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Old 06-07-2014, 11:57   #16
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Re: want to go offshore but

Best way to do it is...to well, just do it! Find a few trusted mates so you have a few extra grabbers to work things and take to the seas.
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Old 06-07-2014, 13:46   #17
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Re: want to go offshore but

I've never understood the "go to a sailing school or join a club" answer to these kind of questions. Ever. Maybe someone can help explain the purpose and what will help if the OP does that, rather than just suggesting it. Same thing with sailing on OPBs. Unless it's the same model/make/size, things will be different and may not apply to your boat at all.

The best advice so far is to sail your own boat, 'cuz unless you buy a new one, that's the one you'll have. Everytime you go out, go further.
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Old 06-07-2014, 15:33   #18
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Re: want to go offshore but

When I began sailing I took the advice to go to the local yacht club and get a ride on a race boat in need of crew.
I learned only how to sit on the gun'l shivering, and get shouted at by Captain Hyde types.
Pointless.
So I bought a boat, read some books, and got out and learned. That worked.


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Old 06-07-2014, 16:17   #19
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Re: want to go offshore but

Offshore Passage Opportunities is a good website where people look for crew for offshore passages of varying lengths. I have gotten crew from them in the past and gone on some fun cruises I found there myself. They dont always want somebody with experience but the captains are always experienced and the boats in good shape for offshore. Lots of deliveries leave from Chesapeake Bay or go there.

On the rally question, somebody above said they were not a substitute for being able to do it on your own. I couldnt agree more. I did the Caribbean 1500 once and thought all of the seminars were useful and the many people around who could give advice were a big help. i was happy I did it. But once you are beyond Hatteras you are alone. There is nobody else in sight and you need to be able to figure things out yourself. You can hire a weather router yourself - there are several good ones - but sailing is a learning-by-doing thing if there ever was one
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Old 06-07-2014, 16:31   #20
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Re: want to go offshore but

Quote:
Originally Posted by Normanby View Post
When I began sailing I took the advice to go to the local yacht club and get a ride on a race boat in need of crew.
I learned only how to sit on the gun'l shivering, and get shouted at by Captain Hyde types.
Pointless.
So I bought a boat, read some books, and got out and learned. That worked.


SNIP
I have no doubt this is true. On the other hand I have spent many hours talking to folks at YCs, docks, and marinas. Got to know them. Quite frankly some of them were SOBs I would not go out with on a bet. On the other hand I have also met some nice folks who offered great advice, both on shore and off.

Guess I just assumed folks would use good judgement is choosing who's boat they go out on.
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Old 06-07-2014, 18:01   #21
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Re: want to go offshore but

When i first bought my boat, I was timid and a little overwhelmed with the thought of taking it out. After a dock mate asked me to take her out the ice was broken and now the boat goes out about every weekend. Slowly started to work my way further out and to do trips to neighboring harbors. Every time the distance gets stretched a little further, that becomes "the norm". No class can teach you that.

As for crewing, that can help one get used to being out on the water. I crewed for the Navy and got over any trepidation I may have had right quick. It helps to have a push occasionally sometimes. To be push beyond a comfort zone with no control forces one to simply accept things.
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Old 06-07-2014, 18:44   #22
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Re: want to go offshore but

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
I've never understood the "go to a sailing school or join a club" answer to these kind of questions. Ever. Maybe someone can help explain the purpose and what will help if the OP does that, rather than just suggesting it. Same thing with sailing on OPBs. Unless it's the same model/make/size, things will be different and may not apply to your boat at all.

The best advice so far is to sail your own boat, 'cuz unless you buy a new one, that's the one you'll have. Everytime you go out, go further.
It's called learning from someone who knows more than you. Taking your boat offshore by yourself, when you've never been offshore before is, in my opinion, exceedingly unwise. Yes, plenty of people do it and they do fine, but I've been offshore with enough people for whom it was the first time and seen them do all sorts of inexperienced things that had the potential to endanger the boat that I just don't think it's a good idea. Ninety-five percent of useful offshore experience is not boat specific, it's situation specific.

