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Old 15-12-2012, 17:49   #1
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Is there a way to try it?

So the story goes... I have never sailed and have been limmited to bass boats, a few ferries in Seattle and one cargo ship when my unit came back from Hurricane Katrina. I am however, in love with the sea. I will retire from the Army in a few years and be 37 with about a 3k a month pension. I plan to sell my home and everything to buy a liveabord cruiser. I was wondering if there is a way to hitch a ride with a couple that lives on a boat and sails where the wind takes them. "I would pay for the ride." Is it done? It sounds to me like asking somone I dont know to put me on there couch while they sail it around the world. I was looking for charters but I cant handle a boat and I dont want to be on a small "Cruise Ship" with staff that does everything while I eat steak... I just want to experiance that lifestyle befoure I commit without knowing well... anything about it. I have planned sailing school but There are things that jumping on a small boat that teaches people to sail on a day trip wont convey about the lifestyle I am looking for. Any pointers beyond Sailing for Dummies would be fantastic! Thank you
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Old 15-12-2012, 17:57   #2
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

Welcome!

It depends on where you happen to be. Some of the more civilized (from a sailor's point of view) parts of the world have community sailing centers that make it easy and affordable to get lessons and get on the water without a big commitment of time and money. Some sailing schools, perhaps on a slow day, might make a shorter than usual or teaser lesson available. And there is a sort of a fine art of walking the piers at marinas and yacht clubs to volunteer as raw crew on racing and sometimes day cruising boats. Reading one of the basic sailing books (or finding a video) could help, along with an open-minded attitude, ability to follow directions (I think maybe they teach something like that in the army), and ability to stay out of the way of other crew and control lines could help at first.
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Old 15-12-2012, 18:06   #3
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

Awsome! I have been reading everything I can. I am currently adding things like Jib into my word bank. So people will just take "raw crew"? I was thinking it was out of the question to even walk on the peirs and talk to people like that.
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Old 15-12-2012, 18:26   #4
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

Being willing to put hand in own pocket for "expenses" (folks differ on what those cover!) will mean you pretty much have the pick of the litter when it comes to hitching a ride to acheive your goal of simply discovering WTF the boat thing is all about. Experiance secondary to cash!

Just be straight up about your limited experiance and goals - a 3rd (or 4th) hand onboard is useful on longer passages, not everyone onboard needs to have the sailing CV of a Sir Francis Chichester etc - indeed, plusses to having someone onboard willing to learn rather than bringing aboard own ideas..........

Apart from walking the Docks, Internet your best place to line up a berth.

The big caution is that not every owner / skipper who is heading off into the sunset knows WTF they are doing nor are the boats guaranteed to be as seaworthy as ideal.
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Old 15-12-2012, 18:49   #5
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

I like the ideas above and I understand why you would not want the posh cruise with all done for you while you eat steak. Another possiblity is to take a week or two on one of the small schooner's that charter groups out of Maine. Check around Rockland Harbor. These are usually very crew involved charters with maybe a dozen or so aboard and taking on the tasks and learning.
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Old 15-12-2012, 19:22   #6
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

as mentioned in an earlier post, on a longer passage my concern would be the condition of the vessel, the experience of the owner, and personality issues. In that order. some years ago i turned down an invitation to take a big boat up the coast. the owner was looking to my knowledge over his and htat just didn't seem right.

depending on what you are looking for have a look at chartering a boat for a week with a captain from some place like Moorings or Sunsail. you will be dealing with a reasonably well kept vessel, a professional crew and a clearly defined investment. You can participate in the sailing as much or as little as you want.

here is one (no affiliation)
Yacht Charter and Sailboat Rental Company - Sailing Vacations | The Moorings

After learning the basics of sailing, there are also some sailing schools that offer extended voyages. this would be a good way to add to your sailing resume . there is one in NYC i am aware of.
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Old 15-12-2012, 19:30   #7
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

Welcome to CF and good luck to you.
I have 5 years left for retirement from the military. Last year, I took ASA-101 sailing class and bought a boat this past April. There are some good boats available out there. You could get something that you can handle yourself that isn't too big.
Good luck with whatever you end up doing. Lots of fun out on the water.
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Old 15-12-2012, 19:38   #8
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

G'Day Soldier Boy,

I generally shy away from formal lesson style learning, but in your case I think that taking a few basic sailing classes might be worth while to get a jump start on things.

As a skipper, I would be more willing to take on "raw crew" that at least had the basics in hand... some of the nomenclature, a few hours of helm time, a feel for what tacking and gybing entail... that sort of thing. This level of knowledge will also facilitate picking up more advanced ideas whilst crewing, things that a totally inexperienced fellow would just not notice.

