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Old 09-02-2019, 19:33   #1
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looking for a change in life-soon!

Hello sailing community! We are a retired Navy family. "He" wanted to purchase a 65' Macgregor when our son was 1 year. I vetoed it. I couldn't figure out how to finance it. I'm in finance. Almost 30 years later- Now we have a plan. Of course I have spread sheets. I'm planning for "what if's". We've been talking to everyone we can about their experience. We joined a sailing club. But I defiantly feel like I want more sailing experience. We both work very hard and are mechanically inclined. We expect boat maintenance. But I don't want a fixer upper boat. We're currently shopping for a lifting keel mono hull. I think we'll be able to get into closer anchorages and the Bahamas. My vision is to send "him" off for crew experience. Then I join him when we purchase the boat and I retire. We understand the maintenance. We do that with our business. But what's the best way to get crew experience? I feel everyone wants someone experienced but we're not.
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Old 11-02-2019, 06:04   #2
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Andrea.
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:43   #3
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreadsuchyshi View Post
Hello sailing community! We are a retired Navy family. "He" wanted to purchase a 65' Macgregor when our son was 1 year. I vetoed it. I couldn't figure out how to finance it. I'm in finance. Almost 30 years later- Now we have a plan. Of course I have spread sheets. I'm planning for "what if's". We've been talking to everyone we can about their experience. We joined a sailing club. But I defiantly feel like I want more sailing experience. We both work very hard and are mechanically inclined. We expect boat maintenance. But I don't want a fixer upper boat. We're currently shopping for a lifting keel mono hull. I think we'll be able to get into closer anchorages and the Bahamas. My vision is to send "him" off for crew experience. Then I join him when we purchase the boat and I retire. We understand the maintenance. We do that with our business. But what's the best way to get crew experience? I feel everyone wants someone experienced but we're not.



Getting crew experience is not easy. Most delivery guys either have people or want someone with some experience. I have on occasion taken newbies as unpaid crew, with mixed results. Of direct relevance to your question- If you crew a delivery there is marginal learning.

Crewing for owners can be great or hellish. The float plan and owner will determine how much learning happens.

The third approach is to buy your boat and hire licensed individual(s) who are ASA Instructors to coach you. I pluralized that as all sailors (except me) have bad habits. Hiring more than one instructor will give you multiple viewpoints. The advantage of doing it on your boat versus another or a charter is that it develops your understanding of your boat.
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Old 11-02-2019, 19:09   #4
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

Thanks for the advice. I thought it would be fairly easy to crew on boats as I assumed people would want help with night watches. But looking at the various crew finder sites, as you mentioned, most people want experience. We have taken the ASA 101-104 classes and have done a couple overnight trips with our sailing club. But I feel and for insurance purposes (I'd like an ocean crossing under our belt), I want much more hands on experience before we spend a lot of money on a boat. The more boats I'm on and the more people I interact with, I learn what I like and don't and what's important. Yes, it's true my husband has lots of sea experience being retired US Navy. But I don't trust it's the same as being on a small vessel in the middle of the ocean. Your comments are very welcome. Thank you again for any and all advice.
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Old 11-02-2019, 19:42   #5
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

As former Navy myself, there isn't much that translates from the Navy to small (by comparison) boats, this of course will vary depending on what rate your husband was and what kind of ship be was on, a QM, or a BM would probably a few things that carry over directly or possibly some of the rates that actually handle small boats but they are definitely the minority, while a GM would probably have the least that carries over.
I can also say with a degree of certainty very little is usually learned on a delivery, charters can be learning experiences, but I would say (As has already been said) that probably the single best place to learn to sail is on your own boat, with as many experienced people as you can find, everyone has their opinions about everything to do with sailing, (just ask on the forum here about something as mundane as anchoring and watch as 14 knowledgeable people of 22 different opinions) Pick as many brains as possibly, get a working understanding of the basics and go sailing.
On a completely unrelated note to this thread but IMHO being a Navy Wife is probably 4x harder than actually being in the Navy, compared to that sailing will probably be easy and the learning curve not so steep.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:15   #6
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreadsuchyshi View Post
We have taken the ASA 101-104 classes and have done a couple overnight trips with our sailing club. But I feel and for insurance purposes (I'd like an ocean crossing under our belt), I want much more hands on experience before we spend a lot of money on a boat. The more boats I'm on and the more people I interact with, I learn what I like and don't and what's important. Yes, it's true my husband has lots of sea experience being retired US Navy. But I don't trust it's the same as being on a small vessel in the middle of the ocean. Your comments are very welcome. Thank you again for any and all advice.

Thanks to "him" -- and you -- for your service.

You don't mention where you are, but there's a lot to be said for "just go sailing." You've got enough training already, now it's just practice (experience) you want and in many circumstances you can do that yourselves. Maybe charter a few times, partly to practice in new places, partly to experience different vessels. (That would also be gaining you some experience to list when applying for future crew positions.)

