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Old 10-05-2015, 14:45   #1
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50 and Ready To Shove Off

We're a couple of working class individuals with No sailing experience what so ever but we're planning on shoving off from the mainland in a few years so we can spend as much time as we can on the water, island hopping and sailing the world once our experience level increases before we get too old for this adventure. The allure and romance of this dream has me wanting to go tomorrow and my wife anxious but excited. I'm more inclined to learn as I go. My wife on the other hand will study diligently, go to school and research everything until she's satisfied that she's made a good decision. Together I suppose we should make a good team. We've been together for 29 years so hopefully this will only make us stronger and not result in us trying to drown each other.
We're hoping to find a steel hull, 35' - 45' in reasonable shape for under $40k. We'll be in Pensacola in June to start our physical boat search and will continue our daily scouring of the Yachtworld postings hoping to find that perfect boat.
I have no illusions that we're in for some trying times, but WTHeck, I'd rather have some fantastic memories trying to satisfy a dream rather than a bunch of regrets wondering what if.
So, my wife thinks I should go to sailing school. I'm more inclined to buy a boat and hire someone to teach me. I'm afraid of spending the next 20 years getting ready and planning to go but never actually doing it.
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Old 10-05-2015, 15:18   #2
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Hey Sgt. Pitt. Looks like your first post..I am only on 9 and this will be #10. I am 53, and have some sailing experience but nothing like the old salts here. I'd say wait on the boat buying and get sail time. Go thru the ASA courses so you and wife can bareboat. My next goal is to get on as a crew for an offshore passage of a week or so. This and boat shopping at boat shows are my two last steps before buying the boat. Oh yeah, Make sure the Admiral fits into the plan, some how some way. Good luck
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Old 10-05-2015, 15:45   #3
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

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Originally Posted by SSgtPitt View Post
...........................
.................................... I'm afraid of spending the next 20 years getting ready and planning to go but never actually doing it.
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, mechancs and navigation you can head out for the Keys, Bahamas, Caribbean..... & on.

But, why steel?
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:42   #4
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Thanks for the replies. As far as steel hulls go, there have been several blogs, posts, articles about how steel hulls will take a pretty heavy impact and deform but won't crack. A fiberglass hull would not have faired so well. Not that I'm against the composite hulls, seeing as how I've got SOOoo much experience and all, but I think if presented a choice on like boats, I'd go with the steel one.
I also think I'd like to get the boat, live and learn on the water and then head out to the great blue. If I stay on land and learn everything first, the next thing will come along and distract me; an addition to the house, a landscape project, buy some land and build a house, who knows.
I'm itchy for the freedom of being able to yank the anchor and go with the wind, wherever it takes me, play Castaway on a few remote islands, get a tan on my WHOLE body, catch my dinner and lunch.....all those things that drew everyone else to this lifestyle. Even if it lasts only a few years.
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Old 11-05-2015, 06:45   #5
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Sarge, a book on how to sail is like a book on how to make babies.


It doesn't quite give you an adequate preparation for the real experience.


Go to sailing school. And not with the wife, but separately.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:03   #6
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

I started down the path to sailing cruising 10 years ago having never sailed. So my my advice is:

Don't start your sailing adventure planning by worrying about scary stuff like crashing. Making your first boat decision based on crashing is not going to help you at all.

Other than understanding the costs involved to some degree; the only thing you and your wife should currently be thinking about and working on is to .................. go sailing.

Yeah is sounds simple. But until you have you are just wasting your time. Go take some sailing classes etc, then join a club or buy a little "throw away" boat. Then after you have a basic feel on whether it is for you move into your long term cruising planning (like whether you need a steel boat).

BTW - My wife and I had never sailed. Took ASA courses on a 36' to bareboat. Joined a sail club and sailed 33' boats on the weekends for 3 months. Then got a 39' foot, which we of course fairly quickly knewn was not "the boat" for us. Sailed it for 2 years and moved up to our current boat that we are on year 5 with. So I understand where you are coming from.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:07   #7
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

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Originally Posted by SSgtPitt View Post
I'm itchy for the freedom of being able to yank the anchor and go with the wind, wherever it takes me, play Castaway on a few remote islands, get a tan on my WHOLE body, catch my dinner and lunch.....all those things that drew everyone else to this lifestyle. Even if it lasts only a few years.
Not to break your bubble (I'm all for you doing it), but you are setting yourself up for some disappointment.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:40   #8
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

I think that you would be "setting yourself up for a disappoinment" if you beieved it's all freedom, beautiful sailing, fresh fish for dinner, and sundowners in the hammock, but I assume that you know better.

There's a lot of hard work and not all the amenities & comfort in a typical land house; however, the things you mention do happen. You also get a reward with the independance and self-reliance that comes with your work.

There was a suggestion that you and your wife take the sailing courses separately. I won't say this is bad advice, but you know your relationship skills. We took our preliminary instruction together without concern or any negative outcome. Communication and relationship skills are increased with cruising by my experience. Of course, we take our roles very seriously and equally. We have resolved that the "captain" is the person who is at the helm when a quick decission must be made.