But, do be aware that day sailing, even at an advanced level, is not at all like live-aboard cruising. Success at that endeavor requires lots of non-sailing skills as well, as a few hours of reading threads here on CF will demonstrate!

Good luck with it all, mate... it's worth it in the long haul!

Cheers,

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Old 15-12-2012, 20:52   #9
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

Some skippers will take on beginner crew and some won't. It's probably a very good idea to start out with race boats or cruising boats that are just going out for the day; you can then learn from different boats and captains without making a big commitment or getting stuck for too long in a situation that's not a good fit.

A lot of yacht clubs, sailing clubs, schools, and centers have bulletin boards for prospective crew and sometimes for skippers wanting crew, pretty much all on their web sites these days.

Many marinas and clubs have security, but asking nicely will sometimes let you in, especially on race days, or if you go to a club's website or call their office ahead of time and find out who is in charge of racing and when things happen, and make a contact with someone. Sometimes clubs will have open houses when they are looking for new members. Some yacht clubs are very expensive, but others are much more affordable, and some will have much less expensive crew memberships -- they are all over the map on price, personality, and focus. Also, there are racing and cruising associations that aren't really clubs and don't even have clubhouses, but exist just to help organize sailing activities -- contacting these sorts of folks might get you in touch with people.

Besides race boat owners sometimes looking for crew, especially for short-term "beer can" races, sometimes boat owners could use a hand to help them enjoy a short day cruise.

The basic idea is to call up club or group secretaries, fleet captains, etc., get your name out and on their lists, show up reliably if called, wear non-marking shoes and appropriate clothes, offer to do boat chores before and after sailing, perhaps occasionally treat the owner or crew to a few nice beverages, and give thanks. If a boat is a poor fit, move on to another; but if you find a good boat and skipper who need you again, give them your loyalty.

And once you have some basic skills, either through crewing for people or taking a few lessons, get a little boat that's not too expensive, but in decent shape, and sail the thing silly to really learn.
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Old 15-12-2012, 21:30   #10
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

Before catching some sailing time with anyone, apply and get a TWIC ID. This ID card is issued by Homeland Security. You need to have a clean background check to obtain this card, and pay $125 USD fee; good for 5 years. During the process of applying in person for TWIC, your US passport, Driver's License and Social Security card will be verified/photocopied. Your fingerprints and your picture will be taken. Within 2-3 weeks, if all goes well, you'll obtain your card. With this ID card, charter companies and boat owners can "trust your background"; because your background has cleared an FBI check. Add to your knowledge base, Red Cross courses in CPR and First Aid, two or three sailing classes and you will be improving on your chances in getting a ride as an "apprentice-seaman." Good luck!
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Old 15-12-2012, 21:38   #11
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

I would be interesting in learning as well. I completed a week live aboard with classes to learn how to sail. I fell in love with it. I was with the us Air Force for 21 years. I work IT in Alabama but want to built up some sail time. Any good places in mobile or Pensacola to volunteer my efforts to learn even more. I have been told I take orders well..... I am a pilot and know navigation well and use of a radio, self aid buddy care, CPR. And more importantly not afraid of work
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Old 15-12-2012, 21:39   #12
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

The TWIC advice is particularly relevant to a marine industry career or commitment to longer-term voyages. It could be somewhat overkill for just wanting to go out as a "ballast technician" (unskilled "rail meat") on a sailboat racing around the buoys for a few hours or for just starting to learn to sail a small boat.
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Old 15-12-2012, 21:46   #13
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

FlyerDude...check local marinas and charter companies then place a post/want ad or two on here. You can do all that from your PC. Good luck!
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Old 15-12-2012, 21:55   #14
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

I suggested to get a TWIC ID because I want to make sure that the person I will be working with, does not have a shady background. You will be out of your mind to hire someone, even for a few sailing hours, without verifying their background; hand-shakes do not cut it anymore. With a TWIC, more doors will be open in acquiring seamanship skills.
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Old 15-12-2012, 22:12   #15
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Re: Is there a way to try it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teknav View Post
I suggested to get a TWIC ID because I want to make sure that the person I will be working with, does not have a shady background. You will be out of your mind to hire someone, even for a few sailing hours, without verifying their background; hand-shakes do not cut it anymore. With a TWIC, more doors will be open in acquiring seamanship skills.
I have never heard of a wannabe railmeat volunteer being asked for a TWIC. Most recreational skippers will never have heard of one. No one is talking about "hiring" this chap... who would "hire" a total noobie? As someone else said, unless seeking a career as a professional crewman or skipper the TWIC is overkill. Spend the money on weather gear">foul weather gear or another lesson...

Cheers,

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