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Old 02-09-2013, 10:09   #1
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My toe is in the water, but

hi fellas,
i lost my flight career due to a heart attack, and think sailing would satisfy my love of science and adventure, as well as provide an alternative life style. I see a lot of parallels between the aviation world and this one. Question: can one pull into any marinas for food, supplies, laundry? Can one elect to stay there a while (liveaboard)? Is there a guide for them as there is for airports? I have a basic understanding of sailing, but little experience. I'd like to learn on the boat I live on. Could you help me by pointing me in the right direction? BTW, looking to buy a +/- 36', singlehander, cash on hand for training and boat. Gentlemen and Ladies, would you be so kind as to show us the way? Thank You, David and Carol Connell (formerly of 'Daviation,' Flight School and Pilot Services, Nevada County Airport)
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:26   #2
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The short answer is "yes".

I see a lot of ex-pilots on the water and I think there are many parallels between boating and aviation.

There are marina guides but its a big world so you'll need to pick a cruising ground before anyone can provide names of guides.

You can do what you want to do. Its up to you to make it happen.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:29   #3
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

Welcome to CF.

Every marina is different in terms of the services and goods that they offer. Some have full boatyards and are located close to grocery stores and chandleries, and have showers, laundry, pools, etc, and others simply provide slips and bathrooms.

As for staying awhile, some marinas cater to liveaboards and others do not. Those that do usually have showers and laundry, a pumpout cart/boat (so you don't need to move your boat to a pump out station for each pump out), and even cable and internet service. Slip fees vary by the length of your boat, the length of your contract (annual is obviously cheaper), the extent of services offered, and more than anything, geographic location.

In SF, you'll clearly do better in terms of price the farther down the bay you go because it's further from the cities, it's shallower, etc. Oakland is cheaper than SF, etc. Location, location, location.

So, your best course is to start calling the various marinas around the bay and talking to sailors in those specific neighborhoods. I'm sure some of those on these boards that live in the area will give you some specific advice on where to look for marinas that best fit what you expect your needs to be.

If I were you, I would look for a marina that has showers and laundry, pumpout, and internet at a minimum. A haul out facility is nice but you can always move temporarily if you need work done. Don't sign up right away for an annual contract; there is a very good chance that you'll want to move, simply based on what you learn and your preferences, within the first year.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:34   #4
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

Welcome to Cruisers Forum!

I'm sure you will get lots of good advice, but here are a few answers.

Most marinas have guest slips available (call ahead to be sure), and there are usually services nearby. As a short-term guest you can stay aboard your boat. Typically a marina will permit short-term liveaboards, but limit the number of full-time liveaboard slips to perhaps 10% or so (this restriction varies by location). As a marina liveaboard you will need to be able to pump out your holding tank (toilet waste), but the marinas have facilities for that. You will also have to pay for the electrical hookup and usage.

Look for "Cruising Guides" for the regions you plan to visit (or look online). These will describe the marinas and available facilities. Where do you plan to have your boat?

Best wishes,
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:34   #5
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

Quote:
Originally Posted by KneesintheBreez View Post
hi fellas,
i lost my flight career due to a heart attack, and think sailing would satisfy my love of science and adventure, as well as provide an alternative life style. I see a lot of parallels between the aviation world and this one. Question: can one pull into any marinas for food, supplies, laundry? Can one elect to stay there a while (liveaboard)? Is there a guide for them as there is for airports? I have a basic understanding of sailing, but little experience. I'd like to learn on the boat I live on. Could you help me by pointing me in the right direction? BTW, looking to buy a +/- 36', singlehander, cash on hand for training and boat. Gentlemen and Ladies, would you be so kind as to show us the way? Thank You, David and Carol Connell (formerly of 'Daviation,' Flight School and Pilot Services, Nevada County Airport)
The can of worms overlooked in your question which at most can be answered as 'maybe', is whether living aboard is possible. In most cases there are queues of people first waiting to obtain a slip for their boat, and only then are they eligible to get into a second queue of people requesting permission to live aboard. Each queue may impose waits of several years each. Extra fees are assessed on live aboards too.

Good luck
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:51   #6
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

Most marinas have transient slips available that allow for passage making vessels to stop and stay temporarily.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:54   #7
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

Welcome aboard Knees! When planning to stay at a marina, make sure a medical center is within a 10 miles radius because of your medical history; a trauma/tertiary facility. Marinas are like FBO's, but in a very reduced capacity. Call ahead and request the information you need. Good luck!

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Old 02-09-2013, 12:32   #8
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

Quote:
Originally Posted by KneesintheBreez View Post
hi fellas,
i lost my flight career due to a heart attack, and think sailing would satisfy my love of science and adventure, as well as provide an alternative life style. I see a lot of parallels between the aviation world and this one. Question: can one pull into any marinas for food, supplies, laundry? Can one elect to stay there a while (liveaboard)? Is there a guide for them as there is for airports? I have a basic understanding of sailing, but little experience. I'd like to learn on the boat I live on. Could you help me by pointing me in the right direction? BTW, looking to buy a +/- 36', singlehander, cash on hand for training and boat. Gentlemen and Ladies, would you be so kind as to show us the way? Thank You, David and Carol Connell (formerly of 'Daviation,' Flight School and Pilot Services, Nevada County Airport)
Hello, David and Carol, welcome aboard.

A lot of good suggestions here for you to mull over. Actually, in the 36 foot range, there are probably more slips available than if you were over 45 ft. Jim and I lived aboard and cruised a 36 ft. sailboat for 18 years. It's definitely doable, if both of you are committed to it.

