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Old 23-05-2017, 07:38   #1
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Hello from Colorado USA

I'm new to sailing but man I want to get out on the water and learn! Sailing has become the forefront of my thinking! I'm landlocked and have only sailed local reservoirs. I just need a chance to get aboard a ship and start learning how to live out a dream shared by my family and I. Any ideas or opportunities are very welcome!

Thanks!
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Old 24-05-2017, 03:23   #2
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Re: Hello from Colorado USA

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Mrphbrew.
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Old 24-05-2017, 04:58   #3
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Re: Hello from Colorado USA

Every marina and yacht club has sailing groups, regattas and races or information about those things. Call 'em. You can get a spot on a boat as a deckhand.
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Old 24-05-2017, 05:20   #4
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Re: Hello from Colorado USA

The basic elements of sailing -- sail trim, line handling, point of sail, and so on -- are the same whether you are sailing a 10 ft Sunfish or a 60 ft ketch. Sure the details differ because of the size of the sail and the loads on the lines, but what you learn in the little boat is 100% transferable to the larger boat. So don't worry about finding a "ship" at this point. Get out an learn to sail.

There are lots of places that you can learn to sail in Colorado. I grew up in Nebraska and first learned to sail there. There is a very active sailing club on the Cherry Creek Reservoir in Denver. There is also a lot of sailing activity up on Lake Dillon.

Good luck.
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Old 24-05-2017, 06:27   #5
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Re: Hello from Colorado USA

Mrphbrew,
We had a Catalina 22 and sailed it at Green Mountain Reservoir and Lake Powel. We could stay on board for about a week before needing to resupply. We called it "cruising lite".
We are in the Sea of Cortez now. The systems on our big boat are more complex but the sailing is largely the same.
Get your self a trailerable boat like the Catalina and spend every bit of time on her that you can. Make sure you can reef the sails and learn to do that! As you know, Colorado winds can be flukey, don't be sidelined because you can't reef!
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Old 24-05-2017, 06:55   #6
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Re: Hello from Colorado USA

I learned the basics of the sailing on blue Mesa reservoir. And although the winds are tricky and change direction constantly there is nothing like the motion of the ocean to give you a thrill. There ain't no big waves on Lake Powell or Blue Mesa and you also don't get the swell of the ocean.
If you're looking to get some salt water on your face go find you a marina or yacht club and volunteer as a deckhand on some boats going out for a sail.
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Old 24-05-2017, 07:00   #7
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Re: Hello from Colorado USA

We moved from Denver (area) in 1999. We bought a boat in WA state with almost zero sailing experience. We bought a 42' ketch. We learned with the boat. Most people thought we were crazy. But it worked for us and it was all very exciting. We stayed in WA for five years and then went to Mexico (two years) and then across the Pacific to New Zealand. The boat was better than we were. I have no doubt a better sailor that knows how to set sails and all that they learned from years of sailing, starting with small boats and moving up, would be better at the sailing part. But who cares. We weren't in a hurry and we stayed safe through being conservative (for the most part).

I looked in to sailing on Cherry Creek, and Dillon (way too much hassle and too cold - for me) and the whole deal wasn't satisfying. I also windsurfed around the area for several years and I learned how fickle the winds can be - from none to way too much. But you certainly could learn more about sailing that way.

Most people won't want to take the chance we did. You should consider going on a trip with one of the boats that do that to expose and teach sailing/cruising on the ocean. You will find out better if the cruising life would appeal to you. Not cheap but about the same as you would pay for going on a cruise liner.

Were we scared at times - hell yes. I had to give up my skiing (annual season passes) and am throwing away the boards this week. I never went skiing again after moving up here although I have some good friends who sail in the summer for extended cruises up here, such as to Alaska and back, and ski at Whistler in the winter. We just did an entirely new thing and saved the money we spent on skiing on the boat and getting ready to go.

To tell you the truth, the most intimidating thing about a big(ger) boat is all the systems and the mundane things - batteries, electronics, anchoring, docking, water, fuel, propane, other gear. Individually not hard to dig in and learn but almost overwhelming all together. But we took it slow and learned as we went. We sailed, but not with much finesse. I didn't care. We got where we needed to get. Up here you motorsail most of the time so we didn't really learn how to sail, sorta kinda until we went offshore.

I did a ton of research and planning. We came up here on a two week vacation to check out: did we like the area enough to live here and enjoy it, could we imagine ourselves on a sailboat and go cruising, and could we find a place to live and work while learning and getting a boat? We drove to every marina in Puget Sound until we finally said we had seen enough. We bought the first boat we went out on with the owner.