There are other concerns about the choice of hull material than collision. Steel has merit, but there are other concerns with care and maintenance. Also, if you commit to steel you cut the available market for purchase by a huge amount.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:48   #9
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Buy some "space bags" and waterproof storage bags, kayaker style. Stash some dry cloths and good food. I don't think the books will mention how much those can help ona bad day.(G)
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Old 11-05-2015, 21:07   #10
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

You guys are great and I truly appreciate all the direct contact info. I know the white sands, deserted islands, drinking Mai Tais and eating the fresh lobsters we catch every day are only a dream, but you gotta dream. I know it'll be hard work, more hard work than leisure time I expect. Without the Darkness, you can't appreciate the Light. I'm really hoping there's a lot more light than darkness.
Being a U.S. Marine, i have a good sense of reality and am looking forward to the challenges this new venture will offer. I know I will need classes, real classes. When the electronics and gadgets are out, you better be able to look at the stars and figure out where you are and which way to go.....and how to get there. Even with all the classes and certifications though, nothing trumps experience.....ever. So I'm learning from all of you and hopefully will be able to give back to the community at some point.
This will be our greatest adventure so far.
If anyone is available to give us some boat time for a day or two in Pensacola during the week of 22 - 26 June 2015 you'd be contributing to our new adventure. We can cover expenses. Also, we live in Colorado Springs have a couple of Harley's and can reciprocate in kind....just in case you need need some white knuckle mountain riding to balance the white knuckle wave riding.
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Old 11-05-2015, 21:16   #11
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

That was great, made us laugh. Thanks for your input, it's much appreciated.
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Old 11-05-2015, 23:28   #12
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

Don't limit yourself to steel boats. Definitely include fiberglass (or even carbon fiber) hulls in your list. Steel does have some advantages, but also some disadvantages in terms of amount of upkeep necessary. Ability to survive an impact is, in my opinion, a lousy reason for buying a particular boat (and I'm not convinced steel is necessarily any better than modern composite). Better to invest in the boat that you like from a comfort / sail-ability point of view and learn not to drive it into things!

N.B. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy a steel boat - there are plenty of good ones, but just that you shouldn't discount other materials
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:07   #13
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

@ SSgtPitt : If I were you, I'd start by buying a small (21-25ft) trailerable keelboat and sailing her for a couple of seasons in protected waters. You can get a serviceable boat like this for well under 5 grand, and if you buy a whatever design is popular in your locale, it won't be hard to sell for about same money shen you are ready to graduate to a real cruiser.
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:54   #14
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

I can only tell you what worked for us. We are currently full time cruisers and have been out 8 years now. No land based dwelling, just a boat full time. I am 69 and the admiral is 67. How did we get here???
At Christmas 2000 we went to Houston and took an ASA sailing course on a lark. We liked it and the people so much that the following year we took two more ASA courses and then charted a couple of times and in 2003 we bought our first and only boat, a new Jeanneau DS40. We did a lot of reading and went to a lot of boat shows and boat yards and had an incredible broker help us.
We moved to Miami and sailed almost every weekend and kinda learned to sail. I lost my job at age 60 and did a bit of consulting and at age 62 took retirement and headed up the east coast of the USA. Then over to the Bahamas and island hopped a bit then back up the east coast of the USA to Maine and back to the Bahamas and hit almost all of it before returning to the Cheaspeake Bay for some boat improvements and set off for Mexico and down to Colombia. From there we sailed across the Caribbean to Jamaica and island hopped down to Trinidad and then back up to Antigua.
From Antigua we did a 2 person crossing of the Atlantic and now are beginning our 3rd year in the Med.
Remember in 2000 we did not know what a sailboat was. Our only boat is our beloved SoulMates - a 40" boat. But we did our homework and had a great broker who taught us and helped us decide on what boat we wanted and needed and our goal by the way was to sail to the Bahamas and return safely; that was all. When we headed to Mexico our goal was to get to the Bay Islands and back and not sink the boat. Well we got to the Bay Islands and kept going south.
We are proof that you can do it and do not listen to the arm chair folks here that you must start small and go big. Nonsense. The other thing we do that most do not is we are weather nerds. If the wx does not meet our expectations we do not go and I check as many as 4 or more weather models when I can. For us weather is first and second and everything else is after that.
Oh and we are not great sailors as we have met a lot of sailors along the way who can sail circles around us. Our difference is we do not talk about going someplace we do and do it under sail. People critize us for how we sail but they can not get beyond a small defined area yea they can out sail us and our response is whoopee. Of course we do ask them when they did a 2 person Atlantic crossing or begin to quiz them on where they have been ect and soon they walk off.
Take your time and find a broker to deal with and one step at a time. Good Luck
chuck patty and svsoulmates
sitting port yasmine hammamet for the winter hope to be outbound soon.
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:24   #15
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Re: 50 and Ready To Shove Off

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I can only tell you what worked for us.
Take that crusty old sailors on crusty old boats reading crusty old books
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