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Old 17-10-2016, 18:40   #1
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Newbie Questions

Hi all,
Have never sailed but wanting to buy a boat and go cruising for 6 months. Leaving Australia an going into the pacific, Fiji, Micronesia, and anywhere there might be surf. Have a few questions please tell me if im crazy haha.

1. I will have a mate who has done a heap of sailing and can teach me as we go. Will this be enough or should I do a week sailing course as well? How long would I need to sail with someone before i can go it alone (with girlfriend but she has also never sailed)?

2. Im looking at something around 35'-40' Will this be fine for blue water cruising around the pacific?

3. I was planning to spend up to around 80,000 AUD (60,000 USD). Was thinking 60,000-70,000 on the boat then the rest for maintenance\repairs\extras\unforeseen problems. Does this sound realistic?

4. Newer production or older boat. I know there are 2 schools of though on this but with my budget and no experience and as a live aboard blue water cruiser in the pacific what would you choose?

5. Buy in Australia or overseas. Am I better going overseas to purchase as there is more variety and a better price? If so where is the best place to buy a boat? Or is safer/easier to just get something in Australia?

Appreciate and advice and I know there is no correct answer to most of my questions but just interested to get peoples opinions. Cheers
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Old 17-10-2016, 20:07   #2
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Re: Newbie Questions

I can't advise you on your boat questions. But take lessons for your self. Friends are notoriously bad teachers though they are often sincere. Friends are often not as experienced as they claim and often do not know how to explain what you need to know in a way that is understandable. Friends can also teach you really bad habits and take dangerous risks. But you won't know that unless you have some knowledge on your own.

Your friend would be great to sail with so you can add to your experience. But if you know what you are doing first you will probably have a better time

"Sailing" is easy. Driving a car is easy. But driving a car in an off road race, with heavy wind and rain is much more challenging driving conditions than driving to the local pack n carry. Sailing across oceans is much more like the off road race. I don't mean the weather is always awful but there are more challenges than you might expect or know how to prepare for.

Having said all of that, there are many sailors who started the same way. They bought a boat, read a book and went sailing. Most lived through it fine. But it can be dangerous. It's up to you to decide if you can accept the risk. But why not take some lessons and see if sailing suits you? It might not be your cuppa tea after all.
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Old 17-10-2016, 20:36   #3
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Re: Newbie Questions

OK, I am new as well, but have the boat for my intended purpose and am working on it, so a little ahead of you in that regard (and possibly that regard alone, so for what it is worth, here are my thoughts...). I have 8 years of sea and near shore time in the US Navy, and have had multiple boats for inland and coastal power boating use, fishing, etc. I have had my share of electrical and mechanical issues on the water, and have seen some pretty hairy sea states to include 20+ foot waves in the North Atlantic. I am not brand new, I am just new to my own sailboat.

If you are not able to function alone, you probably don't want to head to open sea with only one other person, especially on a 40 foot boat. I would suggest some coastal experience first, learn your vessel (more on that below), learn how to handle things should your mate get injured or become unavailable somehow, and have enough wisdom to see when you are getting into weather that is beyond your capabilities (i.e., spend time closer in to learn this before heading beyond the safe harbors you have close to home).

Second, I would go on some trips on several other folks' boats to figure out what you do or do not want on yours. The savings on this alone can probably make a difference in your cruising budget beyond your emergency fund, from what I have seen to date on my relatively smaller boat (27 feet). You will also get a lot of experience and advice in real time that will be of great benefit when you have to pay for the damages to your own hole in the water.

If you can go to a sailing course, I would HIGHLY recommend it. Information is your friend, and books don't cover it all (or at least, do not reveal it all in an efficient manner relative to the lifetime of any of us mere mortals).

I am not in the Pacific, but it would seem that 40' is plenty of boat, given proper skill level and solid construction, good repair, and reasonable seamanship skills (none of which you currently possess in vessel or personal qualification if I understand your initial post). Fortunately, all these can come with experience and practice, and you can learn this without spending the cost of a vessel to get this information.

I have found at least three schools of thought when it comes to condition of a first blue water vessel. The first is that you should have one that is not new, but very solid and mostly in great shape (costs a bit). The second is that the vessel should be new so that all is in "great shape" so that you are prevented from having to rebuild years of damage and poor maintenance (costs varied amounts based upon the vessel selected and just how complicated you want the boat to be).
Then there is the third school, get the cheapest thing you can find and fix as you go (not my preferred method, can be very costly and may get you noplace good at all, but may be a great way to get in cheap if you are luckier than any other person on the planet, which is unlikely).

Then there is the fourth school, the one I selected. I found a vessel that serves to be my starter boat, and will one day be traded off most likely for something larger. This vessel has several issues, and is being worked through as rapidly as I can do it, given my greatly reduced available funding level relative to that you list. However, when I am done, I will know every internal nook, cranny, wire, system, and flaw (or even potential issues) with the vessel, and probably how to repair them underway. I will also be able to set the interior up such that I can control how I access each area, how these systems interrelate, and even add some nice touches the original designer and builder did not install either because of economies of production or because the technologies were not available at the time. For instance, I am adding radar, something that was not available to this size vessel when it was originally built.

