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Old 04-02-2013, 22:04   #1
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Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

Hello everyone

My wife and I decided a while ago that we would like to go cruising - on a cat!

Although we have NO experience, we are the kind of crazy folks who tend to accomplish things we set our minds to. (We came to our decision whilst watching sailors from a beach in the Bahamas after we - both pilots - had flown there from Western Canada in our small single-engine plane, if that will help explain who we are)

We are taking the month of February to do a road trip along the coast of Florida. We arrived in Tampa today, and intend to drive south along the Gulf coast to Naples, then down to Key West, then back North in time for the boat show in Miami, then on to Charleston, then home.

Our goals on this trip are to:

1. Meet with folks who are willing to impart their wisdom about our schemes. We hope to meet with may different folks - achievers, dreamers, sales people, sailing instructors, in fact anyone who seems to have a point of view worth considering.
2. Expose ourselves to a variety of boats - must be catamarans - SWMBO is not negotiable on this point, systems, training and licensing requirements, etc.
3. Learn all we can about how to go about achieving our dream.
4. By the end of the month, be able to answer the question: Yea or Nay to the cruising-cat-sailing adventure.

Currently, we have the following broad questions regarding our quest:

1. Is it a feasible thing for us to do? We are both in our mid-50s, and in good health, but certainly not Adam and Eve. Will we be able to find folks who started at our age to talk to and meet?
2. We currently live in Canada - what would be the best way to go about cruising while working for part of the year in Canada? We hope to purchase a suitable craft in 2015/6 (currently we are leaning toward a 40-44' Lagoon), and plan to sail in the Caribbean once we are comfortable, and then decide about further adventures.
3. We want to blog about our quest - from start to finish - whatever that may be. We have some small experience blogging, but want to make a formal attempt to answer the question that so many cruisers seems to aspire to: is it possible to generate enough online income to maintain some/most of their expenses while cruising, say in the Caribbean, to enable retirement savings to remain intact?

SO, if you find the above admission of ignorance and stupid bravado worth some of your time to set right, and you live in / will be in Florida this February, please contact us, and we will try to arrange a time to meet.

Please answer on this forum, or send an email to: crazies (at) cronje (dot) ca

Sincerely
Lizzy and Steve
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:28   #2
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigNut View Post
Hello everyone

My wife and I decided a while ago that we would like to go cruising - on a cat!

Although we have NO experience, we are the kind of crazy folks who tend to accomplish things we set our minds to. (We came to our decision whilst watching sailors from a beach in the Bahamas after we - both pilots - had flown there from Western Canada in our small single-engine plane, if that will help explain who we are)

We are taking the month of February to do a road trip along the coast of Florida. We arrived in Tampa today, and intend to drive south along the Gulf coast to Naples, then down to Key West, then back North in time for the boat show in Miami, then on to Charleston, then home.

Our goals on this trip are to:

1. Meet with folks who are willing to impart their wisdom about our schemes. We hope to meet with may different folks - achievers, dreamers, sales people, sailing instructors, in fact anyone who seems to have a point of view worth considering.
2. Expose ourselves to a variety of boats - must be catamarans - SWMBO is not negotiable on this point, systems, training and licensing requirements, etc.
3. Learn all we can about how to go about achieving our dream.
4. By the end of the month, be able to answer the question: Yea or Nay to the cruising-cat-sailing adventure.

Currently, we have the following broad questions regarding our quest:

1. Is it a feasible thing for us to do? We are both in our mid-50s, and in good health, but certainly not Adam and Eve. Will we be able to find folks who started at our age to talk to and meet? Absolutely, in fact you'll meet a lot your age and older. The boomers are flocking to cruising.
2. We currently live in Canada - what would be the best way to go about cruising while working for part of the year in Canada? We hope to purchase a suitable craft in 2015/6 (currently we are leaning toward a 40-44' Lagoon), and plan to sail in the Caribbean once we are comfortable, and then decide about further adventures. Easiest would be to just cruise the boat down there and leave it with a marina while you're back in Canada working.
3. We want to blog about our quest - from start to finish - whatever that may be. We have some small experience blogging, but want to make a formal attempt to answer the question that so many cruisers seems to aspire to: is it possible to generate enough online income to maintain some/most of their expenses while cruising, say in the Caribbean, to enable retirement savings to remain intact? i doubt you can cover your expenses but blogging is not my thing so I'll have to defer to others. I will say I find there are too many blogs these days and I read them less and less. Seems everyone has one and they are probably a great way for friends and family to keep up with you, but most I find to be just more of the same. Maybe you can find a niche that's untapped.

SO, if you find the above admission of ignorance and stupid bravado worth some of your time to set right, and you live in / will be in Florida this February, please contact us, and we will try to arrange a time to meet.

Please answer on this forum, or send an email to: crazies (at) cronje (dot) ca

Sincerely
Lizzy and Steve
Welcome to CF! Some answers above, mostly MO.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:39   #3
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

Welcome to the board BigNut. A good percentage of people who want to do what you are contemplating on a Cat are just like you in age, desires and capabilities. You're not an odd man out at all.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:49   #4
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pirate Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

Welcome to CF...
Best of luck with the 'Dream'..
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Old 05-02-2013, 13:55   #5
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

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Welcome to the board BigNut. A good percentage of people who want to do what you are contemplating on a Cat are just like you in age, desires and capabilities. You're not an odd man out at all.
But a blog from a point of a pilot (especially if you would also fly at each island) might be a new spin on things. Something like "sail & fly" or "sea & sky", though that might be cheesy.

