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Old 12-05-2015, 16:38   #16
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

I have a friend who's retiring soon, plans to buy an RV and tour North America with his wife. They've never driven an RV before. Most pre-retirement courses would suggest that's a bad idea.

I would say do some courses, but on an accelerated schedule - no need to take 20 years. You get to use somebody else's boat, you can try different areas and get the advantage of different instructors' knowledge, and it gives you the chance to talk to people who have been in this for years - about sailing, boat preferences, equipment, whatever. And find out what you like and don't like.

But definitely do it, in whatever way works for you. Wish you the best.
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Old 12-05-2015, 21:20   #17
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

It's difficult to focus on the challenges of a cruising life when you've been doing it for all of your adult life. .... or maybe I can't focus on the challenges because we are such "pansies". We take the best of weather and short passages. We poke about, gunkholing,- often out an inlet in the morning and back in another before dark. We hide out for the tropical storms and we don't choose big winds opposing currents. We don't mind waiting for the best conditions and we don't need to be anywhere today. We're begining our 25th transit of the US East Coast tomorrow, heading north for hurricane season.

I will admit to a few times when we've been on our knees in our cockpit with everything a total whistling whiteout, but you know when it's time to cower and wait.

When we moved onto a sailboat 43 years ago, we accepted that we could loose it all and that acceptance is a comfort. Our son and daughter grew up on our boats. Our daughter has her family on their boat now. I'm sure she knows she could lose it all, but they are making good choices.
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Old 13-05-2015, 06:19   #18
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

We intend to putz around Florida until we learn the boat, ensure it'll keep us safe and take some formal classes. THEN we'll start the slow island hop to Spain.
I'm hoping to find a boat this summer, this year and start tuning it up. I know once I've got it there'll be no stopping us.


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Old 13-05-2015, 12:05   #19
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

I would do the classes after you've bought the boat, but before the putzing around. Since the classes might help you figure out better & safer ways to do things while on the boat. Who knows, maybe you could work a deal getting an instructor to take you out on YOUR boat, and get the best of both worlds at once.


And certainly either speak to an instructor, or to a local sailing loft. How you trim the standing rigging and mast on your boat, can make an incredible difference in how it balances and sails. Some professional insight can save you weeks of frustration there.


There's nothing like a finely tuned & balanced boat, sailing along for hours without anyone needing to touch the helm. Kinda spooky the first time you see it, real nice feeling afterwards.
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Old 15-05-2015, 05:33   #20
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

What about desalinators? I've read about cruisers with them on their boat and it seems like a prudent piece of equipment. Having the ability to make your own fresh water is one less reason to have put to shore. Do you guys have one ?
Ohh, and we signed up for sailing classes and should be ASA 101 and 103 certified in July.
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Old 16-05-2015, 02:24   #21
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Right on on the courses. If you get a good instructor he will make the two of work as a team to get things done and not capt and crew. Ours did and it made a lot of difference.


As for a watermaker, yea we got one when we headed to Mexico and points south. it was great and very useful especically in the san blas and in the eastern med we did not have gerry out water. We got a Katdyn that makes 3.5 gal per hour and runs off our solar panels. We ran it everyday for an hour or two and had plenty of water. But if I had to do it again I would the Katdyn that makes 6 gal per hour and still draws not many amps and can run off the solar panels.
By the way in the Med in particular last year we sailed Italy, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Malta we did not need the watermaker but this year we are headed to Greece and have taken the watermaker out of moth balls, ie pickled, and put in back in action as in studying the pilot books some of the islands are a bit water short so we will make our own.