There is high demand in the Bay Area for liveaboard slips. There are some yacht clubs that have berths for members, but I don't know about liveaboard berths at the YCs. Some harbormasters are more favorably disposed towards liveabords than others. It's the kind of deal one has to feel one's way through.

Often one can contact a specific marina by hailing them on VHF channel 16, then they take you off to their working channel. Or by phone. No, you can't just go in, you have to get permission. Let the yellow pages and Google Earth show you where they are.

I'm suggesting that you and Carol consider having your sailing lessons first, in someone else's boats, and somewhere where you will "move up" through sizes. Doing this will allow you to get a feel for what you like and develop competence, at which point you'll be better positioned to decide what boat you want. In addition, you shall have learned some of the local geography and made a few acquaintances.

Ann
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:07   #9
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
There is high demand in the Bay Area for liveaboard slips.
A friend of mine who built the Bay Area's newest marina says that he gets three inquiries per day for a liveaboard slip. (Of course, his 10% liveaboard allotment filled shortly after the marina opened.)
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:51   #10
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

Marinas not always located in easy reach of population centres (or anything much! - but plusses and minuses to that).....where there is people there are supplies. Failing that, some Marinas will have stores - but often enough at a higher price (conveniance costs), exactly what will vary wildly from location to location (from SFA to pretty much everything).......broad guide is what is the Marina attached to / in easy reach of by land.

On top of Marinas you have anchoring (on own anchor or in a mooring field) - same deal as above, middle of nowhere to city centre.

Lots of choices to be made on pretty everything with boats!, which boat comes down mostly to what use (how and where and how long).

As early on in your learning curve my first step would be getting some time aboard, both via formal sailing lessons and OPB (other people's boats) and ideally a bit of chartering. The goal is variety of boats (as well as the boat / sailing skills). The more knowledge can get for self (in addition to books and here on CF!) before buying own boat the better (on which note, shed loads of really good advice here on CF about boat buying - well worth a search or 7! - will save you cash and heartache).
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:42   #11
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

Thank you, Paul. I found a school in Sausalito (Modern Sailing -- know anything about it?) Sounds like a good place to start, as I have family in Marin). I flew all around the sound, and into Friday Harbor once, had dinner, and flew back to Boeing field on a clear night with my faithful wife. Friday Harbor was stunningly beautiful! You're a lucky guy. If I get up there again, maybe I can look you up? Do all, or most, of the islands, like Lopez, have marinas? Do the islands interfere with your winds? hey, thanks again for your time and advice. == David
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:59   #12
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

Quote:
Originally Posted by KneesintheBreez View Post
hi fellas,
i lost my flight career due to a heart attack, and think sailing would satisfy my love of science and adventure, as well as provide an alternative life style. I see a lot of parallels between the aviation world and this one. Question: can one pull into any marinas for food, supplies, laundry? Can one elect to stay there a while (liveaboard)? Is there a guide for them as there is for airports? I have a basic understanding of sailing, but little experience. I'd like to learn on the boat I live on. Could you help me by pointing me in the right direction? BTW, looking to buy a +/- 36', singlehander, cash on hand for training and boat. Gentlemen and Ladies, would you be so kind as to show us the way? Thank You, David and Carol Connell (formerly of 'Daviation,' Flight School and Pilot Services, Nevada County Airport)

I don't know of any one book that covers all marinas, but there's an excellent one for Florida and I easily found this on line:

The Cruising Guide to Central and Southern California: Golden Gate to Ensenada, Mexico, Including the Offshore Islands: Brian Fagan: 0639785801825: Amazon.com: Books

I would follow up with phonecalls, etc. and try to gather some local knowledge. There are definite parallels to flying and sailing.

There's no reason you can't single hand most 36' sailboats, but truly your wife should learn the basics of the boat's operation in case you should sprain an ankle or something.

Sailing can be more physical than ... well, lots of things. So don't be ashamed to make use of labor-saving devices. An example would be a windlass. However, they can be tricky little devils, and any time you put something that important that's mechanized on your boat, make sure you know how it works and how to make basic repairs, and make sure you have a plan b in case it fails completely.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:26   #13
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

You have already gotten a lot of good responses on most of your questions. So the one thing I want to add is Active Captain.

It's the meeting of social media, like Facebook, with cruising guides. It's entirely free for users and gives you a ton of great information on various marinas, anchorages, etc. The reviews are great and usually timely.

Good luck with your transition. I think you will enjoy it.

Fair winds,

Jesse
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Old 06-09-2013, 18:19   #14
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pirate Re: My toe is in the water, but

Hi All,

Thank you, each of you, for making Carol and me feel so welcomed and wanted, with your warm and thoughtful replies. You've definitely given me a good course of action with which to begin. I found a school in Sausalito called 'Modern Sailing School,' where I will begin with a week-long class where they will let me live aboard while I'm there. So far, this experience is everything I was hoping it would be. I suspect that one day soon, Carol and I will sell all our stuff, rent out our house, and cruise the west coast all day, everyday!

I am glad I found you. Stay in touch, and so will I.

Our best wishes to you and yours,
David and Carol Connell
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Old 06-09-2013, 18:43   #15
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Re: My toe is in the water, but

David & Carol,

You might try to find a cruising guide to California anchorages. I know there used to be one for the Channel Islands, but perhaps there's one for the California coast. It is possible to find anchorages or berthings on pretty much a day hop basis from Drake's Bay to the southern border.
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