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Old 01-08-2015, 09:59   #1
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Am I missing any steps?

Hello all! Long time boater from Michigan slowly making the transition to bigger (& warmer!) water now that I'm retired and have the time and the means to do so. Here are my steps towards becoming a competent and responsible cruiser, just curious if I'm missing anything or you have suggestions that would help my process?

1. ASA 101 & 103 (complete, loved it)
2. Practice locally (as luck would have it I live on the water and can practice on little guys in my back yard).
3. Read up on the endless supply information from those who've done it.
4. ASA 104 - plan on taking this in the BVI's once this beautiful Michigan summer comes to an end.
5. Charter rental with Captain in BVI's Essentially he/she sits back and critiques, makes me do all the work, & doesn't let me get into too much trouble.
6. ASA 114? (I think that's the catamaran one? Assuming that's what I end up gravitating towards for first sail boat)
7. Volunteer to crew? Is this a good idea, or even possible? I am not looking for $ just experience in various conditions. I have time on my hands & curious if I could spend a season or parts of it as an extra pair of hands.
8. Charter and or sail the various models of boats I'm considering. Attend a couple of boat shows...check stuff out, talk to other owners.
9. Sign up for a long term passage class? I've read about classes offered which essentially are trans Atlantic or Pacific crossings...something I'm interested in, but not before my skills warrant such an undertaking.
9. Pull trigger, set sail.

Total timeframe - 12-18 months from today to pull the anchor
Background: 44, healthy, currently single, 90 pound dog, budget not an issue, currently spend 250+/- engine hours on the water a year (essentially 5 months here in MI)

So now that I have successfully engineered my escape from the rat race, I'm wanting to spend my time doing what I love the most which is being on the water. Just curious if the forum members might have some additional ideas or suggestions so I don't end up being "that guy".

Thanks!
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Old 02-08-2015, 01:01   #2
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Learn the ColRegs.

After you've got the larger boat, sail coastally for a while, then go for overnighters, and finally a non-threatening offshore passage. After that, go for it.

Crewing for unknown people is a risky business--and so is taking on unknown crew. Some people are okay with it, but my guess is that you'll make friends in the course of your cruising, and that it is some of them who will want you to crew for them at some point. It's all a process, and it takes time.

Some events have made attempts to develop crew pools that skippers can check out prior to the start (The Baja HaHa comes to mind, for someone on the West Coast). You find out about this stuff in local clubs. If you join a club, lots of the skippers need crew for low level racing. Crewing for such skippers can teach you both a lot about crewing and also about skippering.

Enjoy,

Ann
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:03   #3
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

I would just say don't overthink the sailing, cruising lifestyle. Take it slow and easy and enjoy your own boat. I feel you are putting up road blocks by 'making steps towards becoming a competent and responsible cruiser". Sailing, cruising is far from being difficult, though some would have you believe otherwise. 101 seems a good start the rest is up to you.
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:34   #4
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, ol1970.
I think you've got a pretty good plan going.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:28   #5
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Try to crew in the Caribbean 1500 or Salty Dawg Rally
Excellent Experience .
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:38   #6
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Re ASA training. Yes, 114 is the Cruising Catamaran class. It can be taken in combination with 114. I suggest including 105 (Coastal Navigation) and 106 (Advanced Coastal) in your plans. That gives a very broad training foundation on which to build experience.

And I sugget delaying buying boat, or at least a larger boat, and getting as much experience on other boats in as many venues as possible. Then you will be better equipped evaluate what you want. Rushing to buy a boat is really more about fullfilling consuristic urges than sailing.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:43   #7
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

The more YOU sail, the less the "courses" will impact your knowledgebase.

Everybody learns differently. Some can do books to real world, others need to be shown.

Lots depends on how you personally learn stuff.

Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:32   #8
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Sounds like you have thought it out well. Sounds like you already have a fair amount of time on the water so now more an issue of transferring that knowledge to different boat and playground. The suggestions to try to get on a boat for one of the east coast or west coast "Rallys" is a good one. Chance to meet lots of people doing the same thing you want to do, and get some offshore time. I would lean towards more of getting out there and doing it over classroom time. Amazing how much you will learn the first few times you go out.

Of course now your about to enter into the catamaran vs. monohull debate. You will get lots of opinions on that subject. Your idea about chartering both will let you make your own decision on that. I am a long time hard core monohull racer but bought a catamaran for cruising. When cruising you do spend 90+% at anchor and cats cannot be beat for that. Problem is that driving them is like driving a truck vs. a car. In my mind that was an easy tradeoff. Others still want to be able to feel the boat when sailing. Personal preference, so trying both makes a lot of sense IMHO

Enjoy the journey.

