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Old 08-10-2014, 09:30   #1
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Good Advice from Old Salts

Hello,
I'm a young, 22 year old man about to graduate four years of college. I've learned a lot over the last four years, one of the things being that I am young and stupid, and that wisdom is found in seeking it from those older and more experienced. So let me tell you my quick story, my plan, and then what wisdom I could use being imparted to me.

I'm a quizzical fellow. I've always loved being in the water, having grown up in Michigan on the shore of lake Huron. I grew up sailing small 10'-15' day-sailors, earning the merit badge in Boy Scouts, etc. In college, I built two different stitch and glue boats and learned a lot about what is practical, and what is just plain silly and pointless when it comes to boat design.

I took my first cruise last year on the Carnival ship Paradise. I loved it, but when we anchored off the shore of the British West Indies, I could not help but feel a twinge of jealousy to see all the white dots of the sailboats anchored off shore. They didn't have to be back on the ship at a certain time, they could go "wherever they wanted" to while they were in the crystal blue water. They didn't have to rush on and off the island in 5 hours, they could stay a week if they wanted to!

This planted a seed in my head that has taken root and is desperately seeking some sunshine to burst through the topsoil, so I ask that some of you seasoned cruisers could shed some light for said metaphor. I know virtually nothing about cruising, and so I'd love to hear your stories and advice so I can compile it and start planning out my adventure.

In my head, I'd like to do a 3-6 month tour of the Caribbean Sea and the islands there-in. I don't know if I will have a partner to go with or a spouse, but in the event I don't convince someone to go with me and/or tie the knot, I will be sailing this alone with maybe a parrot or something like that. I want to live-aboard frugally, and occasionally dock and stay on the islands with the natives. There is a website called "work-away" where they pair up hosts in different countries with people willing to work for room and board, and that idea looks like more fun and more a unique experience than crashing at a hotel and seeing the tourist sides only.

I'd like to do this by the time I am 26 years old.

So what is your story? Your advice? What kind of boat should I look to to sail a majority of the time with minimal fuel costs? What kind of safety equipment is vital to have? What kind of paperwork and insurance do I need? What parts of sailing are your favorites and your banes? Do you work from your boat and at port, or did you save up a ton of money and live off that? What islands are worth staying at for a while and which ones are only worth lunch and a beach walk? What do you do for food? Fun? How much of this kind of lifestyle is annoying work and is the sailing and exploring worth all the not-so-fun parts?
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:48   #2
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

No mystery here - get a job, make some money, buy a boat, fix it up, go to the Caribe.

You have some experience and sound like you know what you want to do. What old "salts" (I have sailed mostly on Lake Michigan, does that make me an "old fresh"?) would suggest here is gonna be fairly consistent. Since it sounds like you know how to point the boat, you just need to get on with it. What we can not impart, tho, is perspective. You will acquire that along the way.

Fair winds, young man (fresh?).
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:49   #3
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

My advice is to find these "old salts" in person. Asking here will get you so many answers you will be lost as to what to believe.

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Old 08-10-2014, 15:45   #4
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

Effective boating requires resources=money. Get that first then decide how to spend it. Nothing cheap in the BVI except the sun...until you get skin cancer. Work away sounds like a plan, if you throw a boat on top you will be to poor to enjoy the life you have created for yourself. The natives probably don't want you unless you have money or can provide free health care. Read through this entire forum and all your questions will be answered in every way possible both positive and negative.

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Old 08-10-2014, 16:06   #5
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

The way I see it you have two options:
#1: Captain/Owner - requires money to buy a boat, fit it out, provision it, sail it, then sell it.
#2: Crew - requires far less money and risk, but you need experience, and you might end up on a bad boat or with a bad skipper (but you can always jump ship)

Try and network via local yacht clubs might be a good way to get on somebody's crew list, otherwise you need to try and network in the caribbean to see if you can find a boat to work.
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Old 08-10-2014, 16:21   #6
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

If you are serious about going on your own nickel, find a boat around 30' plus or minus available cheap but with a good engine and sails. Don't waste your money on electronics other than a couple of GPS's and an Epirb. Get a used self steering vane and a rowable dinghy. Once you are comfortable with the boat, GO. Hardest part about cruising is untieing the dock lines.

Most people go on way too much boat with way way way too much money in it. Actually most people plan on going with the above but die before they can get the perfect boat or outfit it perfectly. Get out there and do it. If the bug bites, come back and put together enough money to to buy a better boat and outfit it with the knowledge you've gained.

A lot of people here will tell you need two way radio
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Old 08-10-2014, 17:19   #7
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

All of the above!
Sail any way you can.Work make $ Sail some more.Move to a coast.

