Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 14-06-2012, 19:51   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 69
Can I learn on a 40' boat?

Hi everyone,

Green sailor here, just got my CYA Basic and trying to decide what to do next. Eventually I would like to give the cruising lifestyle a try, but for now I know that the usual advice is sail some more, then sail, sail, sail some more, then perhaps consider buying a boat. The problem in my case is that I live 3h away from the ocean, so I don't have the option of joining a yacht club, going to Sunday races as crew, or anything like that. The commuting time and fuel costs to the closest club just don't make sense, I could be using that money to repair/outfit and old boat.

I've only been on a 3-day cruise during my course and both my partner and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but we obviously have very little experience. However I feel that I understand everything taught and have no gaps on the said material. I have further self-studied the curriculum up to CYA Advanced and understand it well. Would it be stupid (i.e., dangerous), to buy a cruising boat at this stage, live aboard full time (i.e., no more rent and commuting to the ocean), and expect to slowly hone my skills on it? I have a strong preference for a Passport 40 or 42 by the way. They are typically rigged for short/single handing with all lines coming in the cockpit, but I suspect many would argue that it's too much of a boat for a beginner? What if I only took it out on fair weather in the beginning, to slowly gain experience?

I know that the typical advice would be "buy a small boat to gain experience, then sell and buy a suitable cruising boat". Normally, that would be a no-brainer. However, the reality is that in this market it's really hard to sell a boat even if it's popular and well maintained, let alone some crappy old little boat. And there is no economic fundamental to support a recover of the global economy any time soon, so I feel that this decision could be the make or brake of my cruising pursuits: being stack with a small boat that I cannot sell for years to come would be the ultimate deal-breaker. If it did sell, it would probably be at a material loss.

So, how realistic is the idea of honing my skills on a Passport 40 or 42, perhaps after taking a docking clinic with an experienced skipper on it? If you think it's a terrible idea, please explain why exactly so that I can better understand what the challenges are. Just saying "oh, you'll die", or "you'll loose the boat" will not be very helpful, so I'd appreciate some depth there. More particularly, in what areas exactly would I need to become proficient to safely operate this boat, and what, if any, would prevent me from learning it on that boat?

Some more details about us:
- I'm a software engineer so can work remotely as long as I can establish an Internet connection
- My partner is an archivist and works locally, she can only quit her job if we move aboard (so we have no more expensive rent to cover)
- Areas of interest: we'd like to cover low latitude tropics, the med, AU & NZ, in no particular order or timeframe (obviously we may never make it, it's just a wish)

Many thanks for reading, any advice appreciated!
__________________

__________________
welljim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2012, 20:14   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maryland
Boat: Island Packet 35
Posts: 132
No I don't think its crazy at all - get aboard sooner than later.

Yes I understand the logic of learning on a small boat and moving up. Well we learned on a 44 and the only side effect we can see is smaller boys seem to small (we liveaboard a IP35 now).

Given your plan + experience level I hope you have (or can find) a experienced friend who can come sailing with you often.

Otherwise one of two things will likely occur.

You will sit at the dock dreaming of putting your studies to work (going cruising). A weekender and your home are completely different animals, What can you risk damaging or loosing.

Or you are a risk taker and you go out ever chance you get. Well a book can only tell you so much. It is only a matter of time before a situation will occur faster than experience catches up. Having a experienced sailor aboard affords the opportunity to master basic skills before tackling complex problems that will occur.

Just my 2 cents
__________________

__________________
Hotel L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2012, 20:17   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maryland
Boat: Island Packet 35
Posts: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotel L
No I don't think its crazy at all - get aboard sooner than later.

Yes I understand the logic of learning on a small boat and moving up. Well we learned on a 44 and the only side effect we can see is smaller boys seem to small (we liveaboard a IP35 now).

Given your plan + experience level I hope you have (or can find) a experienced friend who can come sailing with you often.

Otherwise one of two things will likely occur.

You will sit at the dock dreaming of putting your studies to work (going cruising). A weekender and your home are completely different animals, What can you risk damaging or loosing.

Or you are a risk taker and you go out ever chance you get. Well a book can only tell you so much. It is only a matter of time before a situation will occur faster than experience catches up. Having a experienced sailor aboard affords the opportunity to master basic skills before tackling complex problems that will occur.