I did two trans-atlantic strips on OPBs, one a circumnavigator and the other a devout offshore racer when I was in my 20's. I learned a tremendous amount from them which I'm very glad I did not learn from trial and error. It's called expediting your learning curve.

The point of joining a club, particularly one where you have access to people with ocean experience and having the opportunity to socialize, spend time on their boats, and have them spend time on yours is a pretty low-friction way of getting access to that experience.
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Old 06-07-2014, 19:03   #23
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Re: want to go offshore but

sailing a boat is easy
Sailing a boat fast is harder
Sailing a boat fast where you want to go is extremely hard

I have learned from every skipper I sailed with - some bad a lot good. I do not recommend sailing a lot with bad skippers.

Yacht clubs are sociable. Maybe not for everyone but they can open up a whole wealth of help and experience.

It's amazing how many "self taught" skippers have no idea how to trim a main sail.
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Old 06-07-2014, 19:03   #24
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Re: want to go offshore but

You know, I think you can learn just by doing it, after reading all about it and being trained by various schools. But in the end, what makes sailing fun is the experiences we have with others. So I am with Suijun on this one: I think we can learn faster if we put up with others of the same species.
I joined a yacht club early in my career. Raced J-24's. But also got in with a drunk skipper or two. Won't do that again. But still, the legit racing was a lot of fun, and my learning curve skyrocketed.
I think this guy can go anywhere, as long as he leaves the dock. He seems the cautious type. If he checks the forecast twice a day he will go far along the coast before he runs into heavy weather. By then he should be prepared.
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Old 06-07-2014, 19:27   #25
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Re: want to go offshore but

It's funny how sometimes you remember the things that didn't work. Maybe folks get tired of blogs with: "Here's our breakfast menu, we napped, got our drinks and headed for the pool or went snorkeling" type things day after day, so that's why we write about what went wrong, and, more importantly, how to fix it.

A few months ago I was on another skipper's boat heading down the coast. Three miles out from the Golden Gate Bridge his engine died. I suggested we keep going, but he decided to return to the Bay. The other crew member remembered a big side tie dock in Sausalito that would accommodate us easily. As we got closer the skipper and crew member bailed and handed me the wheel. I had them handle the midships spring line and aft brest lines and we docked without any incident. I'd been practicing doing just that for years, but they hadn't. Since he didn't have a dinghy foot pump on board, we couldn't blow back into the fuel line, so we ended up sailing out and back to his marina, where later in the week a diesel mechanic told him just what I had suggested. Stuff happens. Practice and learn.

Two weeks ago I was on my own boat and the engine overheated in a narrow but relatively short channel. Instead of going backwards, I sailed upwind to the next anchorage, after an hour of short tacking with just the jib (just me, too). I cleared the strainer but when I started the engine the alternator was sparking. The isolator on the output had melted. Oh, No! Call Sea Tow? Hardly. I disconnected the output, disconnected the regulator and motored to a marina to plug in for the night, and then motored home for 6 1/2 hours the next day. No tach, but everything else worked. Stuff happens. Practice and learn.

The only way you'll get to know that you can do it is to Get Out There. You already have the "leanrin'" so get the sailing time in. Make sure you have the right tools and you should be able to handle almost anything except an engine rebuild. Boatman's right.

Good luck.
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Old 06-07-2014, 21:51   #26
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Re: want to go offshore but

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
I've never understood the "go to a sailing school or join a club" answer to these kind of questions. Ever. Maybe someone can help explain the purpose and what will help if the OP does that, rather than just suggesting it. Same thing with sailing on OPBs. Unless it's the same model/make/size, things will be different and may not apply to your boat at all.

The best advice so far is to sail your own boat, 'cuz unless you buy a new one, that's the one you'll have. Everytime you go out, go further.

Some advantages of lessons:

1) Taking advantage of the experience of the instructor. I like to tell instructor candidates that they should have made a lot of mistakes before trying to teach someone else.

2) Learning routines. Listening to the weather before leaving an anchorage or selecting one. Passage planning. Calculating tides and currents beforehand. Daily / weekly vessel checks.