One book you might look at is "The Voyager's Handbook" 2nd Ed. by Beth Leonard. It covers pretty much everything, including whether it is for you or not, finances, gear, picking the boat for you, equipment, and much, much more. There is a lot in there. If it were me I would pick and choose from the chapters and really think about the good and the bad.

One of the very, very, very most important things to consider is whether your best mate feels the same passion about having a boat, and more importantly, going cruising. Lots of relationships have been destroyed, or at least damaged, by different opinions. My mate was and is excited about it as I am but we know and have seen example after example of that. Some get all the way to Mexico and call it quits. The one with the passion may not want to give it up but can't really go on by themselves, or they don't want to, so the boat sits there and rots while they drink themselves silly thinking about how the dream died. It has to be both. That's not to say that it could be developed but many times that doesn't happen.

I wish you luck in your quest. We just bought another boat and are prepping her to go out again. Or at least we will sail around here for awhile depending on health issues mostly (we are in our sixties now). Was it easy - no - but that was part of the fun.
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Old 24-05-2017, 08:01   #8
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Re: Hello from Colorado USA

Do you have any suggestions on where to start?
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Old 24-05-2017, 08:35   #9
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Re: Hello from Colorado USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrphbrew View Post
Do you have any suggestions on where to start?
???????

Posts 3, 4, 5 & 6 gave suggestions of how to ease into sailing by staying local. Post 7 told you how to jump in BIG (not a bad thing, worked for them) over on the coast.

Am I missing something?
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Old 26-05-2017, 07:56   #10
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Re: Hello from Colorado USA

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Originally Posted by Mrphbrew View Post
Do you have any suggestions on where to start?
Start with research on all the aspects of doing the jump - finances - short term and long term, soul searching on what you and your mate will be giving up and gaining and how sure you are of that, how to decide what type of boat you want, how much you feel you need to learn (sailing skill, mechanical skill, etc.), your tolerance for risk, and on and on. Get the book I suggested and read it. If you still think it is for you after that then you can put together a road map to make it happen. No one can lead you through this step by step. There is a lot to understand, evaluate, and work on. I took about 6 months of research and soul-searching with my spouse (an easy sell as it turned out) before I went looking at boats and seeing first hand what marinas are like and whether it was possible to live-aboard at marinas while getting ready to go out.

I have met sailors, from Colorado, idaho, Montana and elsewhere, who could travel to their boat out here enough times for extended times where they could put their boat together and then go cruising. Usually those have already had boats of some sort so they felt more comfortable with less time on the current boat to go. That's not the norm though as expense, job commitments, and sometimes family commitments prevent that, so most will have to be closer to their boat for at least some time before going.

Some people "just go", i.e. buy a boat, go, and learn on the way. There is a long, and controversial, thread on that on this forum. Of the sailors I have know that have pulled that off, I know two more that did not do well. Boats, even brand new one, will need careful attention to their equipment and maintenance, and potential "necessary" upgrades to be safe, both to prevent boat failures as well as owner failures. Not everyone believes that though, mostly, in my observation, those who have never gone much of anywhere, although I am sure there have been some. It was not for us though.

This is not going to be easy. If you have tons of discretionary funds, you could hire mechanics and boat techs to go through a boat or upgrade it to add/replace electronics, etc. You could give them a list of what you want specifically, otherwise just hand them a blank check and watch the thousands and thousands come out of your bank account. I'm a bit conservative so others might do better at that than I would, and my budget is only barely adequate to do what I need/want to do, and I do 98% of all the work on the boat myself.

To get started YOU have to get started. I don't mean to lecture, but roll up your sleeves and start with basic homework. One of the very best ways to get a better idea about it is to talk with cruisers who have been there and done that. Colorado actually has a few of those, but how you would find them I am not sure. Otherwise you'll have to go where the cruisers are. We have many here that have gone around the world, as this is a major cruising starting/retiring port. Usually ports are where you can find those. Books about cruising are out there, - very good writers who are active cruisers. Put some of those books on your list. You can find many of those mentioned on the forum here.

Good luck. If it is for you, there are few things more satisfying in my opinion. Lots have tried it and found they didn't like it, or the money they poured in to it, and went on to do other things - sometimes leaving a good boat to rot in Mexico or Florida if they can't sell it, or can't give up on the dream even though they really can't pull it off. But what a life it can be if you make it work.
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