Just my 2 cents
Smaller boat.....sorry. I am convinced that mobile developers intentionally set auto correct up to be put inappropriate words in the sentences.
__________________
Hotel L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2012, 20:51   #4
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,036
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

welljim, I'll offer my 2-cents (CND), in part b/c your proposed path somewhat follows what me and my partner did. After completing our CYA Basic keelboat 10 years ago we ended up buying a 34-footer as our first boat. We learned tons about boat ownership, and the cruising lifestyle. The biggest lesson we learned is that the easiest thing about owning a sailboat is the sailing. It's everything else that is hard.

If I were to do it again I would purchase a solid, capable 26 to 30 footer as my first boat. I would look for one with standing headroom, a usable galley, an inboard engine (preferably diesel but gas is fine too), a functioning electrical system, decent standing rigging, usable sails, solid hull, and no serious deck issues (most old boats will have some deck issues. Try to avoid major ones.).

My reasoning after having done the big-boat-first approach is that no matter what you think you know about sailboats now, your first boat is going to teach you a whole lot more. You might be dead-on with your idea of a Passport 40 (great boats, BTW), but you'll only really know this after a couple of years of living with a cruising boat. Better to learn your lessons on a smaller, cheaper boat, than a large one.

With regard to your economic fretting -- it's a mugs game when it comes to older boats. My opinion is to buy something you can pretty much walk away from in a few years. A 30-footer can be had for under $15K (perhaps well under), and a reasonable 26-footers are well under $10K. It's a buyers market these days, and will likely remain so for some time.

All this being said, we ended up loving our first boat (www.elysian.ca). There are some significant advantages to cruising in a larger boat. If you're committed to the lifestyle, you'll do fine either way.
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 08:24   #5
Registered User
 
svjustus's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Boat: Irwin 42
Posts: 30
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

My advice would be to go for it!! My husband & I bought a 42' boat as our first sailboat. We moved aboard her the day after purchase. We had never sailed a large boat before. After a couple of weeks preparation, we took her from the west coast of Florida around the Florida Keys to Fort Lauderdale. Every weekend we would take her out for practice. First in fair weather, then in more breezy weather until we were confident in our skills. As stated above, the sailing part was easy, it's the living aboard full time that takes some getting used to. That being said, we have been living aboard & cruising for the past 81/2 years. We never looked back & we're both really happy with our decision!!
Good luck to you!!
__________________
Fair Winds,
*Kim
svjustus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 09:12   #6
Moderator Emeritus
 
David M's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: research vessel
Posts: 10,152
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

I think what you are considering is fine. The only thing I would add is to hire a professional (ASA certified or whatever) sailing instructor to run you through some anchoring, man overboard drills, how to be a good skipper (this matters a lot), high winds/rough seas, docking etc the first few times you go out on your new boat. For some things it is better to learn the right way than the hard way by trying to figure it all out for yourself. It is better to have a coach there who sees immediately what you are doing, right or wrong. You also learn much quicker this way.
__________________
David

Life begins where land ends.
David M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 09:21   #7
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,055
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

Jim, if you live 3 hours away from the ocean does that mean you would toss everything and make a radical life change to move to the ocean--on your new boat?

That's a big change and potentially a very expensive one.

If I might suggest, either sign up for a week long "passagemaking" or "bareboat" class, which is on a large boat and underway for a week or longer, or else charter a boat in the same size range, and spend a week or two on it.

If you don't like it, ok, you may have lost two or three grand. If you DO like it, then by all means, go on to buy a boat. The money won't be wasted, you'll have had a vacation and less worries while you're shopping for the new one.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 09:38   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,369
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

The bigger boat will teach you best all the intricities of cruising and boat management. a dingy will teach you the fine points of sail trim, but that's about it... other than panic swimming lessons!
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 09:51   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: North Carolina
Boat: Seaward 22
Posts: 691
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

dinghy sailing gets you up the curve fast. it will teach you about balance and trim quickly, because when you mess up you are in the water.
__________________
ohdrinkboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 09:56   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North Carolina
Boat: 1984 Pearson 34, Sirena
Posts: 32
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

I can only offer my exerience. I learned on small boats over a long period of time so I have a built in bias. I am able to sail into a slip if the engine quits. I made mistakes on boats I could "walk away from" if it all went to hell or push off from a dock by hand. There is something nice in the thought that if the boat starts sinking, I beach it and walk away because of the small size and low cost.

I have seen people quit sailing after one bad expereince. It may or may not happen to you. You don't want that to happen on an expensive first boat.

If you spend one summer on a very small trailerable boat, Hobie 16, Sunfish, etc, you will sail better than most people you meet at any marina. That experience will be cheap compared to the costs you will face later.

