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Old 07-09-2010, 20:43   #1
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Can I Do this from Utah ?

So, took a fit recently and decided to get serious about long-time dreams/plans of serious cruising. The logistical problem is that I'm currently living in Utah (much to my surprise). When I think I can take some real time off (1-4 years) I can pretty much be anywhere, so it's not out of the question.

I have some background in sailing (raced in HS, grab a chance when I can, which is rare) but have been doing things like diving which are easier to pack into a weekend. Right now my plan is to take some classes, do a bunch of charters and validate that, yes, this is what I want to prep for. Maybe get something not too ridiculous and do a couple of decent trips (1-2 month) and if that goes well ramp up for RTW silliness.

I guess my open question is - how much of this can I realistically do with only a moderate lake nearby? If I'm gonna pick a base somewhere on the coast, it'll be a plane ride away and could be anywhere. Florida seems to have the most activity, but for cost/tax/community reasons I could see arguments for Seattle or smaller ports on the Gulf Coast. I have roots in New England, NYC too.

Anybody out there combining cruising with a landlocked life?
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Old 07-09-2010, 20:57   #2
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Quote:
I guess my open question is - how much of this can I realistically do with only a moderate lake nearby?
If you can have fun I would say you are doing it. There really are members here from Utah. If you sail where you can you can meet other sailors. You can organize a trip to the bigger waters too. People from FL snow ski so go figure. It's getting out on the water and while Utah isn't on the ocean there is salt water

Down the creek from me is a boat and the owners are in Colorado. It's a long trip to the boat for them. People do the long haul but you need to do it on terms that work for you. Smaller boats on smaller waters is still sailing to me.
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Old 07-09-2010, 21:00   #3
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Dulinor, the short answer is yes, you can become an experienced sailor while living and working in Utah.
I started sailing in New Mexico, and learned the ropes while racing J-24's on reservoirs. I sail the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake with my Compac 23- which is basically a small cruising yacht. Almost two years ago I took the plunge and bought a Valiant 40. She is berthed in Bellingham, Washington.
You can take sailing lessons locally, race locally and do everything but sail offshore. With the Great Salt Lake being 40 miles wide and having its own islands, you can do some serious passagemaking.
Now, if you are like me, the lure of the ocean is great. If you have the $$, I recommend beginning instruction in Texas and advanced in the Atlantic. But San Fran is only 500 miles away, and you can get serious sea-time there also.
Have Fun!
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Old 07-09-2010, 22:15   #4
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Welcome to CF and good luck with your dreams!

Sail, sail and sail... It becomes an addiction. I was landlocked for a long time. It wasn't easy and I didn't sail.

Now I sail and don't do anything else. My "traditional" friends are pissed because I am never available on weekend to go to motor races, diving, hiking etc.

I can't understand why they don't want to sail every weekend.

It's a tough road if you don't work at it every week.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:43   #5
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Yep, it sounds as if the sea is calling. Sail as much as you can. You'd be amazed how much experience you can get by lake sailing, it has most of the dynamics except for deep water and the isolation of offshore. The close quarters and funky winds shifts teaches great sail handling techniques.

Have you thought of buying a trailer sailor? some really nice small boats that could do offshore if you wanted or it could serve to get you familiar with sail trim, onboard equipment and gear. Small boats are fantastic for teaching the ins and outs of sailing. My first Boat was a Ranger 23, she sailed beautifully and taught me many lessons (reef early). It was a cheap investment of a few thousand dollars and 20 years later I still use the knowledge. Have fun, go for it, and see ya out there.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:40   #6
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I know a couple who live in Salt Lake and have a Dragonfly 35 about 50 miles from my place. We met them in the San Juans.
(we're on the "little" boat)
Isn't it amazing what 1 foot of beam and 2 feet of length can do?
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Old 08-09-2010, 13:28   #7
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Appreciate all the replies. What I'm really trying to get is the "big boat" experience. I feel pretty comfortable in dinghy-sized boats but have almost no experience when you add winches, motors, etc. Hence the desire to get a couple of charters under my belt. (I just don't know how long I'm going to be in Utah. Very job-dependent.)

The trailer sailor is an interesting angle - it's not really what I want to be doing long-term, but could be a way to "hit the water running" when the time is right. I hate to make a big investment with the idea of flipping to a "real" bluewater boat within 2 years. Inventory of local boats is somewhat limited.

Best place to research the options there is the monohull forum I suppose? I suppose I'd have to get a land vehicle I could put a trailer hitch on it, I think I'm the last guy in Utah without one. Looking into boats with no context feels like learning about wine. You learn a few names, then look
somewhere else and it's a whole new crop...
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Old 08-09-2010, 15:23   #8
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I am in a similar situation, landlocked in Kentucky. I also want to do serious ocean cruising in a few years. So far, I have a four-pronged approach that has worked well. 1. Joined the local chapeter of the Sail and Power Squadron and took as many classes as I could. So far I have taken Seamanship, Piloting and Advanced Piloting. These are inexpensive, but serious classroom-only classes with real graded exams, and they are widely recognized. 2. Joined the ASA and took ASA 101 (basic keelboat) and 103 (coastal cruising) on a local Kentucky lake. I really didn't need it, because I had done a lot of day sailing, but I found it to be a good refresher on some things I had forgotten about. 3. Volunteer as crew for someone. Scanning the Crew Wanted thread on this forum, I found one of the members (Imagine2frolic) who needed help delivering his 47' cat from Miami to Jacksonville, a non-stop 300 mile trip out in the Gulf Stream. I flew into Miami, met John on his boat, and flew home from Jacksonville 4 days later. It was fantastic: I got big boat experience, a little diesel engine repair experience, night sailing and keeping watch, and just plain awesome sailing. 4. With 1,2 and 3 under my belt, I felt I was ready to do a bareboat charter. I had a work related trip to St Martin, so I extended the trip and chartered a Jeanneau 36 for a week. My credentials were readily accepted, and, more importantly, I felt I had the knowledge to safely sail a bareboat. The charter was fantastic and I'm going back to do it again in Nov.

Finally, keep reading and participating in CF. There is a gold mine of information here that will help you realize your dream.
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Old 08-09-2010, 22:25   #9
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Originally Posted by Dulinor View Post
Looking into boats with no context feels like learning about wine. You learn a few names, then look
somewhere else and it's a whole new crop...
I am a peasant. My take is to just keep drinking different wines until I find a few I like.

Same with boats...

I bought my starter boat for $10,000. It's scary that in 4 years I have spent $20,000 in total costs.

In theory I could have $30k in the bank towards the "big" boat. But I wouldn't have roughly 3,000 hours of sailing time under my belt either.

In the big scheme of things a starter boat makes a lot of sense for me. I am predicting I get my $10k back at some point.
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Old 21-09-2010, 13:32   #10
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Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here and I see you've gotten lots of comments already.
kind regards,
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