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Old 14-11-2007, 13:41   #1
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So how long is long enough

To wait before doing the big cruise when you are really new...what I mean is we have never been sailing on our own, never taken lessons but are buying a boat this winter on which we will then begin to learn via classes and time spent...is one summer on the lake enough time to safely then plan to head out? We originally planned two summers before ditching it all and going on the boat but now we are getting antsy and that seems too far away...it isn't about the money...i have made some good investments that have left us with enough money to buy the boat and sail for a few years without worry...we have a house that is half paid for so we are going to sell it buy a condo that will be all paid for and rent it out for some extra income and a place to come back to.

We originally were going to buy a boat over in the med to sail while we were there but lately my husband has been taking about doing a circumnavigate instead on the boat we buy this winter. He has been reading Tania's novel so now he thinks well if she could do it.....No way I am crossing the atlantic I told him I would meet him there with with the dog...anyway are we unrealistic to think we will have learned enough after just one summer of sailing to do this...
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Old 14-11-2007, 14:00   #2
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Totally variable. There are people who just hop on the boat and go, and learn things the (really) hard way. For some people, that works out fine.

I think spending the summer sailing will teach you whether or not you're ready for it. It's called a shakedown cruise, and the idea is that you're doing a trial run, which lets you see what you need to work on. You do it close to your home (hopefully), so that if you have problems, you're a Vessel Assit call away from being towed back to a boat yard.

But for a circumnavigation, where you're going to encounter pretty much every type of sailing in the world (or could, anyway), don't pick a happy summer in calm waters.

Another way you might want to do it, is to sail down the coast, making a deal with yourselves that you'll stop in Florida, or San Diego (west or east coast), and decide from there to keep going, and figure out everything that went wrong, sell the boat, or something in the middle.

There's a lot of American and Canadian boats for sale in islands paradises, where the owners got it that far, and said "screw this, I'm done."

Just make sure that the first time you need to deep reef, it isn't 1000 miles from land in an angry ocean.

I'd really try to do the technique of building the first leg of your trip in as a shakedown, and give yourselves a point where you can reality check and hit the eject button if you want to, with minimal financial problems. Be careful about the "plenty of money" thing too. Yachts are insanely expensive, and people with high costs of living tend to want to carry that onto their vessels, and maintaining that around the globe is very pricey.

If you have it on a loan, make sure you check with your insurance company too, which will have rules on when/where you can go. It's the bank's boat, afterall.
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Old 14-11-2007, 14:04   #3
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Some, like Pat and Ali aboard the infamous Bumfuzzle had little more than ASA 101 before buying a boat then sailing a circumnavigation. Obviously learning much along the way.

A few new owners I've crewed for only needed reassurance rather than an "an experienced" capt/crew member.

I'd say it's a matter of how comfortable you are in your abilities and using good judgement enroute. Certainly experience would help but as your husband states, "if she can do it..." isn't without merit and you'd definitely get the experience along the way.

Perhaps chartering might be a good idea to wet your feet?

Best of luck! Me? Were I financially independant... I'd go for it!
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Old 14-11-2007, 14:06   #4
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It's more a matter of getting used to the assorted conditions you might come across than how long you have been at it. In a full circumnavigation you would need to expect a storm or two assuming you had good weather information to hole up for the really nasty stuff.

Not sure what you mean by "the lake"? If you mean the Great Lakes as in Ontario you can learn most anything there is to learn on the water there, just without any salt.

It's hard to say if you have learned enough. Some people need to do it more times than others. Some folks are just lucky and nothing ever comes up to test them. While it's better to be lucky than skilled, being skilled means you have a lot of practice.

I would look at it this way. It's not too early to start a trip at all. It is a mistake to make too many plans. You don't collect a huge reward for completing the trip quickly. Plans turn into an itinerary, that can become a schedule. When you are attempting to make a schedule you'll at some point take on too much thinking you need to be some place quickly. That would be the one thing to learn now.

If you start with the idea that you are already there then you don't have to be in hurry to be some place else. If you already know there are tons of things you don't know then you might just have a chance to have a really great time. It's about stopping and looking around and taking time to find out about a lot of things. Make it a good time from the first sail to the last.

It's all supposed to be fun! Planning and preparation count a lot but toss the schedule overboard as the first duty of the first day. The day you untie the dock line is the day you arrive.

Enjoy the wealth of the forum. We have lots and lots to aid in preparation and planning for any trip. Start keeping a log and gain in your own experience and learn from it all.
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Old 14-11-2007, 14:11   #5
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I don't think you should trust us to tell you when you'll be ready. We don't know how smart you are, or how mechanicly skilled you are, or how emotionally flexible and adaptable you are. We don't know how timid or brave or adventurous you are.
Some may take right to it, head offshore and feel comfortable. Others prefer to stay close to the coastline all their life. The fact that you are asking the question shows that you will probably be on the cautious side, rather than the reckless which is a good thing. Sailing and navigating can usually be picked up fairly quickly. Keeping everything running on the boat and living in the close quarters while on the move is probably what challenges most. I say dive into the water, you'll know better than anyone else when you're ready and what your limits are. Don't let our opinions hold you back.
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Old 14-11-2007, 15:34   #6
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Surely this won't be your first first??? How have you handled learning other skills for the first time? IF it were me, I'd crawl first, then take small baby steps, then a fast walk and finally a full run....