But you could also just draw up your list of need/want/nice to have features, find boats like that, go for it. If you get that about 80% right the first time (first boat), you're good to go. Adapt to the boat, or decide later whether to improve on that or not. You'll be more experienced by then so that "decide later" can be a better informed choice.

Otherwise you'll spend time dreaming about it, not so much time living it. You'll know that in finance, there's a thing called opportunity cost. There's also a category called "psychic income" -- priceless.

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Old 15-02-2019, 15:01   #7
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

Thank you for the comments and advice. It's very welcome. We currently live in Minnesota and are in the process of downsizing, becoming sailors and plan to become live on boards July 2021. I'd like to purchase a boat now but I'd prefer to have a boat sitting in the Caribbean rather than Lake Superior for my days off. Both are beautiful. However summer time is our busiest with our business and sailing Lake Superior in the winter is quite difficult. Then there's the cost of having a boat sit in the Caribbean and paying for it when we can only use it for 3 months out of the year before I fully retire. Other than the original cost of purchasing the boat, it seems owning a boat would be less costly than chartering a boat for 3 months. Any thoughts on this? I'm sure I'm missing a lot of expenses. I know we can purchase a much smaller vessel to get more sailing experience. But we have a local boat club we can take various small boats out on the lake and it seems much more accessible. Thoughts and ideas are welcome.
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Old 15-02-2019, 21:29   #8
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

Small boats are great teachers for "The real thing" the results of any action is far more apparent and for the most part a sloop is a sloop, everything else is a difference in size and complexity. Not to mention it would also be probably by a long shot the cheapest option.
As to the costs of a charter, in the Bahamas I've seen everything from 1k to 30k a week in the Caribbean I'm not sure, so your mileage may vary...
And Superior + winter I shudder at the thought...
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Old 16-02-2019, 10:32   #9
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

*definitely
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Old 16-02-2019, 11:03   #10
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I will second Snores comment about not learning a lot on a Transat delivery or whatever.. its mostly done on AP with little sail handling and lots of watchkeeping.. all your likely to learn unless hit by a couple of severe gales is its not as big a deal as you thought it was.
My first crossing from SMX to the UK was a solo nonstop and prior to that just a nonstop Biscay (360nm) crossing and lots of coastal down to and around the Med.. on a Beneteau 321.
Oceans are much the same without the hard bits and no where to stop when you get bored..
Dont over think it.
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Old 16-02-2019, 11:23   #11
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

You got me thinking... I didn't realize you could charter a boat in the Caribbean for only $1k per week. I don't know the condition but as you all mentioned, it's about getting experience and finding out what we like and dislike. The few sailing vessels I've been on go for around $5k per week. Therefore I thought purchasing a boat and leaving it on the hard would work out to around the same annual expenses. This is super helpful. Thank you!
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Old 16-02-2019, 11:28   #12
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

A cheap old boat ($5K-$10K Craigslist special) can open the door to experience without a lot of financial risk. And also to trying out the lifestyle for a few months to see if it really works for you. Of course, figuring out how to put the old life “on hold” for a few months is the hard part.
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Old 16-02-2019, 11:33   #13
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

it takes a woman to handle money but seriously you could consider starting off with a smaller boat to sail (and even live aboard) while learning the ropes. charters are usually unpredictable and expensive.
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Old 16-02-2019, 15:58   #14
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Re: looking for a change in life-soon!

Don't overstress on this. You already have sufficient sailing skills to start cruising the Caribbean. Most likely a few days with a skilled captain onboard your boat will give you the confidence to go out on your own. Keep your plans simple that first year, then get more adventurous after you have more time on board.

I recommend shopping for a boat when you are ready to move on board. Meanwhile take every opportunity to crew on as many boats as possible. Being on other boats is going to really help you determine what you would like to buy.

Plan to take possession of the new boat in late fall to late winter in the Carribean. This will give a few months get accustomed to living on the keel and building sailing skills before hurricane season is going to force some decisions. Likely you will be doing much fixing and upgrading in the first few months, which will help you to get to know your boat. Spread that around while doing progressicely more challenging sailing island to island.

For hurricane season plan on catching a rally running north out of the Carribean to the USA or Europe. The rally process will help build confidence for making the crossing.

I DO NOT advocate starting with a small learner boat if you already know you like sailing. A real cruising yacht is much more comfortable than a smaller boat, and comfort will make or break the experience. It is the learning to live aboard that is the real challenge if you already have basic sailing skills.

Don't be intimidated, as a cruiser you will be refining technique for years. Much of the fine details that separate the highly skilled cruisers are learned by thinking through the task at hand while
out there doing it. Classes and certifications are great, but the real skills come by doing, learning from mistakes, and watching how skilled cruisers handle specific situations..
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