A few things happened this summer that have set myself and my wife on the path to investigating getting a cruising sailing vessel.
I sailed lasers and albacores in my youth, and occasionally found myself on a yacht out of Brockville and Ottawa Ontario
. Never enough time on a large boat to have any idea of what I was doing though. I last sailed a laser about 5 summers ago when the mast
hole failed.. Other than that I was probably last on a sailing boat 15 or more years ago.
Anyhow, I came into an Albacore and more importantly a boat trailer last fall for cheap
. The trailer then allowed me to go get my fatherís albacore which has been in indoor storage
for 15 years. So the plan was to make a frankenboat out of the two albacores, as one boat has hull
issues and the other has sails
with mouse holes. This is going well, and I expect to have an albacore on the water
in about 3 weeks.
While I was minding my own business, I found myself with (cancer) medical
issues and spent almost week in hospital in Belleville. So while recuperating from surgery, I find myself watching the boats in the bay from floor 6. Back home, I went from researching the albacore to reading up on larger boats in a day. After the hospital stay and weeks of thinking about life and death, watching all the boats, the whole idea of yachting just took off in my head
. Then after my last medical
appointment, my wife and I went to check out the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club. People were very nice there and gave us a quick tour and a few old sailing magazines.
The cancer has been nipped in the bud, but I am still recuperating from surgery, and I have a second surgery scheduled for later in the summer. So I am not in a position to do much sailing this year.
I am 49 years in a few weeks, and my wife is 46 in September. I am retired software
type with an engineering degree and she teaches school
. I absolutely canít stand computing any more and have not done any programming in about 12 years. I am fairly handy. Got my ham licence at age 14, but have not been on the air in 25 years. I will certainly have ham gear
on a yacht, that is a no brainer. I have a pretty nice workshop, mostly set up for wood working, but if I ever get it all going again, I also have a metal lathe and milling machine. I have done the odd glass fibre project
both with polyester and epoxy
. We are I suppose considered wealthy, but we donít live wealthy. We got some cash by spending way less than we earn, not by ever making much money
in our careers. So we could probably afford to throw 1/4 mil at this project
, but we wouldnít necessarily be comfortable doing so, just not our nature. So while not ruling it out, my nature says start by looking at doing this on the cheap
Oh, I am 6'4", so seeing all the head
room I read about in the 6 foot range doesnít make me happy. Just like when I bought my tractor, I may end up buying
a bigger boat than strictly wanted due to my size. Or maybe one can just learn to live with this issue. Any advice from taller readers?
So that is the back story. On to the dream part.
My wife has never sailed, but she likes being on the water
. She has always wanted to travel. I have never been keen to travel for many reasons: cost., ethical (burning hydrocarbons), no interest in going to places with big crowds of people. My idea of travel has been to go by bicycle. I cycled from Winnipeg to Vancouver the year I turned 19. I can see parallels between travel by bicycle and by yacht: kind of slow, solo, low impact, camping out type of experience. I think yachting can intersect both our positions. Most of the time, I can feel OK about my issues, and she gets to see places from time to time.
This is roughly how I see this playing out. First step is to do some serious book learning
. I ordered about a dozen cruising/sailing books
. I have subscribed to "Cruise World". I am hanging out here. Second step is to join the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club and finagle my way onto other peopleís boats as "crew" (more like dead weight for now given my lack of skills!). I donít see being able to do much sailing this year, if any, due to my health
issues, which wonít be completely dealt with until next year. Not sure if I should spend the $$$ on club membership
this year, or just wait til next year to join. Third step is to identify some used boat
candidates and wait for something to show up somewhere in the 1 to 3 years from now time frame. I wonder if a useful intermediate step would be to get a trailer sailer sized boat as an intermediate step to a final cruise
boat, or just crew until I feel competent on a larger boat. Another step might be to do one of those week long training courses somewhere with my wife.
As far as the ultimate boat goes, I donít have much of an idea yet. My reading thus far suggests the most choose something 35-45 feet for world cruising. My height also suggests heading larger rather than smaller. So does foot size for that matter, size 15 feet might not work well on some boats back and forth on the deck
. I am an engineer
as mentioned, so I value things that are good more than things that look good. I am all about the functionality, not the cosmetics. Quite likely Iíd like to get a boat at the larger end of the range the is fundamentally solid, but not pretty. Iíd be perfectly happy doing any sort of electrical
, non-engine mechanical work, glassing, and cabinet making wood working tasks required.
As far as destinations go, while my wife is still working, I could see cruising the great lakes
in the summer, or perhaps heading around Newfoundland
and home again. With some more experience, I suppose across the Atlantic to Great Britain and back in a summer would be possible. Once my wife retires, I could see heading to the Caribbean
for the winter, and eventually anything could be possible. I would not say that only warm weather
sailing would be on the agenda either, so boat choice should consider cold temperatures too.
That is about all I can think of for now. Any advice and tips graciously accepted, especially as to suggestions for boats to have on my radar