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Old 27-01-2008, 01:26   #1
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Greetings from Baghdad

Hi all,
P here (the guy half of P and T)!

Background - yep you read the title correctly. I am sending this from Baghdad, Iraq where I have spent the last 10 months assisting in the reconstruction of this country's infrastructure. Please understand that I have no, zero, zip, nada desire to discuss the politics of who, what, where, and why I am here. I simply share the fact that I am here, because it adds context to some of the questions I will ask (until I get back home!)

Questions - I have tons of them! I don't own a boat yet, but plan to purchase one in within the next 12-18 months. I don't have any (recent) sailing experience, but sailed Lasers in college. I have lots of time on watch on the bridge of ship, so I am familiar with rules of the road, etc.
T and I are the proud parents of one teen and one soon to be teen and call San Diego home.

Why - I am rapidly approaching Freedom! I have served for almost 18 years, and frankly its time to do something else. T and I have lived in Oregon, California, Hawaii, Japan, Washington DC, and absolutely love the adventure of travel, diversity, and exposure to other ideas. We are both completely tired of the consumption lifestyle, and would much rather consume sunsets, laughter, fresh air, and a frosty beverage now and again.

What - I'm looking for mentorship, advice, lessons learned, encouragement, camaraderie, a good laugh, voices of reason when when the fear monkey jumps on my back, and to minimize needless mistakes - some mistakes are valuable!

We are looking to Free ourselves from the herd - to ultimately live aboard and go cruising. Circumnavigation is not a goal but if it happens - we wont be upset by it. We realize that we don't know, what we don't know yet - but are excited about the journey.

Expect the best,
P
Not boat yet, but still cruising
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Old 27-01-2008, 01:48   #2
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Welcome aboard or as they would say it where we both are ( a few countries east and south from you but not war torn.) Assalam. I have been in the middle east for a year and a half. Have a good coastal cruiser moored in the south end of Vancouver Island. Live for the two months off in the summer which I spend on the boat, for now. One and a half more years and I will be full time cruising. I like the PNW as a play ground. Lots to see. Good luck, sounds like a plan.
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Old 27-01-2008, 01:54   #3
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Welcome. I know there is a hell of a lot of sand there, but I assume the sea is not so close??
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Old 27-01-2008, 04:08   #4
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Welcome and good luck with realizing your cruising dream. This is a friendly apolitical site where we help and learn from each other so fire away with your questions… odds are many of the answers will educate us all.
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Old 27-01-2008, 05:27   #5
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Lancer - thanks for the welcome. Hopefully the winter weather here has been kind. It snowed here in Baghdad a week or so ago! Looks like we are on about the same time schedule to full-time. Good luck to you as well
Alan - there is no Sea that I can see from where I am (pun intended).
Pelagic - That is comforting to hear. I would much rather spend time talking about my passion for adventure and exploration - than rehashing the ongoing debate.
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Old 27-01-2008, 07:01   #6
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Welcome P %T,
This is a great place to learn, get advive and opinions on cruising and boats.
Thanks for serving my country.

Paul
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Old 27-01-2008, 08:57   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P&T View Post
Hi all,
P here (the guy half of P and T)!

We are looking to Free ourselves from the herd - to ultimately live aboard and go cruising. Circumnavigation is not a goal but if it happens - we wont be upset by it. We realize that we don't know, what we don't know yet - but are excited about the journey.

Expect the best,
P
Not boat yet, but still cruising
Great to hear that you are getting ready to make your declaration of independence and go cruising. I worked in Saudi Arabia for eleven years saving up my Freedom Chips before I went on my circumnavigation on a catamaran. I did sand cruising for a long time before I went ocean crusing. I learned all my celestial navigation out in the desert using a bubble sextant.

We set out with two teenage young people, and they had a great time - I can't imagine a better place for you to take your teenagers for an awesome adventure. No cell phones and no peer group to drive the teens crazy.

Now is the time to start making your plans to get underway. You don't need a perfect boat, and you already have a spirit of adventure - so you have exactly what you need to sail the seven seas.

Good luck on your new life.
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Old 27-01-2008, 09:03   #8
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Hi P&T
Used to sail on lake Habania ( probably spelt wrong) Was there during the Iraq/ Iran problem.

Great place

Steve
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Old 27-01-2008, 10:12   #9
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Hi P (and T) and welcome to the forum. There are numerous threads that debate the pros and cons of catamarans versus monohulls and which disucss the relative merits of various specific boats for varying needs and budgets. You will also find numerous helpful threads on potential destinations, gear, maintenance - really, you name it.

Understand too that you have come to the right place for some reassurance as well as some advice: while many of your friends and family may consider your dream to be unrealistic, many on this site are already living that dream and many of the rest are taking real steps in the same direction. It is not merely a dream- it is a worthy and yes, achievable goal. Good luck!

Brad and Jane
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Old 27-01-2008, 10:58   #10
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Welcome P & T!! We that volunteer here on THIS site try very hard to ensure that you will find exactly what you what to know without the extraneous BS that can so often clog a site down.

You have many things going for you - some already mentioned. Some not so obvious (or so obvious they don't get mentioned) items working for you are your home port (SD) and that you'll retire from the Navy soon. Retirement will enable you to take advantage of some of the facilities the military offers that are available only to active duty or retirees. San Diego will enable you to sample some of the best cruising boats on the West Coast.

As SD is the natural jumping off point to points South, you'll find multiple choices for gear, rigging, equipment, supplies and plenty of local knowledgeable folk to assist you (in addition to the great knowledge on this site).

