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Old 02-05-2015, 08:02   #1
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Born in the desert, die on the ocean

Howdy folks,

Like my title suggests I was born in the desert of South Texas. I am 31 years old and I have never set foot on a sailboat of any kind. Yet, I dream about it every day.

It began as a cliche as old as the movie itself. Captain Ron. I am sure y'all have heard it before. But that isn't what caused sailing to enter my mind like that first dose of heroin.

No, what haunts my dreams is my first encounter with truly powerful forces outside of human control. My wife, father, and cousin borrowed a flat bottom center console bay boat (no idea, I'm a desert guy remember?) from my uncles friend and we start cruising up the Aransas Pass channel looking for places to fish for redfish and trout.

My cousin, who lives near the ocean, claims the best fishing is located near the beach. We end up heading towards the point where the channel opens up in the actual ocean. As we pass the dead hammerhead sharks washed up on the jetty rocks I notice the the choke point leading the ocean looks.......well ...... I can't describe it. It was as if the whole ocean was being forced through this opening. My father is driving this boat and we are way outside of our element. My cousin has gone silent and my dad continues to creep towards this slaughterhouse of water in this flat no side mfing nothing of a boat. My little desert brain is starting feel things at this point.

A huge wave the likes of which I only dreamed in nightmares washes over the front of our boat. My wife and I are sitting in front of the console on this little bench. Did I mention this weird boat has no sides? Well I was fully submerged in the ocean for what felt like an eternity. When we finally broke the surface I just yelled that we need to either haul ass through or turn around because sitting here in the middle scared stiff is not looking promising.

We turned around and caught many fish, safely in the shallows for the rest of the day.

The ocean and I will meet again one day on equal footing and for the first time in my life I feel challenged on a level I never knew existed.

Sailing is in my blood, I can feel it.

Sorry for the wall of text but I had to get that off my chest! Thanks for reading folks.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:36   #2
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

Howdy and Welcome Aboard the Forum TTex!

You are a good writer, and I enjoyed reading your good introduction to "green water" (the ocean water that comes over the bow or side of a boat in the ocean).

For someone who has never sailed before but wants to become a sailor (and possibly buy a boat), I suggest the following:

1. Read everything you can about sailing and boats. Learn what the major parts of boats and sails are called before you go sailing the first time. It will help if you understand some of the commonly used sailing terms as their use is important to understanding what a boat's skipper wants his crew to do. In the beginning, I suggest you try to learn about 30 or more terms like "bow, stern, port, starboard, clew, hatch, head, etc."

2. Watch free videos on Youtube related to sailing and cruising. If you have Amazondotcom's Prime membership, you can also find free videos about sailing there too.

3. Take some formal sailing lessons with an experienced and qualified instructor. I recommend a formal course taught by an ASA Certified sailing instructor, if you have the money to do that. If not, look for a local sailor to take you out, but the level, depth, and quality of instruction may be much less in the more informal path.

4. Offer to "crew" for some local sailors. This can be a free way to get some time on a variety of boats and will show you how different sailors do things. It will not be the same as "lessons" though, so don't expect to learn as much as quickly or as well. You might pick up some things each time you crew, but a formal class where you get hands on instruction on a boat is a much better way to learn and gain confidence sailing, IMHO.

Good luck on your sailing adventures and have fun!

Steady
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:49   #3
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

Welcome to the forum ttex. Good story, one thing you need to bear in mind. You are never on equal footing with Mother Ocean, she rules all, you live or die at her whim. Surrender yourself to that and if you are lucky you may live a long time on her back. Clearly there are some vessels that are better suited than others to dealing with her temper. Best of luck. For the record, it would be cheaper and safer to become a heroin junky in Amsterdam.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:54   #4
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

Thank you sir, much appreciated.

I feel I have an advantage when it comes to sailboats but I have always wanted to ask actual sailors what they thought about the matter.

I own a small swimming pool repair company. I have been working on and repairing fiber glass shelled pools my entire life. It feels like a swimming pool with the electrical and plumbing would be somewhat like an inside out sailboat with the guts buried and strewn across a yard.

If I have extensive experience repairing fiberglass meant to hold the pressure of water inside a shell would this translate to repairing fiberglass on a shell mean to keep the water pressure out?

Thanks again for taking the time to reply to me. I would imagine this forum gets a lot of excited non sailors with a dream.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:56   #5
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
You are never on equal footing with Mother Ocean, she rules all, you live or die at her whim. Surrender yourself to that and if you are lucky you may live a long time on her back.
I like that. From what I saw I don't doubt it and I bet what I saw was actually not much.
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:08   #6
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

I have no doubt that your fiberglass experience will translate well, though I am unfamiliar with the types of resin used for swimming pools. You are right, now the pressure is external trying to come in. The whole trick of it, is keeping more water outside the boat, than you let in.
Regarding what you saw, it could well have cost you and your family your lives, but you survived it, and you are smart enough to know you need better odds when dealing with those forces. You will do well.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:26   #7
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

I suppose I can ask this here so I don't have to start a new thread.

