 1 hour video on Harbour maneuvers and trimming your sails.

Singlehanded Docking & Sail Trim

This costs 10 bucks is probably the best 10 bucks you'll ever spend for sailing. Even seasoned sailors learn something when they watch it.

good luck
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:04   #14
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Re: never sailed before.

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Originally Posted by jcordine View Post
I want to thank everyone for the encouragement and suggestions. Motoman, I am familiar with Brookville lake it isn't far from me. I will check into the racing club. Do you know which marina they sail out of? I believe i will take several posters advice and buy a local coastal cruiser in the 22-25 ft range to learn on and figure out what I need.

There is a local mcgreger venture 25 for less than 2 k with a trailer. What do you guys think of this as a starter?
I'm probably going to get crucified for this by someone but personally I'm not a huge fan of Macgregor boats. They're more of part motor boat part sail boat and don't really do either well. Now with that being said it is better then the boat you have right now and it will still be a good learning platform.

I would suggest a similar sized catalina, hunter or any other regular sail boat as it's rigging will be similar and more familiar comparing it to what ever size boat you upgrade to.

But to be my own devils advocate 2k for a starter boat is hard to pass up. As long as it's in ok shape and is sailable as is.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:58   #15
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Re: never sailed before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcordine View Post
I want to thank everyone for the encouragement and suggestions. Motoman, I am familiar with Brookville lake it isn't far from me. I will check into the racing club. Do you know which marina they sail out of? I believe i will take several posters advice and buy a local coastal cruiser in the 22-25 ft range to learn on and figure out what I need.

There is a local mcgreger venture 25 for less than 2 k with a trailer. What do you guys think of this as a starter?
I think you need to do your own due diligence. Go to the lake. Find out for yourself where the marina is located. Get some sailing lessons and read about the different boats you're sailing before you rush out to buy your first boat.
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