I heard people say that blogging doesn't cover enough expenses to rely on it. But not from first hand experience.

Maybe carrying an ultralite or a dinghy with a delta wing and an engine and earning money by doing flights or aerial photography/videography is an option? Someone on CF started a thread about carrying an ultralite on a Lagoon I believe.

P.S. Vancouver to Bahamas on a single engine? That must have been a fun adventure!
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Old 05-02-2013, 22:22   #6
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

www.bumfuzzle.com - read this (it will take you a few days from start to finish) and come back again.

I'm posting this website as a GOOD thing versus some of the negativity directed towards them on previous occasions. If you don't enjoy the writing at least you'll enjoy the pictures.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:15   #7
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

We appreciate the great responses so far, including some off-list invites and encouragement.

Just to clarify our intentions:

What we are hoping to do, is meet with folks who can share their real-life experiences and wisdom while we are in Florida.

We are voracious readers, and have read many websites, and a ton of books, heck even books on Junk rigs! Although our experience is next to zero, we have quite a bit of "book knowledge", but not much practical knowledge at all. (When Steve was a teenager, he built and sailed a 14' dinghy with his Dad, and windsurfed a lot after that, but that's about it!)

The Bumfuzzles make a great read, and have a can-do attitude. However, they are not starting in their mid-fifties!

We know and understand from reading that this is all possible, but hope to meet and speak to those with personal experience.

What we have found in our flying adventures, is that the folks with deep knowledge to impart often don't share much online. They spend less time in the forums, and more time in the air and hangar!

We suspect this is the same in sailing, hence our quest to seek out individuals in person.

Just for laughs:

We walked into the St. Petersbug Yacht Club yesterday ( it does have a big sign on the front wall saying MEMBERS ONLY, but what the heck), and asked at the desk: "We are from Canada, and want to speak to someone about how to learn to sail a catamaran and go cruising." (I know, I know, but we were feeling silly, and wanted to see what would happen)

The nice lady at the desk told us that they did not have "those catamarans" in St. Petersburg, but sometimes some came to regattas (pronounced "righuttas"). However, she continued, the club was not really about sailing, but if we went down the road we would find a sailing school!

We also went to the "offices" of a well-known Catamaran company in St. Pete's yesterday, only to find that it is not a real office, but a "virtual office" - one of those where you put "your" sign on the door when you are renting the office to meet with someone. Neat idea, but not confidence-inspiring, particularly when there is no immediate response to an email to that same office, other than a poorly formatted automated reply. Sigh.

Soooo, I guess we are feeling a little disheartened and disillusioned today.

Off to Ybor for some fun! Thanks for reading! Please keep up the responses which are all appreciated.

Lizzy and Steve
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:38   #8
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pirate Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigNut View Post
We appreciate the great responses so far, including some off-list invites and encouragement.

Just to clarify our intentions:

What we are hoping to do, is meet with folks who can share their real-life experiences and wisdom while we are in Florida.

We are voracious readers, and have read many websites, and a ton of books, heck even books on Junk rigs! Although our experience is next to zero, we have quite a bit of "book knowledge", but not much practical knowledge at all. (When Steve was a teenager, he built and sailed a 14' dinghy with his Dad, and windsurfed a lot after that, but that's about it!)

The Bumfuzzles make a great read, and have a can-do attitude. However, they are not starting in their mid-fifties!
Lizzy and Steve
Hiya Lizzie, Steve..
The age your starting at IS an advantage..
By now you've developed the art of patience.. concentration... and hopefully the wisdom to know you don't know it all..
Something lacking in the youth of today who are itching to get back to their I-pods/I-pads and away from the boring old fart who's demonstrating how to make a bowline...
So keep plugging on... as they say...
Rome was not built in a day..
So defend your hopes and dreams as fiercely as Troy...
just watch out for the Gift Horse's...
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:50   #9
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

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Originally Posted by BigNut View Post
Just for laughs:

We walked into the St. Petersbug Yacht Club yesterday ( it does have a big sign on the front wall saying MEMBERS ONLY, but what the heck), and asked at the desk: "We are from Canada, and want to speak to someone about how to learn to sail a catamaran and go cruising." (I know, I know, but we were feeling silly, and wanted to see what would happen)

The nice lady at the desk told us that they did not have "those catamarans" in St. Petersburg, but sometimes some came to regattas (pronounced "righuttas"). However, she continued, the club was not really about sailing, but if we went down the road we would find a sailing school!
Interesting, if you look at the boats in the SPYC premier event (Regatta Del Sol al Sol), last year 2 of the 5 multihulls registered (Lagoon 37 and Voyage 43) list SPYC as their home club. This year a Leopard 43 is registered listing SPYC as it's home club and it's over 2 months until the start.