This Hobie Cat. Would it be a good idea to snag it and learn on the lake with it? The money isn't really an issue. Wasted more on less.

You can't see the sails but just from what can be seen any obvious issue?

Thanks a ton for the help, folks.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:46   #8
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

Small boats are the best for learning. They react quickly to your actions and this immediate feedback will serve you well. Many people have done well with these Hobie Cats. Welcome to the forum and keep us posted of your adventures!
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:05   #9
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

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Originally Posted by ttex View Post
I suppose I can ask this here so I don't have to start a new thread.

This Hobie Cat. Would it be a good idea to snag it and learn on the lake with it? The money isn't really an issue. Wasted more on less.

You can't see the sails but just from what can be seen any obvious issue?

Thanks a ton for the help, folks.
Small catamarans like that can be a LOT of fun in protected waters (where there are no big waves) such as lakes and coastal bays and on ocean beach sailing too.

I had a lot of fun cat sailing (on a Prindle 18) on a large Texas lake (Lake Travis) and getting up and hanging out on a trapeze with a catamaran up on one hull (one out of the water) is hard to beat for pure high speed fun and thrills. I remember we blasted by many other small boats (monos) that were much slower in comparison that day. We were FLYING!

Which is why if you buy this as your first boat, you are likely to become a "cat man" as a sailor and may be spoiled for life!

That size is good for two adults or teens.

Monohull sailing is a different feeling and experience. You can do either or both.

There are a lot of similar trailer cats out there. Do not jump on the first one you see. Go look at more and pick the best (condition). They are usually available and some may be old, very old, with worn out gear that all needs replacing, making them more expensive than the ad in the paper. It may be much better buy to look for one that is not "old and neglected" and instead look for one that has been actively sailed and has had an owner who kept updating the rigging, sails, hardware, etc. In other words, I would rather spend $1,200 on a "ready to go updated" unit instead of sailing one with old tired sails and rigging.

If you are serious about a "beach cat" then you should ask around and also look at the various sailing forums that are focused on beach or trailerable cats.

Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:11   #10
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

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I had a lot of fun cat sailing (on a Prindle 18) on a large Texas lake (Lake Travis) and getting up and hanging out on a trapeze with a catamaran up on one hull
I can already see the fisherman's faces. Hope my wife doesn't fall off! Bwahaha
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:13   #11
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

As far as mono-hull vs a catamaran, Captain Ron vs Waterworld. Tough choices.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:16   #12
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

TTex,

Since you are in Texas, there is a sailing website you should really see and spend some time reading. It has LOTS of information about Texas sailing, LOTS of information you can learn from, and LOTS of ads for used small sailboats that are for sale (not all are in Texas).

Start with the home page and look at the linked info carefully.
Sailboats for sale from Sailing Texas, buy or sell your sailboat, free sailboat ads.

Then you can browse the used boats for sale section.
Sailboats for sale from Sailing Texas, Sailboat Classifieds, sailboat for sale by owner
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:56   #13
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Re: Born in the desert, die on the ocean

Howdy ttex,

I grew up in the desert of West Texas, and like you, knew nothing about boats, sailing, oceans, etc. My older brother had a little ski/fishing boat that we got to go on the little lake outside of town every few years.

My first experience on a sailboat was a disaster. A little rental in Biscayne bay where I got marooned (with my new date) on a sand bar far away from the rental dock. They had to tow us back after we were missing too long.

And then I took a few weeks of lessons but was still pretty intimidated by the whole thing - even steering under power - and I remained that way up until about three years after I got a 42' heavy sailboat in Washington state.

Never dreamt this Texas boy would end up loving oceans and sailing but we managed to get to Mexico and across the South Pacific where we sold the boat after 15,000nm. (nm: nautical miles - 6000' miles - lots of lingo to get through but don't sweat that).

One of the single best things that I (along with my wife) have ever done. We now have another boat and getting her ready for more cruising. Take it a step at a time. If you aren't intimidated, and you don't make mistakes, then you are doing something wrong. Just try to keep the mistakes from being fatal with the least property damage possible. You'll get freaked out a few times and wonder what the hell you did this for. But you might just find that you love it and keep at it. Caution though: depending on how big your dreams are, you may tear a Texas size hole out of your wallet.

Have fun.
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