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Old 25-07-2010, 15:57   #1
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Better Late Than Never

Hello Cruisers,

Almost 15 years ago I took my one and only sailing trip on a Morgan 41' up the Indian River from Cocoa Beach to St. Augustine, Florida and back. It was a memorable trip for several reasons, but the one that stayed with me over the years was the complete feeling of freedom that sailing allowed. Halfway through the trip the halyard broke and the captain hoisted me up the main sail to restring the thing (I'm sure there's a more technical term for it), but there I was I don't know how many feet above the water, dangling on a 4" board with a nylon rope in one hand, my other arm and both legs literally wrapped around the mast. The boat was rocking back and forth and I was hanging out over the water about half the time. It was the other half that scared the #*!@ out of me. I got the job done and the captain lowered me to the deck, safe and sound. Later that evening, we anchored in the river in Daytona Beach, laughed about the day's adventure, drank wine and watched the manatee swim around the boat. It was a little slice of heaven.

Fast-forward to 14 years later and the consideration of buying my first sailboat at 50+ years old. Well, my wife thinks I'm crazy (she's never been sailing), but I find myself visiting websites in the middle of the night and looking for that boat of my very own. I live six blocks from Lake Michigan, half an hour north of Chicago, and when I go to the beach I see the boats out on the water and think, "That could be me... I could leave the office early and set sail... plan a northerly weekend... or just open a bottle of wine with my wife and watch the sun set..." Everyone I share my dream with tells me I'm crazy, that buying a boat is a money pit, and I'm aware of the hidden costs, the maintenance, docking fees, etc. I don't know what kind of boat I would buy or how big it should be, and I will certainly need an extensive refresher course on sailing.

But here I am for the very first time visiting this forum and I don't know, I'm either looking for guidance or for someone to talk me out of it. That big blue lake sure looks inviting though, and I'm starting to feel like an addict who needs a fix. What to do? What to do? Thanks for listening and any advice you might offer this suffering once upon a time sailor.


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Old 25-07-2010, 16:12   #2
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Boat: Sundeer 64' ketch
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Hey Windstorm, I had your 'disease' in my early forties. I started with a lake and a 22' Catalina on a trailer. You have to go for it. Lake Michigan could be pretty daunting. I, too, had to get the wife into it. I started myself and then introduced her to it on the lake after I knew a few things. It is now about 25 years later and I am still learning things. But, my wife and I have cruised over 12,000 miles now, 8,000 in Europe. We are not retired, but still are working. With the wife you've got to consider safety and risk. I know a pilot who told me he never takes his wife when the weather's up. Same with a boat. One bad trip can take her out of it. You're not crazy. I would only tell you to consider what comforts are necessary for your age, location, etc. For instance, a cover (pilot house, wheel house, bimini top, etc.) is necessary in your neck of the woods. If it's pouring down and your 20, that's cool, if you're over fifty, you want to be dry and warm and be able to drink your coffee. You need a stout boat so that when you do get into the weather, you're have confidence in the boat. There are thousands of books about this as you know. Those of us who have done it have plenty of advice- all based on our own personal experiences. If I were you, I would start with a Power Squadron Course to learn the rules of the road and safety skills. I would try to charter several boats and change it up. I would make a list of what I liked and disliked about them. If there is a cruising group, latch on and learn. We were able to secure a part-time out of town membership to a great Yacht Club in Houston, Texas when we had a Morgan 46' ketch. By joining we got a sweet dock deal, met a lot of people like us and went on weekend sailing adventures every chance we got. We lived 180 miles away and it was the closest water beyond the lake we started on with the Catalina. Other cruisers are naturally helpful. They also make the wife feel a real part of the action. Before you know it they're planning the meals, etc. Then when you're 55 +, you have some basic experience and know if it's in the plan to do more in different venues. As you can tell from this mail, I can talk and talk and talk. No doubt, others on this forum will have comments.
Remember: life boils down to solids, liquids, and gases.

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Old 25-07-2010, 16:28   #3
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Thanks, Nibiruwayne for the sound advice. A Power Squadron Course would certainly be in order. One thing I recall about the Morgan I sailed on, it was one sturdy boat, a thicker hull and heavier than most I believe. It wasn't the fastest, but we weren't in much of a hurry on that trip. Again, thanks. I need a bit more knowledge before convincing the wife (and myself) that owning a boat is a real possibility.
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Old 27-07-2010, 22:33   #4
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Aloha and welcome aboard!

Once you're bitten with that bug its hard to shake free of the affliction.

kind regards,
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Old 27-07-2010, 22:50   #5
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Location: hailing port: Pensacola, now Fort Myers
Boat: Prout Snowgoose 37'
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Definitely worth it! And you have received good advice already. My husband and I did a Caribbean voyage in our 30s, and now we are going again - we will be moving aboard and cruising for 3 years, so we are getting a 37' sloop catamaran. More space, less heel, but it doesn't "feel like sailing" to those who grew up racing with one rail in the water :-)
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Old 28-07-2010, 00:12   #6
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[QUOTE=Windstorm1;491263] "That could be me... I could leave the office early and set sail... plan a northerly weekend... or just open a bottle of wine with my wife and watch the sun set..............." Everyone I share my dream with tells me I'm crazy/QUOTE]

Except us! - because we're doing it.

I live 10 minutes from work and my boat is moored half way between work and home. I do exactly what you dream of doing. I often go for a 2 hour sail after work. Far from being crazy, I think it keeps me sane. Welcome to the forum.


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