4) Practicing under some else's tutelage. Learning the "right way" to do things. Things as mundane as proper use of a winch. What knots to use where and when. I crewed on one race boat where no one knew how to correct an override on a winch using a rolling hitch. We teach that as a matter of course. We also single line docking (2 methods) which is invaluable for couples.

5) Having an experienced person on board when you want to push your limits, or see what they are. Ocean and offshore courses will often make or break a person. After teaching a dip pole spinnaker gybe, I have many students who become fans of gennakers.

6) Getting some advise / hints on buying the appropriate boat. I have sailed about 5 dozen different boats and and aware of the strengths and weaknesses of different layouts, etc.. For example, I insist on a galley harness while offshore and ocean sailing. Not many boats are equipped with them or for them. I tell students to charter several different boats to find out what they like and dislike.

7) Being required to use some of the traditional methods like papers.

8) Learning proper vessel safety is less painful. We teach and practice uowind and downwind MOB under sail. And we teach 2 MOBs (Anderson and Williamson) under power.

9) Navigation theory is way easier to learn in a classroom, especially after you had some initial exposure on your first course. Then the application on the water makes much more sense.

Having said that, it is essential that folks get experience between courses, before attempting the next level. After my first certification I waited 7 years before the next course. A sailed a bunch in between. "Helm time" is crucial.

I had one student who had chartered several times but she was using a instructor as a skipper each time. She had no concept of what it meant to be in charge of a vessel.

Check the standards for ASA, Sail Canada and others for a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge.
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Old 07-07-2014, 00:27   #27
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Re: want to go offshore but

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Thank you guys for all the good tips.
I am checking the different sailing clubs in the area, to see which one I can join. Also working on some minor issues on the boat, so that I can put it soon back in the water, and spend more time practicing.
My wife has taken some courses with me including the barefoot week on a catamaran. She fairly enjoys sailing, but I am the one that has the bug.

Andy

OH one should also not worry about the whole anxious factor when enter ports -- in the past 2 months we have been into probably 15 different ports and never the same one twice --
pucker factor to the max as some times the charts and cruising guides are just not that helpful and the folks at the marina standing on the dock have a distorted view of where you are in relation to the markers -

i am wondering if i will have a tongue left when we finally get back to tunisia for the winter as i chew my tongue when i get nerverous - oh and i curl my toes and the other day after we got into the slip i had cramps in my foot --

so the pucker factor is nothing new and common and if it is not then you got a problem

what we get a laugh at is some of the eu boats over here can not figure how to get into a channel and end up following those silly americans -- happened more than once

but then again we would much prefer them to go first and save my tongue
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:17   #28
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Re: want to go offshore but

I think you should consider listening to your fears. They may be telling you that you are just not in a position to take the risks. The ocean is a dangerous place. It takes a great deal of technology, communications, skill, knowledge, experience, and physical fortitude to control and manage that danger.

All the previous suggestions are good, if you truly need and/or want to go to sea, but why press it?

A therapist might be helpful to you at this point. Someone who can help you understand your desires and fears and the apparent contradictions between them.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:20   #29
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Re: want to go offshore but

Quote:
The ocean is a dangerous place. It takes a great deal of technology, communications, skill, knowledge, experience, and physical fortitude to control and manage that danger.
Seems a bit overblown, mate. One needs not be a superhero to sail successfully.

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Old 07-07-2014, 04:50   #30
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Re: want to go offshore but

The one thing these "I'm a Noob and want to sail blue water" threads always seem to demonstrate to me is that there is no "one way" to learn how to sail safely offshore.

Those of us who have done it have all reach a point of competence by our own paths. What worked well for me might not be the best path for someone else. In fact, it probably isn't.

I learned on a Hobie 16. Never had lessons, and didn't join a sailing club or race until after I had been offshore. I got all my keel boat experience on OPBs and charter yachts. I bought my first keel boat in 2002 and sailed off to Bermuda in 2003, and then the Caribbean in 2004 and 2005.

So, Noobs, listen to what more experienced sailors might say to you, but go by your own path.
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