A younger bud moved to Seattle.Never sailed before,sails every weekend now through a crew hookup app.He's working for $ to get boat he wants.Studying
for certs.

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Old 08-10-2014, 17:32   #8
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

Not sure if I'm an "old salt" or not, but that won't stop me from offering one piece of advice:

It's easy to fall in love with the concept of sailboat cruising when you see all those cruisers frolicking in the sun at a tropical island. Don't they look happy and content? OK, now lets see how those people look as they're puking over the transom for the second straight day riding out a storm of big confused seas as stuff is breaking all over the boat!

And you say of these cruisers: "They didn't have to be back on the ship at a certain time, they could go "wherever they wanted" to while they were in the crystal blue water. They didn't have to rush on and off the island in 5 hours, they could stay a week if they wanted to!". Not quite true! Those sailboats often have to wait for the reight weather, tides or currents before moving to their next destination, and arrival time (and even destination) are usually TBD based on those factors.

What I'm saying is make sure you really are in love with sailing, the good and the bad, before committing. Sailing to great places under ideal conditions isn't going to tell you that. What you need to do is find a crew position on a boat that's doing a transit over a nasty bit of water at the wrong time of year. Do that for a couple weeks and if you come back and say "Wow, what a ride! Let's do that again!", then you're hooked.
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Old 08-10-2014, 17:33   #9
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

I don't know what kind of sailor you are but I can see you have great potential as a writer. I really enjoyed reading your introduction. As far as advice, we have done everything the hard slow way, so if you want to go NOW we would not be the best to ask.

I can tell you everything not to do probably, unless you want to rebuild a bunch of derelict boats, at great expense, and then wait until you retire to go cruising.

We wish you the best, and hope you get out there soon. You'd be a cool guy to share a drink in the cockpit with at anchorage me thinks.
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Old 08-10-2014, 17:34   #10
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

here is a clue!
on how to escape now, for a life on the sea.

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Old 08-10-2014, 17:53   #11
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

Not an old salt, but as someone saving for a cruise now, realise there's a fixed cost of living, and the only way to save money is to earn above that cost. If you were to make $100,000 over four years but it costs you $25,000 a year to live; you won't save anything. But if you make $100,000 over two years, you'll have $50,000 in the bank. So take the extra hours or the second part-time gig, or reduce your cost of living. Amazing how many of my friends never got that. Even if you're going as crew, access to money gives you a whole lot more options, whether it's more boat choices because you can contribute to fuel and food, or because you have the option to ditch a bad boat/skipper and fly home or wait for something better.


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Old 08-10-2014, 18:40   #12
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manson_Brigg View Post

(...) I've learned a lot over the last four years, one of the things being that I am young and stupid, and that wisdom is found in seeking it from those older and more experienced. (...)

I'd like to do this by the time I am 26 years old.

(...)

Your advice?

(...)
Listen to me, young man, ;-)

Over last four years, you got seriously miss-educated. Do not worry though, you can un-educate yourself, if you give yourself a chance.

You are young. You are not stupid. The older and more experienced are older and more experienced, this does not imply they are any wiser than you are. And those who will claim they are, they are the ones you should fear most.

This is your life. It is up to you how you will live it. Does it really look to you like the generation older than you made many wise choices? Does it?

Now if you want advice, here is some.

1) Listen well, but do not hesitate to reject. It really works: listen to everyone, then make YOUR own choices.

2) The time is now. The time to love, the time to grow, the time to get skills, the time to sail away. Balance the order of your choices wisely. Some orders are better than others.

3) Do not hesitate to reject your choices should you find they lead you to unwanted ends. Stay focused. Act fearlessly. Give up bravely, if you find you took a wrong turn somewhere. Do not burn any bridges.

4) Boats, budgets and diesel engines are only tools. Tools are secondary. Mind is primary. You will be happy in any boat, if you have a happy mind. Culture your mind, maintain your boat, enjoy the ride.

5) Lick the icing before you buy the cake. You do not need a boat to sail one. You can learn how to avoid stupid mistakes on your own boat by sailing other people's boats.

I could go on like this forever. I love giving nonsensical advice nearly as much as I like sailing. Nonsensical because there really is no script for somebody else's happiness. There is hardly any for our own!

Take care. Sail safe. Know thyself. Love.

PS You will find some answers to your more detailed questions by browsing CF. Hit the search, read, dream, sail.

Fair winds,
Cheers,
b.
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Old 08-10-2014, 18:49   #13
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Listen to me, young man, ;-)

Over last four years, you got seriously miss-educated. Do not worry though, you can un-educate yourself, if you give yourself a chance.

