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Old 03-07-2010, 23:33   #1
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Where to Start . . . ?

Hello boating world,

My wife and I are looking for some good advice about boating/sailing. I'm currently serving in the U.S. Air Force and plan to retire in 10 years. My wife and I dream to spend our retirement on a boat sailing around the Carribbean and other parts of the world. Instead of buying the strech camper and cruising America we want the sailing boat and cruise the world.
Here's are little speed bump. Neither one of us have sailed anything bigger then an inner tube down a river. We plan on taking sailing classes/nautical classes/scuba diving along with a few other classes and hands on stuff before my time is up in the Air Force. We have 10 years to get everything lined up and prepared for this dream life... So where do we begin?
Is there anyone out there that went through the same thing and is now living there dream? Any tips on where to start and what to plan for the next 10 years? Is 10 years long enough to prepare or too long? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all.

-Jen and Dave
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:06   #2
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Where to start ?

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. We have 10 years to get everything lined up and prepared for this dream life... So where do we begin? -Jen and Dave
This forum is the perfect place to start and as we're only sailors, not rocket scientists, 10 years is plenty of time. Lessons are great. So is visiting boat shows so you can explore all the possibilities. When you think you've got it, go and charter something similar to what you think you'd like to buy. After you've laid out the big bucks is not a good time to find out that you really don't like it. Most of all, have heaps of fum. Welcome to the forum!

Greg
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:12   #3
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Best thing to do is just sail whatever you can as much as you can, honestly the smaller the better to start. If you can sail a dinghy around a modern cruiser will be no problem. You can sail a dinghy on a lake so wherever you are, you should be good to go.

Get all the Pardey books, and Annapolis Book of Seamanship. If you only have one sailing book get the Annapolis Book of Seamanship. Amazon.com: The Cost Conscious Cruiser (9780964603653): Larry Pardey, Lin Pardey: Books

Amazon.com: The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, 3rd Edition Revised (9780684854205): John Rousmaniere, Mark Smith: Books
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:17   #4
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There are too many cruisers out here already, stick with the RV and cruise America. Besides 10 years is not enough, you need at least 25. And don't forget they're sharks in the water, terrible storms that will get you, you could drown at any time, boats sink all the time, the sunsets/sunrises are not all they are cracked up to be, .... did I mention the sharks?

Just kidding of course, welcome aboard. As Eleebana says, this is the perfect place to start.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:51   #5
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Best thing to do is just sail whatever you can as much as you can, honestly the smaller the better to start. If you can sail a dinghy around a modern cruiser will be no problem. You can sail a dinghy on a lake so wherever you are, you should be good to go.

Get all the .... books,
Or, Start with Captain Ron, and keep going until you get to Dead Calm.

The dingy idea is better than you can know. Like learning to drive in a VW as opposed to a Kenworth. No need to linger too long with the dingy either. Just a good place to start. And later you can use the sailing dink to terrorize the marinas and anchorages.
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:18   #6
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Take the training course and yes thats both of you because she needs to take over when you sleep and also feel part of the crew. Then enjoy a few years chartering around the the world, not just the Carrib.

Here is one suggestion for chartering, as part of a flotilla. Easy sailing in company with lead crewed boat on hand if you need it. What a great way to see 5 thousand years of history.

Flotilla sailing holidays from Neilson

The other big advantage of chartering is you get to try out lots of yachts to see what works (layouts) and perhaps more importantly what doesn't, without risking your own capital on a yacht.

Pete
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Old 16-07-2010, 07:29   #7
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Start sailing dinghies. They are cheap , everywhere , practical and will teach you wind awareness , the base of sailing. You will learn 10 times as much about real sailing in a day on a dinghy or keelboat than you will on a "big" boat charter. It doesn't mean you have to spend a year sailing dinghies before you move to the chartering and flotillas and all the tuition option you have , but spend time on a dinghy until you grasp wind , sails and controls , and you'll be a much better sailor when you move on to the "real" boats.

Start at the beginning.
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Old 16-07-2010, 08:59   #8
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Don't know where in the world you are, but if you are near a shore and yacht clubs, check out beer can (informal) racing on week day evenings and regular racing on the weekends. Skippers are always looking for crew and you don't need to be a member of the club. Also you might find sailing classes (dinghy sizes) at nearby colleges. Considering that sailing is at least half art, the more practice the better, and cheap-to-free practice the best.
BTW, I doublehanded with a retired AF pilot from Tahiti to Washington. He hadn't sailed at all until he retired, then took up Pelican sailing. Apparently it worked...
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Old 16-07-2010, 09:12   #9
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jenanddave,

You might give your location. That helps a lot. A lot of the folks on this site have a lot of regional or local info and could point you in the right direction. Local yacht clubs are your best bet. Sign up as a crew member, not a lot of money in most cases. Some clubs such as the one I belong to have sailing lessons for kids and keel boat lessons for adults. (Dinghies are very hard on the knees). We also have a few club owned keel boats that can be used by crew members at a reasonable cost. Once you join you'll get lots of opportunities to crew on the round the can racing. The main thing is to get out and sail.
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Old 16-07-2010, 09:18   #10
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Learning to sail and become reasonably competent at it is easy. However, where the ultimate goal is to spend your retirement cruising around the Caribbean on a sailboat, I recommend the backwards approach. If you can afford it (it's expensive), do a one week crewed charter in BVI. This will give you a distorted but extremely informative idea of what living on a sailboat is like. Most likely you will be hopelessly hooked, but maybe not - something you don't want to find out 10 years from now. For most people sailing is a rather small part of cruising. In the Caribbean most cruising sailboats are at anchor 90% of the time. .
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