I drive 2.5 hours to the boat each way every other weekend and it costs a lot of money. I moved up to the "big boat", a Pearson 34, two years ago. Even though I had a lot of sailing experience, the bigger boat required a lot more learning and not about sailing. I've had to learn a lot about boat systems. I hope to quit and cruise next summer.

I think it comes down to the type of person you are. Some will be sure of "the" single perfect choice. Others, like me are more cautious and take a gradual approach as they screw up more often.

Dale
__________________
DaleM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 10:22   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Underway in the Med -
Boat: Jeanneau 40 DS SoulMates
Posts: 1,904
Images: 1
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

YES YOU CAN -- i took my first sailing lesson in dec 2000 asa 101 then in march asa 103&4 (i think those are the #s) - chartered a couple of times and in 2003 bought a brand new jeanneau 40' - like you i was hesitant to buy small, watch the investment go down as all boats do, sell it and buy another and try to pay it off. by the way i was 55 when i took my 1st lesson and my thinking was i could use the mortage deduction while i was working and try to pay the boat off -- oh the other thing was boat prices for new boats do not go down and i had so little experience with boats that i needed new
i was lucky in that i lived in miami and could sail biscayne bay a lot and learn - but i did learn - i am by far a great sailor but i manage to get there somehow -
today we have been up and down the east coast of the usa 3 times, done the bahamas 2 times, then around fla to the west coast before going down to mexico, belieze, guatelama, honduras, panama, colombia, panama then over to jamaica, the dr, pr, usvi, bvi, st martins, and down the island chain and currently waiting out a wx blow in bequia - soon we will have kinda circum nav the carib -
yes you can do it but practice a lot

just our opinion
chuck patty and svsoulmates
on the hook admiral bay, bequia
__________________
chuckr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 10:58   #12
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 17,314
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

You will learn something on every boat you will sail. On some, you may find that they are too big for you!

I think a 40 footer is OK. Try to sail some beach boats (Lasers, Hats, etc.) too - unless you have already had enough of small dinghies. They are a great learning ground anyways.

If you feel uneasy on any new boat (Passport or Laser), ask an experienced sailing friend for assistance/tutoring till you find you can do it.

b.
__________________
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 11:10   #13
Marine Service Provider
 
Tony B's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Presently in Rogersville, Al
Boat: Mainship 36 Dual Cabin
Posts: 695
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

YES YOU CAN!!
The only drawback would be learning to dock a bigger boat which is really not that big a deal - just do everything slowly.
The advantage of learning on a bigger boat is that everything happens much slower.
Smaller boats respond to every puff of wind, bigger ones - not that much.
Learning on a bigger boat 'must have stuff': Roller Furling keeps you from having to go forward. Auto pilot to hold boat into the wind while you are raising main whether at the mast or from the cockpit. and LazyJacks (home made are fine). They will hold most of the main off the deck so you can tie the main up properly - Again, auto pilot comes in handy here to.
__________________
Mainship 36 DC - 1986
Retired and Full Time Cruising the Eastern U.S. inland Waterways
www.FreeBoatProjects.com
Tony B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 11:16   #14
Armchair Bucketeer
 
David_Old_Jersey's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,013
Images: 4
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

Fundamentally nothing wrong with starting on a 40 footer (or bigger!) - just that your learning curve is different and potentially more expensive, mainly from having bought the wrong (for you) boat. or a boat that is in less of a good condition that you thought (by underestimating time and cost of fixes / upgrades / refurb).

But as long as you start from the position of not thinking you can run before walking then IMO all will be fine. The goods news is that boats is not rocket science!, just no substitute for own experiance(s), and on that training is a useful kickstart along your own learning curve.

But for someone starting with a blank piece of paper as a plan I would also suggest smaller is better for a first boat - buy well and should not take too much of a loss.....but clearly with a 3 hour commute that ain't feasible. Just suss out the mooring (and any boat relocation) costs before signing the cheque.....depending where you are that might not be as cheap as hoped for. or it could be cheaper!
David_Old_Jersey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2012, 17:12   #15
Senior Cruiser
 
s/v Beth's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Boat: Valiant 40 (1975)
Posts: 4,066
Re: Can I learn on a 40' boat?

There are a lot of boats that are 25+ feet and are livable for a couple which you can learn on. A Catalina 27 comes to mind, these can be often had dirt cheap, and I think you would learn quicker than a big boat. It will be a lot cheaper to maintain too. I have had both.
BTW- I started with a 12 foot dingy-surfboard type sailboat. Nothing better than Lasers to teach you to sail. And if you limit yourself to 25- to 30 feet, you can afford both!
__________________

__________________
s/v Beth is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 17:36.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.