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Old 17-08-2009, 08:53   #1
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I'm Looking for a Teacher

My wife and I have very little sailing experience and we are looking to accelerate our learning curve because we would love to spend a few years cruising the South Pacific, AU and NZ. We're thinking that we can find someone to teach us on our own boat. Am I crazy? We're convinced that a multihull is best for our needs and lifestyle. We're looking to buy a 42-50ft. cat that is equipped for live aboard off the grid blue ocean sailing. I haven't found a multihull sailing school and why would I pay to use someone else's equipment when I'll have my own. We're looking to begin our training around Florida the Bahamas. I appreciate any help you could provide.
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Old 17-08-2009, 09:17   #2
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You will be investing a lot of money in something you do not know will be right, or even if the life is right for you. It makes more sense to prove that living onboard is acceptable to both of you, by a skippered charter, and this will start the learning process, and give you someone to ask about needs for blue water. That way when you get your own boat, you will have a much deeper knowledge of what you need. Furthermore, it will give you the contacts for instruction on your own boat - not necessarily much cheaper because the instructors fees will not be shared amongst the other sailors.
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Old 17-08-2009, 09:30   #3
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We've both been offshore sailing before and have each spent many weeks on live aboards and we know that the lifestyle works for us. I was also thinking that getting to know our boat with an experienced skipper. The cats I'm looking at currently are used and have been set up of offshore sailing. We would have time after our training to outfit the boat with any equipment missing before we set out on our own. I hope I was more specific in this post vs. my original overview. Again, I appreciate your feedback.
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Old 17-08-2009, 09:48   #4
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One consideration you might make is crewing on a cat making a trans-pac, or Trans-at, passage. You'll get a good feel of just what truly works for you, and what annoys you - plus a good fundamental understanding of "Real World" blue water cat sailing. It would help you make a more informed purchase decision.

$10,000per charter in the Carribean (you won't learn much about upsides and downsides as they relate to your personal tolerances just sailing in the Carribean)

vs

Making a purchase of a catamaran without having a better idea of just what your true preferences are in a blue water catamaran. (Could be a very expensive mistake with regrets)

vs

Crewing on someone elses cat, getting a ton of invaluable cat sailing experience while learning just what particular aspects of cat design matter most to you in the real world of blue water liveaboard. (Cost of your share of provisions plus a flight back home)
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Old 17-08-2009, 10:10   #5
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How would I pursue the 3rd option you posted? How long would I be gone? What questions/references should I ask/get from a skipper? would i get enough questions answered on a cat from California to Hawaii?
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Old 17-08-2009, 10:30   #6
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Originally Posted by jokler View Post
How would I pursue the 3rd option you posted? How long would I be gone? What questions/references should I ask/get from a skipper? would i get enough questions answered on a cat from California to Hawaii?
There are quite a number of crewfinder websites. Below are a few. There are so many opportunities that you can choose the passage that best suits you. Finding a cat departing California to Hawaii might be kinda tough, but from England to New York, Florida, or the Carribean would be pretty easy to find. Finding a cat departing the West Coast to anywhere other than the South Pacific, and the pickings will be a lot more slim. The most variety in weather patterns and honing seamanship skill will be more likely on a Trans Atlantic passage. A South Pacific passage is usually pretty mundane tradewind sailing (but you'll still get a good enough feel during those 3 weeks at sea), and a north pacific passage can put ya off sailing all together! lol In any event, the number of cats making a north pacific passage hovers down around zero!

So California to Hawaii isn't the most educational sailing experience since you'll spend a lot of time alternating between beating and motoring. NOT a fun sail. Seattle/Vancouver to Hawaii? Normally a good learning curve, but has to be timed right. If you want the most compacted learning curve? Fly to New Zealand and sail to Australia. You'll learn practically EVERYTHING you'd ever desire , and more, on that passage! lol In any event, there's a ton of opportunity to crew out there. Definitely an option worth exploring.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f30/ (This site!!!)

