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Old 09-10-2010, 18:50   #1
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Did the Sailors Life Choose You, or You it ?

Captains/Skippers, I'm relatively new to sailing and still researching which kind of boat might suit me best... I'm seriously thinking about hopping aboard as a crewman with some of you to experience different types of vessels and sailing methods... but right now I'm very interested in hearing the stories of how y'all came to live your life on the sea... what experiences you've had that led you to learn this lifestyle. were you born into it? did you grow up around it? was it just a chance happening later on in life that you were drawn to it? what kinds of work have you done aboard ships that learned you these skills necessary to survive on the ocean? what opportunities should I be on the lookout for to help gain this experience before I invest hard earned money into an ocean going vessel should I find myself fortunate enough? I'd love to hear your stories. if you would rather respond via PM that's ok too... thank you and be well.

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Old 09-10-2010, 19:10   #2
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Hi Casey and welcome to CF. Great topic!

Like many members I am not living aboard but am fortunate to have been positioned near the sea and it was a passion I always wanted to return to. I sailed as a kid on Australia's Pittwater and then life started...

I had a little angst when buying the boat as I wasn't really sure what I was getting into in terms of cost, time and maintenance. However it was a fear I should have never had.

Owning the boat and sailing every weekend has really balanced work and life and keeps the weekday grind in perspective.

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Old 09-10-2010, 19:14   #3
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My favorite uncle played with boats and wanted to build one. I saw the drawings and the plans. Maybe I was 9. It was a whitehall rowing skiff with a gaff sail. Sexy wine glass transom. That was a seed planted that just stayed with me its always been about people and boats since or boat people and boats. I built boats, read boats and sailed boats. Sailing is better now but I love it all. The skill I learned is there is always a lot to learn and thats a skill. The other is that although there will always be a lot to learn sometimes you have to trust that you know enough to go and learn some more. Im at home on the water learn new things all the time for me i didn't seek it it just is. was that a choice I dont know. Most storms (i think this is universal) are relatively short lived. Weather its a steamed plank that wont find its home or a squall thats kicking up a mess. how you get through it is related to how well prepared you are. pretty simple their life skills not so much boat skills.
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Old 09-10-2010, 19:45   #4
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I got interested in sailing by reading National Geographic and seeing the voyage of Robin Lee Graham in Dove around the world. That got me thinking about sailing. Then I started reading books about sailing, and before long, I had decided that I wanted to sail around the world.

I found out that sailing offshore on a yacht is much different than reading about it. If you have a great sailboat, your trip is awesome. If your yacht performs poorly for the intended voyage, the trip is harder than it should be and can even end in disaster.

If the yacht is well found, you can easily keep up on the maintenance. If the yacht is in bad shape, the boat can become a project that keeps you from sailing on the ocean of your dreams.

I think it is a smart idea to get experience sailing offshore before you commit yourself to a major sailing adventure. You may find out that it is not your cup of tea. You will save yourself a lot of expense, grief, and disappointment.

You will also discover that certain types of sailing appeal to you, while others do not. I like downwind trade wind sailing in warm weather. I intensely dislike cold weather and high latitiude sailing. If you go sailing in the high latitudes, you might decide that you don't like sailing. But if you do the same thing in the trade winds, you might want to sail forever.

If you are really interested in going sailing, stack the odds in your favor by doing the type of sailing that appeals to you to see if you actually enjoy it.
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Old 09-10-2010, 21:24   #5
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I was born on a boat. Pretty cut and dry there. Or cut and wet? I don't know.
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Old 09-10-2010, 22:08   #6
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i love the sea. i guess i had a choice-- tread water or sail.
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Old 09-10-2010, 22:36   #7
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I started sailing a little pram in Fort Lauderdale back in 1955. 'bought a 12' sliding gunter rig in '61 and my wife and I have been living aboard since '72. Something else could suit me well, but I've never tried it.
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Old 09-10-2010, 22:50   #8
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First went sailing at 3 days old if you believe the story!