Good luck
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Old 14-11-2007, 16:38   #7
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Hi Reluctant, devil's advocate here, about to go out on a limb and saw it off behind me.

A summer is not enough. To go from having virtually no sailing experience to leaving on a circumnavigation in one summer is just not realistic. To start with, Tania used a Contessa, one of the best ocean capable boats built. IIRC you're looking at used Hunters? A world apart. Tania also had some experience albeit not much.

The satellite imagery thread is now talking about folks going to sea unprepared. Speaking as one who spent 22 years fishing people out of situations they were unprepared for, alive and not so alive, I really think there's more to consider here than just what someone's personal wants are. When the switch is thrown on that EPIRB because someone got into something they can't handle, they are now putting someone else's butt on the line to save their bacon, be it a chopper crew, freighter, fishing boat, another yacht, coast guard, whatever. There used to be a bathtub law for boats, if people continue taking a cavalier approach to ocean sailing we probably will end up with one for people as well and we all lose freedom when that happens. I think anyone venturing out on the ocean owes it to these folks as well as themselves to be as fully prepared as possible and it takes more than a Canadian summer to do that.

It might do well to find some videos of what it's really like on the ocean and even the Great Lakes when it gets nasty. There's a set of photos floating around the forum showing a freighter on Lake Superior absolutely awash in blue water. You will have to be prepared to deal with those conditions, thinking otherwise is a mistake. No amount of classes or videos can fully make you realize what heavy weather is like, only experience can do that. You need to get that experience in a safe manner, that means a bit at a time. That takes time, more than one summer.

It's clear you're not into this yet as far as your husband is, a parallel situation that I was in with my wife. I've been sailing off and on since I was 8, we've owned more boats than I can remember. I took baby steps to get my wife comfy with the idea of cruising as a lifestyle and she is fully committed now. This year has taught me how much we don't know despite how long we've been aboard. Having spent this summer trying to deal with the warts of a used boat and learn its quirks there is no way we would be setting off down the ICW this fall. Maybe next fall, but not this one.

I read the bumfuzzle logs, entertaining stuff. They are also extremely lucky and full of the arrogance of youth. Ignorance is not bliss, it can be deadly.

I'm not saying don't go, I am saying slow down, don't put a time frame on it and go fully prepared. You will hear over and over that cruising cannot be done enjoyably on a schedule, neither can learning to cruise. Take the time to get the experience, make the preparations and enjoy the journey, even the learning part of the journey. Please don't take this the wrong way, I am not trying to discourage you and especially your husband, I am trying to encourage you both to go but go as safely as possible.

And just to complete my sure nomination as least popular person on this forum, a note to all participants. It amazes me at times how newbies are told "sure, go now. You can do it." These are peoples' lives, is it responsible to give this kind of advice to people we know nothing about at all? I don't think so. I'd hate to have told someone to "just go" and have them "just go" to their death. Sober reflection time?
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Old 14-11-2007, 17:15   #8
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Maybe it's not responsible. Matter of fact I'm sure your right!

On the other hand, I too spent years pickin, moppin, scrapin, bandaging and other assorted ups, and keepin 'em alive during transport. I tell my kids and everyone else, if you've a dream chase it.

I fully agree that anyone seeking "adventure" or any type of travel where help is far or nonexistant be self-sufficient and not expect outside help. It may take some people years to feel comfortable, (enough experience). Others might be ready in one season. Many people have circumnavigated without years of actual experience.

Reluctant sounded like a reasonably intellegent person. Smart enough to have financially provided for their families future well.

After all, sailing isn't brain surgery. Hell! I learned how!
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Old 14-11-2007, 17:51   #9
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I tell my kids and everyone else, if you've a dream chase it.
Absolutely! Life is nothing without dreams and aspirations. Just don't get run over by them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ughmo2000 View Post
Reluctant sounded like a reasonably intellegent person. Smart enough to have financially provided for their families future well.
Without question. But she's got some differences in viewpoint and approach with her significant other. Maybe with some adjustments they can resolve the differences and both embrace cruising rather than it becoming a wedge between them. Speaking from my experience.