Crew-Finder - The Online Sailing Agency

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CrewFile - Yacht Crew Jobs, Boat Jobs, Cruise Jobs, Sailing Jobs, Sailing Crew, Deliveries - Cruise Jobs, Sailing Jobs, Luxury Yacht Jobs International

https://www.crewseekers.net/

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Old 17-08-2009, 10:48   #7
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Perfect! I love NZ and AU! If you have any connections in that area I would love it. My wife and I are were actually looking to live in NZ we wanted to sail first though. If you think that route is the best training ground maybe we can make both happen then.
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Old 20-08-2009, 14:58   #8
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I appreciate any help you could provide.
May I ask f the boats you are considering have boards or fixed keels?

It sounds like the both of you have extensive sailing experience. Why do you feel the need for a stranger to you..and your new boat... to teach you how to sail her?

If you are determined to buy a boat with boards, I would recommend you find someone to assist you in getting the feel for your boat. If you are selecting a boat with fixed keels, there's no need. Just sail away and learn as you go. Just learn to reef and remember to do it early.
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Old 03-09-2009, 19:31   #9
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Lots of good advise here. A couple thoughts that may help. As you say you have very little sailing experience, keep in mind a 45-50 foot cat is a lot of boat to learn on. To put it in perspective, that size boat will probably be 21 to 25 feet wide. 45x24 is the foot print of many houses! There are a lot of fundenmentals; rules of the road (which are slightly different in AU and NZ), boating safety, sail handling, anchoring, docking, engine maintenance etc that will be a lot easier to learn on a 30 Catalina, or Hunter, and also why ASA recommends that size for its lower level classes. If you are on a budget there are many communities that have basic sailing classes for area residents. You will also find some reasonably priced ASA or US Sailing schools by going to their website and emailing a few in your area. I also believe you will find most instructors to be very patient, something you may not experience if you sign on as inexperienced crew member. Marilyn and I have been to NZ and AU several times, and we completely understand your interest. We learned to sail in the Whitsundays and on difficult, challenging days, I just think back on our anchorage at Nara Inlet on Hook Island... pretty tough to beat!

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Old 04-09-2009, 05:43   #10
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I found the ASA multi hull classes to be very helpful. It taught me the characteristics of using both engines for maneuvering and docking, with no prop walk, etc. etc.. It was not crazy expensive, and it wasn't my boat that was being bounced off of docks and pilings . After that when we finally got our boat I had the confidence to try different things, as I all ready knew how to perform the basics
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:52   #11
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Here are some thoughts for you:

As you claim little sailing experience why not cut your teeth on a couple of dinghy or keelboat courses. Your rig handling and sailing ability will benefit hugely, and the money invested will be offset by the expensive mistake you wont make on a more powerful rig.

I have a client in a similar position and we have spent a year with him in the med just cruising around in between spells of work. We placed an experienced Captain with him which wasn't the cheapest option but as I pointed out earlier, his skill level is now so high he will save that investment 10 fold over the years. We also prepared him a documented service schedule and video manuals of all the service items on board.

Doing a couple of deliveries would also be of great advantage. Do you know if you either of you get sea sick or agoraphobic out of sight of land etc etc. You would be the first person to have a dream only to find their partner hates offshore passages.

While a long offshore passage will teach you a lot about your ability to make the passage the amount of sailing info you will get may not be as compounded as it would be if you sailed somewhere coastal in the northern latitudes. There's nothing like big tides, rapidly changeable conditions and cold dense air to hone your abilities.

It's no coincidence that some of the best sailors in the world grew up sailing small boats out of weather beaten fishing ports as opposed to palm fringed beaches!

Tom
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:38   #12
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Hire an ASA certified instructor to fly in and sail with you for a week or two. My wife and I did ASA 101,103,104 & 114 with one. Great learning experience. Gets you a discount on insurance. (US flagged vessels anyway.) Surf around this forum for Captain Bob. He is around here somewhere.
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