"I get knocked down but I get up again" eventually.
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Old 09-10-2010, 23:06   #9
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Had been skydiving the last 10 years, it was my "get out of the house on the weekend" thing. Picked up a girlfriend in the sport and she broke her femur on a jump, so she was grounded for a year. I took her kayaking once she started limping around and we both loved it. Eventually that went from river kayaking to sea kayaking.

I loved being on the water, out away from it all. Kayaking became my weekend thing, kept me centered. Used to do overnighters on islands off the Florida gulf coast. Loved having that space all to myself, the slow pace, the quiet sunset after all the power boaters run back home. Didn't really like the lack of a fresh water shower, cold beer or good tunes.

Sailing seemed like it could give me both. Just toss a kayak onto a boat, take her out places, use her as a base camp and explore. I needed a change in my life so 6 months ago I plunged into buying and moving aboard a sailboat. Just moved aboard her 2 weeks ago.

Love the sailing. I don't mind the slow pace. When I'm sailing along at 5 knots I feel like getting away with something. Travelling for free, quiet, connected to the world around me.
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:31   #10
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Posts: 10, great podcast Dave! feels like I'm out there already!!!
like an ice cold beer after a hard day's work... it really takes the edge off
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:45   #11
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for me it's not just sailing. it's sailing + diving + kayaking. for a long stretch it was fishing as well, but that passion has fizzled since I moved to the SF bay area. regardless, it's all about being on the water.

a few years after I started living aboard my sister rented a beach house in Hawaii. Sitting on the front porch one evening, as we watched whales swim by no more than 100 meters away, she asked what I thought of the house.

I told her that I couldn't imagine living that far from the water.
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:50   #12
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I have always had an attraction to the water since I was a little kid. My parents had to physically keep me out of it. They got me swim lessons at a very early age for my own protection. Now it's my profession.

Life begins where land ends.
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Old 12-10-2010, 13:58   #13
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Been on boats since I was 11 and my father picked up a 40' rum runner. They greatest memory I have is becalmed at day break in the fog, drinking coffee with my dad and brothers while listening to the Nuts in the speed boats go racing through the mist.

Othere memories are of painting the bottom with red lead. Mom shows up with 2ft long pepper and egg heros, one each. Laying a new keel after the original became waterlogged and fell apart. (This was a 30 year old $2000 40' Chris Craft, you can guess the condition.) We plugged the leaks in the transom by stuffing saw dust in the cracks every 3 hours. The best working item on the boat was the bilge pump, it worked or we bailed. You had to love the water, no other reason to be there.
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Old 13-10-2010, 04:59   #14
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As a kid I suffered from car sickness and airsickness.... badly...
However when I was 15 it was decided to take me to the UK for further education... so we (Mom,sis, bro n me) sailed from Bombay to Liverpool in the Circassia, an Anchor Line ship.
Much to everyones surprise I was not sick once on the whole 6week trip.. so when they tried to put me in school I point blank refused and joined the Royal Navy as a boy seaman instead...
I learnt to sail on 27ft whalers and 32ft cutters which were the standard RN ships lifeboats in those days...
I should add... halfway through your first years seamanship training you spend a coupla weeks on a seagoing training ship... in my case it was an old WW11 loan/lease ex-US boat called HMS Wakefull....
Day 2 I puked my guts out in a F8..... happily I've discovered the smaller the boats the lower my queasyness.... hence my aversion to boats over 45ft

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Old 14-10-2010, 23:02   #15
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I think I had no choice. Grew up with/on an old gaff ketch. No winches/windlass or furler. Now it has all of these and my Father still sails it.

I grew up with surfboards as well, so ingrained with salt water.

I had my own racing dinghy from about 12 and used to sail across southern Moreton Bay. Went to calypso cat, then 30' grp, to 36 steely to 46 grp.

Sailing and just being on the water, thats what we do!

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