Your self-indicated limited recent sailing experience is really not a limitation. Your attitude and focus will quickly overcome that. To gain experience with different boats and enable you to better identify what you and your family will want, I would suggest you join the Navy Yacht Club San Diego (Navy Yacht Club San Diego). In addition to the obvious, this will also provide reciprocals at other YCs for further diversification. Even while you are overseas, your wife and kids can participate in different sailing activities.

Fair Winds!!

(USN 72-80)
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Old 27-01-2008, 11:14   #11
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Thumbs up P&T Welcome aboard!

Another ex-swab here, obviously.

That's one of the first things I did after getting out, buying a sailboat in Sandy Eggo. And I've been messing around on boats every since. I guess it's in my blood line.

Hope the best to you for the rest of your tour, and you've come to the right place for prep & info.

Enjoy .................................._/)
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Old 27-01-2008, 23:50   #12
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Morgan Paul - You are welcome! The support really does mean a lot. It is easy to forget that there are faces behind the numbers of deployed folks like me, and many many more faces at home - where some of the most difficult challenges are encountered.

Jackstee - No worries on the spelling, the Iraqis spell it multiple ways! I haven't been to Habaniyah, but have been to most other parts of the country. What is really amazing is the varied terrain and climates you experience as you travel this country. This is only the second time in my life where I have "lived" more than 20 miles from an ocean, and I must admit that I have not become a dessert-rat yet. I did have an opportunity to go off-roading in Qatar last September and enjoyed it.

Dave - big confession to make. I have read ALL of your logs on maxingout, and have started reading the logs of your crew. Your positive attitude is contagious and inspiring, your photos breathtaking, and your stories engaging. While I am certainly not prepared to take on an 11 year, 33,000 NM journey today, I am thankful that there are guys out there like you that have done it and are willing to share the experience with others.

Elusive - hello shipmate! T has already contacted the Navy Yacht Club San Diego and will begin lessons there in March! We sailed out of there with friends in the early 90's and I really enjoyed it (T was pregnant with our oldest so her feelings were not as positive). We will be using the club as the center of knowledge for sometime and hope to meet and crew with other members to get some time on the water. As I said earlier, we really don't know, what we don't know yet and really desire a positive (and affordable) environment to learn - we also know about the reciprocity with a club across the bay ;-)

delmarrey - hello shipmate! Nice to meet another San Dog sailor. I went through boot camp, and follow-on training here(there) in the late 80's and absolutely feel in love with the place. T and I have lived there off and on for most of the last 15 years. We love the place but honestly the city is full, and many of the costs are not in-line with reality or salaries. It is my expectation that over the course of a few years I will transition from the complete knowledge sponge that I am today into a contributor (and have a few laughs along the way).

All - first story to share. After reading many, many threads on the site I emailed a post to T on the merits of starting with a small "disposable" boat and graduating as your knowledge and experience increase. Sounds innocuous doesn't it - well that email turned into a 30 min "debate." I find the depth and breadth of my wife's memory absolutely astonishing. She "reminded" me of a triathlon bike I bought 15 years ago (that I still ride), and the time I spent researching log homes (I think they are beautiful). She was not willing to see her hard earned dollars washed away with the tides! We WILL start small, and in her mind small is $20K! I countered with safety , reliability, and unforgiving nature of the sea. Needless to say, OUR plan will be incremental! Being the smart Captain that I am, and recognizing the right answer when presented - I agreed! T will set the pace of the transition. I am a believer that you "begin with the end in mind," and I am planning on sending the Admiral out on a fact finding trip. Either to the Sea of Cortez, or the Carib to see and experience the dream firsthand. Any recommendations? Pros and cons of either location?
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Old 28-01-2008, 01:33   #13
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Aloha Both P & T,
Welcome aboard and thanks for serving!! There are a couple of Kettenbergs for sale there in San Diego right now that would meet your needs in your price range. I know you aren't ready but hopefully you'll look at lots of different boats and run them up our forum flagpole for forum comment.
Spent 29 years and a few months in the Navy myself and a fair amount in San Diego and even taught sailing at their facility on the strand South of Coronado. That was in the old days (70s).
I spent some time in the places you mentioned living as well as a few other places unmentionable. Retired from Pearl Harbor in 91 and settled here on the Big Island just down the hill from KMC toward Hilo.
Again, welcome and hope you can fulfill your dreams.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 28-01-2008, 02:56   #14
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Hi,
Can I add my welcome to the list?
Its great to read of your plans and I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing you all the best. Just be sure to keep us all posted on your progress and as the others have said, do not be shy to ask away when the need arises.
Cheers
JOHN
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Old 28-01-2008, 05:16   #15
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When a couple first start planning their cruising life there is always that natural imbalance of desire, self confidence and comfort level between the two of them, about their abilities to sail and the fear factor of an unknown. Pushing too hard has ruined many a person’s first impression of sailing.

Your first task should be to address that by taking basic sailing lessons together, then a 3 to 5 day “Cruise and Learn” with an instructor to teach you cruising tricks and teamwork. Then when you both feel ready, bare boat charter in an easy sailing grounds (like BVI or San Juan Islands Washington) to enjoy those magical sunsets at anchor and more importantly make an informed decision about what level of commitment you both want to make to this lifestyle.

Then the choice of boat and how much you spend becomes a new learning curve, but now based on a common understanding of why.

Good luck….Nick
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