I would guess either you caught someone on an off day, or they were politely adhering to the MEMBERS ONLY sign trying to get rid of you.
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Old 06-02-2013, 18:48   #10
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

There are lots of folks who do not like "those catamarans". There are also a lot of folks who do like "those catamarans" and some of them sail monohulls. I would say your encounter at SPYC may have been a good lesson in a part of the reality of the boating culture.

For the most part boaters are a friendly group of people, but they are people.

One thing I have noticed is that many marinas have a white board where you can post messages. My cat is at marina and there are notices of folks who are looking for crew, buddy boats, and all sorts of things. A lot of boaters are more than happy to talk about boats over a beer, soda, coffee, or what ever. It is common to invite someone out for a sail if the weather is suitable. There is a running joke about one of the cats that at times has had six tenders tied to it and guests all over the boat. But there are also cat owners who never seem to have guests.

Bottom line is that walking the docks and meeting folks takes time. But for you the time will be well spent. I would also suggest you post a little more about where you will be when and ask if anyone at CF will be there to help you meet folks.
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Old 06-02-2013, 20:29   #11
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

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There is a running joke about one of the cats that at times has had six tenders tied to it and guests all over the boat. But there are also cat owners who never seem to have guests.
Yep, once your at anchor, the type of boat don't matter, most people are very friendly.

I've had 8 tenders hanging of the back and 19 people on-board for happy hour!
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:07   #12
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

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There are lots of folks who do not like "those catamarans". There are also a lot of folks who do like "those catamarans" and some of them sail monohulls. I would say your encounter at SPYC may have been a good lesson in a part of the reality of the boating culture.
Just to be clear - I did not feel that the lady we spoke to was being rude or particularly dismissive either. I understand the culture thing as well, and really just entered the SPYC for a giggle, as we found nothing else to do.

We both had cameras with us, one on a monopod, and as we were leaving one of the managers did follow us while trying to remain inconspicuous, so I guess we were not seen as locals!

Quote:
One thing I have noticed is that many marinas have a white board where you can post messages. My cat is at marina and there are notices of folks who are looking for crew, buddy boats, and all sorts of things.
Does anyone have any suggestions about marinas to visit? See below for a rough itinerary:

Quote:
I would also suggest you post a little more about where you will be when and ask if anyone at CF will be there to help you meet folks.
We plan on spending the next 4 nights in the Tampa - Ft. Myers region. From Sunday 10 - Wed 14 we will be in Key West, then in Miami from 14 - 19 or so, St Augustine on the 21st. We leave from Charleston on the 26th.

We are somewhat flexible, other than for the 26th, and willing to travel out of our way.

Sooo, if there are any folks who wish to tell us lies while we buy the beer, please let us know! We would love to meet you!

Regards
Lizzy and Steve
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:19   #13
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

My two cents:

1. All the information you need is online. People will be happy to talk to you here and give you tons of advice, sometimes confusing, sometimes useful.
2. Walking into yacht clubs won't do much.
3. Blogging won't pay for your trip. Billions of blogs exist for free everywhere. Occasionally, magazines or other publications may buy articles, and the sales could help, but blogs most likely won't do it, unless you can land a sponsor in advance, My guess is no way to do it realistically, especially if you are not a legitimate journalist. I was a working journalist, and deadlines often ruin the joy of travelling.
4. Take a cat sailing course and get your ASA sailing certs if you don't already have them. My wife and I took a Cat sailing course in the BVI's for eight days and had a blast, getting our ASA bareboat charter certs at the same time. We did it through Rob Swain Sailing, and I recommend them highly. Nice people. Down to earth and real. swainsailing.com.
5. Charter a boat for a few weeks with a captain. We did so for our honeymoon in Greece and it was great. Learned a ton and changed a few opinions about what we would want or need in a boat (after that trip, I'm fully against Lagoons). I negotiated heavily with smaller charter owners and operators and got a deal at a fraction of the price of the big boy charter companies. Risk is higher without the support of the big charter companies, but with enough diligence, it can be done and for a fraction of the cost. The big companies are very good for support and for first timers, so if you don't mind spending more, you'd have more peace of mind.
6. Try a longer sail for a good price with Seabattical. They can be found at longtermcharters.com.
7. Here's the big one. If after chartering for a month or more, you still want to go off around the world or whatever, you can do it with a modicum of confidence. Also, read Jimmy Cornell's "A passion for the Sea". Tells you pretty much everything about long-term cruising and around the world adventures and gives you lots of practical tips for cruising in general. A good read.

Feel free to email or pm me if you have questions I can help with.
Enjoy.
G.
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Old 10-02-2013, 13:07   #14
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

try findacrew.net or crewfinders.com we have had some wonderful experiences and met some awesome sailors on these sites.
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Old 10-02-2013, 15:07   #15
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Re: Cat sailors in Florida available to set some newbies straight?

Kizzy and Steve, I'll be at the Miami boat show at the Miamarina inside the Bayshore Marketplace. Look for the Nautitech 54 and I'll be onboard. Would love to talk to ya about cruising and how we do it. We're in our fifties and yes it is different when you're older. Stop by ask for Sid and pick my brain....
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