Good luck with the classes.
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Old 16-05-2015, 14:41   #22
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

If you have to take in water when you come to port, or if you have to come to port to take in water, isn't that an additional expense that could be avoided by having your own water maker? As I read the blogs regarding taking on water, it seems as though this could be a PIA; poor quality water, $$$$, logistics, etc. Humans can generally find food , but finding good clean water is often a problem, and since we can't live without water for very long, I think this would be a priority. I'm looking at the EchoTec systems as these seem to be the most reliable. Besides, how fantastic is it to take a long hot shower after a really bad day without worrying about having enough to drink later ?
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Old 17-05-2015, 14:22   #23
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

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................................ ............................. how fantastic is it to take a long hot shower after a really bad day without worrying about having enough to drink later ?
When we're cruising among the islands and in those lattitudes in the twenties or less, we never consider a long hot shower, but it is fantastic to jump into the cool water where we are anchored. We may snorkel about and then bathe, followed by a conservative cool fresh water rinse. We do take on water in a port, but then we also pick up some fresh produce and enjoy the shore communities. We easily store enough water for a month,- more if we are extra conservative.

I'm all for watermakers, but we haven't felt a need as of yet. 'some would!
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Old 02-07-2015, 05:48   #24
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Well, we've found a beautiful yacht, a 1982 36' Cape Dory. It's immaculate. Fill it with food and fuel and go. We're staying with the owners over the weekend so we can spend some time with them and with the boat. We're hoping to complete the deal over the 10 Jul weekend. We don't seem to spend much time shopping for anything and I assumed we'd do the same thing here. One weekend, two Marinas and BAM! Found our boat.
We've been sailing once and have signed up for sailing classes for the end of Jul.
I've read numerous articles, blogs and a couple of books and the Cape Dory 36 seems to pop up regularly as a trusted and seaworthy vessel.
Once the deal is done, I'll post pics and you guys can tell me how well or poorly I did.


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Old 02-07-2015, 05:54   #25
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Sounds good.
How old are the standing rigging, sails and engine?
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:21   #26
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

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So, you get the boat and you're in Pensacola or some coastal port. You sail the boat and learn, gain experience and take some courses too. Then, when you are comfortable with the techniques, mechanics and navigation you can head out for the Keys, Bahamas, Caribbean..... & on.

But, why steel?
I agree. The Florida pan handle is a great area to learn to sail in.

But. Steel is fine for construction for a sailboat. But, for every steel boat for sale, you will find a couple of hundred in fiberglass. Unless you plan on bouncing it off coral reefs somewhere, you probably will never use the strength factor that steel gives you over fiberglass.

When it comes to used boats, I like the old saying, "Steel rusts, wood rots, but fiberglass just waits for better times."
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Old 02-07-2015, 14:12   #27
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Good Luck and follow your dreams! I started watching this forum about a year ago and I was still dreaming. My family and I are leaving in 2 weeks from Galveston Bay headed to Key Largo for the first leg of our trip. We plan to be in the Caribbean after that for a few years. I am retired Army and it just made a whole lot of sense for us. We have a good travel blog that detailed out decision, preparations and we've reviewed a bunch of gear, if you are interested. Have fun living the dream.
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:20   #28
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

The engine has less than 1900 hrs and the sails and riggings have been replaced in 2003, some in 2013 and the owner is replacing additional items now. He has meticulous receipts for everything, so hopefully it's in true "sail away" condition. We'll be hot n heavy on it next weekend so should have a better idea on what still needs updating.



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Old 04-07-2015, 10:26   #29
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Group9 - we've forgone the steel hull requirements. After much additional reading, the maintenance requirements exceeded my expectations. Remembering my days "Busting Rust" on the USMC Amtracks gave me night sweats for a week.


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Old 04-07-2015, 10:40   #30
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Cap'n Hamic - checked out your blog and the Sea Sucker review. I look forward to reading more. Hopefully I'll be following in your wake soon.
We're currently reading "Sailing a Serious Ocean" by John Kretschmer and have followed his blogs, postings and reviews. His tendency to intentionally sail in heavy seas makes my adrenaline pump but scares the freckles off my wife. I think I'd like to take one of his heavy sea charters before I head across the deep blue. They ain't cheap though.


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