You are young. You are not stupid. The older and more experienced are older and more experienced, this does not imply they are any wiser than you are. And those who will claim they are, they are the ones you should fear most.

This is your life. It is up to you how you will live it. Does it really look to you like the generation older than you made many wise choices? Does it?

Now if you want advice, here is some.

1) Listen well, but do not hesitate to reject. It really works: listen to everyone, then make YOUR own choices.

2) The time is now. The time to love, the time to grow, the time to get skills, the time to sail away. Balance the order of your choices wisely. Some orders are better than others.

3) Do not hesitate to reject your choices should you find they lead you to unwanted ends. Stay focused. Act fearlessly. Give up bravely, if you find you took a wrong turn somewhere. Do not burn any bridges.

4) Boats, budgets and diesel engines are only tools. Tools are secondary. Mind is primary. You will be happy in any boat, if you have a happy mind. Culture your mind, maintain your boat, enjoy the ride.

5) Lick the icing before you buy the cake. You do not need a boat to sail one. You can learn how to avoid stupid mistakes on your own boat by sailing other people's boats.

I could go on like this forever. I love giving nonsensical advice nearly as much as I like sailing. Nonsensical because there really is no script for somebody else's happiness. There is hardly any for our own!

Take care. Sail safe. Know thyself. Love.

PS You will find some answers to your more detailed questions by browsing CF. Hit the search, read, dream, sail.

Fair winds,
Cheers,
b.
That was downright poetic, and not the least bit nonsensical. Good stuff.
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Old 08-10-2014, 19:24   #14
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

Guess I am an old salt.
Get a small and simple boat, then go.
You have to want it however, can't change your mind halfway there...Oops, too late.
Be strong and be smart.
(On the other hand, if you are strong and smart, you will go to schools, start yer own company, get rich, then buy a crewed Mega-Yacht full of lusty bimbos, then sail into the sunset drinking and screwing...I would if I was strong and smart)
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Old 09-10-2014, 09:54   #15
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Re: Good Advice from Old Salts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manson_Brigg View Post
Hello,
I'm a young, 22 year old man about to graduate four years of college. I've learned a lot over the last four years, one of the things being that I am young and stupid, and that wisdom is found in seeking it from those older and more experienced. So let me tell you my quick story, my plan, and then what wisdom I could use being imparted to me.

I'm a quizzical fellow. I've always loved being in the water, having grown up in Michigan on the shore of lake Huron. I grew up sailing small 10'-15' day-sailors, earning the merit badge in Boy Scouts, etc. In college, I built two different stitch and glue boats and learned a lot about what is practical, and what is just plain silly and pointless when it comes to boat design.

I took my first cruise last year on the Carnival ship Paradise. I loved it, but when we anchored off the shore of the British West Indies, I could not help but feel a twinge of jealousy to see all the white dots of the sailboats anchored off shore. They didn't have to be back on the ship at a certain time, they could go "wherever they wanted" to while they were in the crystal blue water. They didn't have to rush on and off the island in 5 hours, they could stay a week if they wanted to!

This planted a seed in my head that has taken root and is desperately seeking some sunshine to burst through the topsoil, so I ask that some of you seasoned cruisers could shed some light for said metaphor. I know virtually nothing about cruising, and so I'd love to hear your stories and advice so I can compile it and start planning out my adventure.

In my head, I'd like to do a 3-6 month tour of the Caribbean Sea and the islands there-in. I don't know if I will have a partner to go with or a spouse, but in the event I don't convince someone to go with me and/or tie the knot, I will be sailing this alone with maybe a parrot or something like that. I want to live-aboard frugally, and occasionally dock and stay on the islands with the natives. There is a website called "work-away" where they pair up hosts in different countries with people willing to work for room and board, and that idea looks like more fun and more a unique experience than crashing at a hotel and seeing the tourist sides only.

I'd like to do this by the time I am 26 years old.

So what is your story? Your advice? What kind of boat should I look to to sail a majority of the time with minimal fuel costs? What kind of safety equipment is vital to have? What kind of paperwork and insurance do I need? What parts of sailing are your favorites and your banes? Do you work from your boat and at port, or did you save up a ton of money and live off that? What islands are worth staying at for a while and which ones are only worth lunch and a beach walk? What do you do for food? Fun? How much of this kind of lifestyle is annoying work and is the sailing and exploring worth all the not-so-fun parts?
I can only attest to the old part. I went through the first 13 posts, sounds like some damn good advise maybe more on life than sailing? Have at your dreams when young the years pass quickly.
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