Consider the level of maintenance skills you will need to handle the systems on the vessel you want as your cruising vessel, and whether you will be able to handle rebuilding them yourself, as well as your level of skill at celestial navigation should the power go out. Consider whether your understanding of the 27 states of sky is sufficient to navigate potential weather conditions that your dead computer system cannot display for you.

Get time on the water with someone else's vessel to learn what it is you want (or don't want) on the boat.

Get time on the water with someone else to learn the handling of the vessel with supervision but no actual manual assistance for those emergency situations that often end badly because you did not have a third hand available in the emergency and did not know how to handle the task with one hand (you need to hold on to the vessel with the other in many of those situations!).

Get time on the water with someone else to learn how to make repairs to various systems (unless you are planning to keep a full time engineer or mechanic on board).

Get time on the water to see if sailing on the ocean is even FOR you.

Your vessel (when you actually get the one you will want to travel on) should be in good repair but does not have to be brand new. A used one may be a better buy because it also may have most or even all the toys you want to install already on board, saving your perhaps as much as half the vessel cost in some cases for a perfectly serviceable sailboat.

Whatever vessel you get, check the sail inventory. Sails cost. Large ones cost more. High tech ones cost most.

I have to demit to others to comment on the choice of purchase location, I imagine that the AUD is more powerful in some places than others, and that varied levels of availability exist for the boat you want. Still, I would definitely do a great deal more investigation and practice (even if on a tiny sailboat) before shelling out that much money on a boat that you have ability to destroy in minutes simply through inexperience should you find yourself sole master in an emergency on her maiden voyage (with you at the helm).

All that said, take it for what you like, I would get a practice boat for maybe a couple thousand dollars (in USD value) and sail it like you stole it for a while. Then, when you have at least a few months at the helm, you will know more about what you really want in the bigger one and what you definitely can do without.

My two cents...
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Old 17-10-2016, 23:27   #4
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Re: Newbie Questions

Great advice thanks SailingFan and Sea Dreaming really appreciate it. Will definitely try to get some time in the water to learn and see what I do and dont like.
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Old 18-10-2016, 05:32   #5
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Re: Newbie Questions

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, adz.
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Old 18-10-2016, 05:47   #6
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Re: Newbie Questions

Hi Adz007 and welcome to the forum. Based on my experience which included cruising with little experience here's my take on your questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adz0007 View Post
Hi all,
Have never sailed but wanting to buy a boat and go cruising for 6 months. Leaving Australia an going into the pacific, Fiji, Micronesia, and anywhere there might be surf. Have a few questions please tell me if im crazy haha.

1. I will have a mate who has done a heap of sailing and can teach me as we go. Will this be enough or should I do a week sailing course as well?

Depends on how good a teacher your friend is and how good a student you and your GF are. Yes this could certainly work if your friend is a knowledgeable, experienced sailor who has the ability to impart his/her knowledge to others AND if you (and GF) have the knack and apply yourselves diligently to the task. Will help to include some independent reading and study on your own in parallel with your friend's teaching.
How long would I need to sail with someone before i can go it alone (with girlfriend but she has also never sailed)?

Same answer as above, depends.


2. Im looking at something around 35'-40' Will this be fine for blue water cruising around the pacific?

It isn't the size of the boat it's the quality. I would rather have a solid, well built 30' boat than an old, cheap, worn out, POS 40' boat.

3. I was planning to spend up to around 80,000 AUD (60,000 USD). Was thinking 60,000-70,000 on the boat then the rest for maintenance\repairs\extras\unforeseen problems. Does this sound realistic?

Hate to sound like a broken record but again, depends. Also I'm in the US and don't know the market down under. General guideline, if you get a boat in decent condition and can DIY all the repairs and upgrades then this could be a reasonable budget. If you get a boat with lots and lots of problems and you have to pay someone to do the work you could easily spend more on repairs than the purchase.

4. Newer production or older boat. I know there are 2 schools of though on this but with my budget and no experience and as a live aboard blue water cruiser in the pacific what would you choose?

Depends. Quality and condition of the boat. A good quality, well maintained older boat would be preferable to a cheap, poorly made newer boat.

5. Buy in Australia or overseas. Am I better going overseas to purchase as there is more variety and a better price? If so where is the best place to buy a boat? Or is safer/easier to just get something in Australia?

Sorry can't help you there.

Appreciate and advice and I know there is no correct answer to most of my questions but just interested to get peoples opinions. Cheers
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Old 18-10-2016, 06:10   #7
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Take the course.. as has been said.. learn how to do it right BEFORE you learn the shortcuts..
For just 2 people a max of 37ft should be ideal especially as your unskilled.. also it helps keep your draft to a minimum which is useful for a variety of reasons..
If you buy oversea's you then have the task of getting her to your cruising ground and later the extra expense's when you take her into Oz.. factor this into your decisions/costings.
Once you have your boat.. as advised.. do a fair bit of coastal sailing visiting local surf area's, anchoring, entering over bars etc before you head off to the wide blue yonder.. find your boats limits and your own.
Something like this would be perfect.. separate living spaces, smaller sails to handle, more sail options, and good for anchoring as the mizzen will hold her steady to the wind which is very handy in some places.. the only minus is the draft.. but that one can live with.
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