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After all, sailing isn't brain surgery. Hell! I learned how!
Me too! Sort of...
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Old 14-11-2007, 20:09   #10
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"Waiting" serves no purpose, nor does trying to "plan" to be ready at some point in time. You really have to DO to learn, and more importantly, have confidence in what you know. If you DO, stuff will happen, and you will have to deal with it, and successfully dealing with stuff will give you self-confidence, and after that, you will already know the answer to your premature question. Of course, pointing the pointy end east across the atlantic is probably not the best idea for the first day, but maybe that island 20 miles out, then maybe that other one for an overnighter? Nobody says how long a circumnavigation should take, or what the right route is or even if you have to complete it. It's all about the journey - after all, the destination is of no significance since its the same place you started! A long trip is just a bunch of overnighters strung together...
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Old 14-11-2007, 20:46   #11
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I appreciate all your opinions Nay and yay I have to say jdoe that I think what you had to say was reasonable and well put - not discouraging at all. You definitely gave me something to think about - you had a lot of good points. And thanks ughmo I do like to think of myself as reasonably intelligent. I am cautious and like to look at all angles of things before making a decision but that being said I have been known to look at all the pros and cons of things and then go ahead and do things even if they are not the decision most people would make (like quiting my job at 30 to backpack through Europe for a few months some of it alone-coming back to no job and with no money or marrying someone 11 years my junior {shrug}). SO I like to think I am adventerous as well as cautious.

I think you all of you are right we need to look at this trip like a journey I spoke with my husband and we might spend this summer on Lake Ontario and then next summer see about slowly sailing down to Quebec CIty or New York (haven't decided a route yet) but maybe sail for a few days...leave the boat in a marina transit back home to work (our jobs are pretty flexible and for me as long as I have an internet connection I can work)then wintering the boat on the east coast somewhere so then we are ready to go from there maybe sail down to Florida or cross we have lots of time to work out a plan we want to spend time seeing places that is why once we quit our jobs in two years we plan to take a number of years to just sail and tour...believe me I have no problem just throwing the schedule overboard...I have always believed that you have to let travel plans breath so they can take on a life of their own...

As for the insurance or bank loan point we won't have to worryabout that our boat will be paid for...we did originally think about hunters when we were looking for a boat we would just sail here not in the med but now that we are thinking of taking this boat over and not buying one over there well we have broadened the search so any suggestions would be welcomed.
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Old 15-11-2007, 19:50   #12
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Thank you Reluctant!

You know us guys! Always ready to jump with both feet, we need our SO's to rein us in at times!

Seriously; I've talked to a lot of cruisers of all ages in alot of places. I've yet to meet one, regardless of situation or boat size, that wasn't glad they were out there. Including those with families. Many stating they wish they'd gone much earlier.

A wise person asks questions and looks at all possibilities. (usually not me...)

I'd suggest prior to buying your own boat and chucking it all, you charter the BVI's.
You'd have the opportunity to learn a bit under a watchful eye in a fantastic setting and experience life aboard. If then you decide cruising is something you'd like to continue start looking for your dream boat.

After a season or two, or whenever your comfortable, go down the Canal. It's a beautiful trip you'll always remember!
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Old 25-11-2007, 10:40   #13
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I'd have to agree with the cautious route. Sailing with somebody else who 'knows how to' is different to sailing on your own. A few lessons wouldn't go amiss (over here we have 'competent crew' or 'dayskipper' qualifications for people new to the sport. Don't get hung up on paper qualifications, but get good basic training. Chartering is a good idea, after acquiring some basic skills. I would suggest hiring a similar size boat to the one you plan on sailing away in. I'd also do a lot more reading on the subject of long term cruising. Talking to people is fine but how many will admit 'I made a terrible mistake'.
A lot of people seem to focus on bad weather sailing. The reality is (OK, hands up here, I've made one Atlantic crossing in my boat, but I know first hand a half a dozen couples who have made a circumnavigation) that most of the time it will be lack of wind that will bother you rather than too much. This is not to say that you will not meet strong winds/conditions (you must have a boat that is suitable and suitable equipement on board) BUT with sensible planning (buy a book called World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell), that is following the seasons you will minimise your risks. There's always somebody who'll tell you 'oh yeah, well I sailed 'x' route out of the recommended season and it was OK'. It might have been, but to my mind the name of the game is have fun, minimise the risks involved.
I'd also check quarantine regulations if you're planning on taking a dog with you, Australia, New Zealand and the UK to name 3 places are strict on the import of pets.
Why not plan the trip on paper first before comitting yourself? It could be money well spent to buy pilot books/charts etc and do some dreaming. You might find it's not your dream or maybe it will be, cheaper to find out before you buy a boat and sell a house. As others have hinted, there can be major problems if one partner is keen and the other is just 'going along with it' (I've seen that several times). I think, if you decide to cast off, the trick is to not have a fixed plan....go with the seasons but don't commit yourselves too far ahead.
From what I can gather (reading and talking to people who have done it) the hardest part of your route might be from NY down to the Caribbean. Whatever you decide, dream a lot first and see how the dream fits.
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Old 25-11-2007, 13:27   #14
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How big is the vessel? What kind of equipment is aboard? Where do you plan to sail initially?

A large dose of common sense is required and a lot of fore-thought before planning a voyage if it is to go smoothly and safely.

More yachts are lost by dragging an anchor on to a lee shore than are lost by lack of sailing experience I think.

Get the most effective anchoring system you can. We were always dragging anchors when the winds got up a bit, it made it very difficult to get proper sleep, and tired sailors make errors in judgement.
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Old 27-11-2007, 11:46   #15
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Mike, don't let Craig Smith here you talking about dragging an anchor.... lol!
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