Bill
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:51   #9
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

I would add a full (two day) "Safety at Sea" course when you can. It may also earn you an insurance discount, and it should make charterers happier to deal with you.


Once you have the basics of sailing, find out where the local beer can racing is on weeknights. Go to the docks about an hour before race time, start talking to people and passing out your contact info and let them know you're new to sailing and want to crew and learn. Even if you have no interest in racing--try it out.


You will find that some things are done the same way by everyone (more or less) and other things differently. You will also learn the ways to tweak speed out of a sailboat, and if your only interest is cruising and you don't need to do that? Remember, when it is getting dark out and you want to get the last mooring for the last steak at the best restaurant on shore...you will appreciate those racing skills.


It is also a great way to meet other sailors, some of whom will wind up offering to take you sailing & share experience with you. Bring lunch, or drinks or chips, and they'll be quite happy you came.(G)
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:04   #10
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
I would just say don't overthink the sailing, cruising lifestyle. Take it slow and easy and enjoy your own boat. I feel you are putting up road blocks by 'making steps towards becoming a competent and responsible cruiser". Sailing, cruising is far from being difficult, though some would have you believe otherwise. 101 seems a good start the rest is up to you.
I agree. Take the classes if you want or just get out and volunteer with someone racing. Or both. Rules of the road, navigation are good classes.
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:14   #11
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Thanks for all the great replies! I pretty much agree with them all...I definitely think that there is no replacement for on the water time vs. classroom. Since I'm trying to break into the community so to speak, I think the classes are a great way to start, learn something, and meet people along the way.

With regards to the buying the boat...it is a tough urge to resist, but I know I'll be glad it did once I finally figure out what is best for me. The "feel you get on a mono and how she responds to you and the wind is awesome", but reality of how I'll use it leads me to the cat. Coming from the auto industry it equates the fun of driving the 911, but if you are going cross country you definitely want the Suburban...either way just get out there and start exploring!
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Old 02-08-2015, 17:44   #12
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
The more YOU sail, the less the "courses" will impact your knowledgebase.

Everybody learns differently. Some can do books to real world, others need to be shown.

Lots depends on how you personally learn stuff.

Good luck.
Training should always be mixed with time on the water. The two in combination will not only shorten your learning curve, but broaden your knowledge base as well.

I suggest that students take a class or two, then spend time on the water until these skills become routine, then take the next class. Too many classes at once, or just taking classes, is much less effective. There is no substitute for actual experience. This is why I'm not a big fan of "fast track" classes that try to cram it all into one contiguous series of classes. That approach does sell though, and that's why sailing schools do it.

Yes, everyone learns differently. So, a good instructor should always mix up modes of learning (lecture, reading, experiential...), ideally using different modes of learning for the same subject matter. This improves retention thru repeatative learning and hopefully hits upon the mode of learning that works best for each student in the class. Its usually obvious when something is just not clicking for a student, so the instructor should present it a different way or two till they get it. Don't hesitate to point out to your instructor if you are just not getting something...after all learning is why you are investing your time & money. Its the instructor's responsibility to make sure you get it (a requirement of the standards too).
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Old 02-08-2015, 17:47   #13
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Re ASA training. Yes, 114 is the Cruising Catamaran class. It can be taken in combination with 114....
That should read "...in combination with 104 ("Bareboat"...or the older name and my preference "Intermediate Coastal Cruising" )".
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Old 02-08-2015, 22:34   #14
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

I would think about getting a small boat for your first one and using it for a year or two. That will really clarify what you want in your big cruising boat. My first boat was 24 feet and $4000 and it really helped me build knowledge and skills.
I've met several people on the docks that got the cruising dream and bought the big boat straight away and after a hard time getting in or out of the slip they are just too afraid to move. A small cheap boat with some dings in it is for going sailing. You can push it around and it will respond way faster than a large boat. You can sell it easily when you have learned what you want from it.
I won't knock classes, but don't take too many before getting out there. I never took any classes yet, but I grew up around canoes and small boats in the Midwest. Nothing taught me as much as being on my own boat and trying things though.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:56   #15
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Re: Am I missing any steps?

Just one thought from someone who completed a similar plan some years ago. Using charters to try out different boats sounds like a good idea, but it doesn't really work in practice. By and large, the boats that are available from charter companies are not the kind of boats that you would want for yourself. They are optimized for maximum staterooms, don't have enough storage for a long-term cruiser, emphasize cockpit space over things like engine access, etc. etc. Charter cats tend to have really poor sailing performance. You might do better looking for independent charters through a broker (we had good experiences with Ed Hamilton years ago). Better, I think, to get to know local owners that have the boats you are interested in. They can tell you a lot about what works and what doesn't, and many will be happy to take you for a sail.

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