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Old 01-10-2008, 21:51   #1
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Hello and looking for some advice

I live in San Francisco and have acquired an urge to forgo the life I am currently living and absolve myself to the winds of the world.

I have always longed to sail and now that I feel my life has opened that possibility I am looking into it. I am planning on traveling down to Mexico, specifically to the Yucatan.

Somewhere along the way I would like to be taken on board a vessel and sail the seas.

Now for your advise. Is this a possibility, do people look to take strangers on their ship as part of their crew? Could I randomly come across a ship that would be willing to take me?

I feel that I should have some skills to offer. A friend of mine sugested I take a course in navigation. I am very good with technology, as I have been working in it for a number of years. I am a certified diver and proficient with my hands. I am good at fixing things that are broken, and learn new skills very quickly.

If you recommend that I look into navigation, would you have any suggestion on courses or certifications I can take?

Can anyone help point me in the right direction, or give me some advice on where to begin. It would be much appreciated, thanks.

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Old 01-10-2008, 22:09   #2
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Hi and welcome. I too am new here but they are a great and helpful bunch.
I would suggest you first take the basic ASA sailing courses. 101-104. Maybe join the local power squadron. Then also join a yacht club in the area. You don't always need a boat for this. There you will meet several people in the sailing world to one degree or another. Get into their regattas and day sailing adventures. You will make many friends' learn a lot about the art of sailing which will be helpful in hitching a ride anywhere.
There are boat owners who need help doing deliveries or need extra crew for extended crusing, but they usually want someone they know and who has some degree of experience so they can pull their own weight and contribute rather than being in the way.

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Old 01-10-2008, 22:13   #3
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Isaac. Welcome to Cruisers Forum. Everyone's path is different. I'll be honest in saying yours is a path less trodden.

I think a high percentage of people making passage will already have a handle on navigating. There are several threads here discussing how to make money while cruising.

I am reading a (non-fiction) book now about a young man. He scraped together $8,000 and took off from the upper east coast in a $9,000 boat to points south - He borrowed $1,000 from his sister. He moored, lived poor and worked menial jobs ashore.

I am in the early pages but I expect him to be making significant ocean voyages soon...

He certainly changed his life...

Good luck on your life change.
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Old 01-10-2008, 23:18   #4
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Good advice above. Take some sailing lessons, volunteer to crew (and help) in some of the more casual local racing programs, see if you can crew on a delivery. This summer after the Pacific Cup race (San Francisco to Hawaii) I took on a mix of experienced and less-experienced crew for the sail back home. It worked out well for me and gave the greener crew (three plus me) some sea-time.

Look at the Latitude 38 crew list, and at the "Baja Ha-Ha". There are probably some boats sailing back north after the Ha-Ha, and they may need crew. It wouldn't hurt to ask, but it would be best to at least take some lessons first.
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
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Old 02-10-2008, 06:30   #5
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:16   #6
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I learned to sail on SF Bay. I read a book about sailing and then went out a few times. I knew the basics. From there I called the Lat 38 crew list and found people who needed help with their race boats. By paying attention, being willing to help with the boat work and networking at the yacht club afterwards you should have no problem learning to sail. Going South just takes better networking. I was able to get a ride on a boat from Mazatlan to Tahiti and then from Tahiti to Oz on boats where I didn't know anybody. It can be done.
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Old 02-10-2008, 14:09   #7
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Thanks for the quick reply's and all the advice. So the consensus is to start with some basic training.

Referencing ASA it looks like there are two schools in the SF area, Spinnaker and Tradewinds. The latter being more expensive. I guess the cost should be expected but sounds like it gets a "foot in the door".

I'll take a look at the Lat 38 crew list to see if I can get in that way, but I see the sense in not being a burden and in bringing some degree of experience to a crew.

As for my travels I will probably be going overland to Mexico unless I happen upon a lucky find of someone willing enough to take me there.

In my mind I envisioned stumbling upon some world traveler at a remote bar off some coastal town. Progressing through the stages of slurred speech and back slaps being offered to tag along on a coastal romp to see what adventures await us along the way.

My mind trails off before the pessimist in me returns.....

Ex-Calif that sounds like a good book, whats the name of it? maybe I'll write my own someday. I do see myself committing to a new life of unknown. To be honest I have had enough of the "American Dream" and feel that I can no longer live here anymore. Though a piece of my heart will always remain in San Francisco.

I'm glad I found this forum, people seem quite friendly and active, its as good a place as any to start.
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Old 02-10-2008, 14:15   #8
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Aloha Isaac,
Welcome aboard! You've gotten some good advice. First things first. Sign on to crew aboard a boat in San Francisco and get at least one day's experience on a sailing vessel in and around the Bay. If you aren't deathly ill and you do actually enjoy the experience and want to continue your dream then find a sailing course either ASA or USSailing offer them. So do some colleges and universities.
In my opinion a good crewmember is one who knows how to sail and can skipper the boat if the Captain needs to take a break. So minimal is knowing how to sail and steer the boat, how to start and run the engine and knowing rules of the road.
Kind regards,

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yucatan, Mexico, San Francisco, navigation

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