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Old 31-03-2007, 09:25   #1
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New sailor, needs much assistance


I'm new to sailing, but I have big plans. I'm a 21 yr old college student that has about $8000 in the bank to spend on a boat, food, and supplies and anything else I would need to travel from tampa florida to the florida keys and back. I want to go on an adventure of my lifetime. I'm taking sailing lessons. What kind of boat should I buy and how long should it be? Is my dream possible with only $8,000? I want a summer vacation that is memorable and fun and I believe it would be a blast out on the open water just cruising by myself. Any ideas? please give me some thoughts and ideas. Thanks all!


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Old 31-03-2007, 10:45   #2
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Aloha Chad,
Welcome aboard!!
1. Yes, it's possible but you need more experience. Many sailors have gone cruising on less money but then they have built or been given a boat. 2. Please consider the weather during those months that you are on break. Find out when the tropical storms normally form and avoid those months as much as possible. 3. Get with a local sailing club and talk with some of the members to help find an inexpensive solid boat up to about 28 feet that has made a few cruises. 4. If it doesn't come together on your budget consider crewing with an experienced skipper for that time. You'll have the "on the water" experience but you won't be alone and it won't be your own boat. There are some advantages to that.
Kind Regards,

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Old 31-03-2007, 10:51   #3
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thanks for the advice!
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Old 31-03-2007, 11:13   #4
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Welcome aboard Chad

You've come to the right place. Most of us here have the same motive.

What you do with your money is up to you. BUT if it were me to do all over again I'd invest it in the education to advance to Seaman, Skipper, Captain and so on.

Time on the water is EZ but knowing what one is doing out there can be life or death. Kind of like the young guy who buys a fast new motorcycle, goes out, has a ball and then ends up killing themselves all out of lack of experience.

Learn what you can before buying a boat. Yacht clubs are always looking for the young and ambitious to crew. You can get plenty of sea time being short time crew (Keep Records).

You'll get a lot of response on this one but I think most of us ole salts will recommend education first.............................._/)

PS- I removed your other intro post, only one needed.....
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Old 01-04-2007, 13:05   #5
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Welcome Chad,
Hope you realise your dreams, and know you'll get lots of advice from this forum.
Don't take life too seriously. No ones going to make it out alive......Go see our blog at
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Old 01-04-2007, 13:14   #6
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Chad :

Read this Sailing Blog - AfterBlue Sailaway

Good luck to you.
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Old 01-04-2007, 13:46   #7
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What kind of boat should I buy and how long should it be? Is my dream possible with only $8,000?
Purchasing a boat and having it ready with yourself trained is more ambition than you can complete with certainty by summer vacation. There may be better ways to invest the money than on purchaing a boat. Purchiasing a passage or some other alternative that does not require you to own a boat would serve your time frame better. Ownership is not really an adventure in the sense you desire. It's a lot of responsibility that takes skill and experience to handle on your own.

The longer you can sail without owning a boat the farther your money will go. Without the experience and a lot more time your money won't buy a boat "ready to go" nor could you complete the work yourself in a way that would be reliable and on time.

Reckless adventures are often completed but more by luck than skill. Summer time in Florida would not be the place for pushing you limits with luck alone. Find some experience from others that can take along a novice willing to learn and can pay their own way. With some good people skills, some before hand sailing training and walking a lot of dock you could do that and perhaps gain a memorable adventure of the very good kind to begin lifelong sailing skills.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 01-04-2007, 14:47   #8
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Hey Chad,

I am 26 and have the same dream as you. It is pretty exciting to get into sailing and it is always nice to hear of someone else young and boatless going for it. After reading this thread I can envision you sitting there going "oh to hell with these old farts, good things come to those who take risks". This is true. But sailing is risky enough without having no idea about what is going on.

It is frustrating to look at prices of education and think of how that money could be spent on your own journey and boat. I, for one, want nothing to do with it. I think (hope) there is an alternative to what is being suggested by most people on this thread ie. crewing or taking classes and that is just getting completely immersed (N.P.I.). Crew, go online, talk to people on the docks, buy a copy of "Champman's Piloting and Seamanship" and, and yes sail, sail, sail. I don't think there is anything wrong with buying a boat and going for it provided you are not making a huge voyage right off the bat (I consider Florida to the Keys huge). Baby steps. Get off the mooring first, then out of the harbour, then the bay, then the state, and then the country. Just don't do it all at once.

That is how I'm going about it anyway and it better work because I don't have the patients or the $ to take sit in a classroom even if it is a boat.
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Old 01-04-2007, 15:43   #9
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I'm another guy in my now late 20's, and I'm waiting out the money situation right now. The same people who will tell you "don't wait! just go!" are the same people who also acknowledge that you need a safe vessel and skill to sail her.

That being said, if I was feeling the urge to do what you're talking about doing, I'd probably get a Catalina 25' or something like that. You can pick them up in rather mediocre shape for a couple grand.

Something like this:
1985 Catalina 25 sailboat for sale in North Carolina

I wouldn't take it offshore myself, but there's a lot you can do to stack the odds in your favor.

-Get an EPIRB (or borrow someone else's.. just make sure to update the info for your trip).
- Inspect your standing rigging (the stuff that keeps the mast up, including the mast).
- Be able to reef very quickly and safely.
- Make sure your sea cocks are in outstanding shape.

Very few maritime accidents are the result of a cheap boat. Most accidents come from us. We might look for ways to have equipment that will help us with problems (lifesling), but it's still our fault for the problem, not the boat's (like going overboard).

So if you are going to skimp on the boat (which you are with your budget), you need to basically do a lot more of the work that a more expensive boat will greatly help you with.

I wouldn't do it myself on a boat like that, but if my only choice was a desk job or a 25' sailboat around the world, I'd pick the boat.

Good luck, you'll need it :-)
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Old 01-04-2007, 20:30   #10
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The trip you are wanting to make is just a hop, jump and a skip compared to most cruisers on this forum. Keywest is about a thirtyfive to forty hour trip straight to Key west from Tampa. You could stop in Charlotte harbor on your way and I can show you a few things at Pelican bay. You may want to concider what it will cost once you own a boat because the cost does not stop there. Your dream is a good one but do your research and don't just jump into anything. I have had alot of fun in Keywest on my boat on the hook. Good Luck.
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Old 09-04-2007, 20:09   #11
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I would suggest you buy a small (16 to 20 foot) sailboat and learn to sail that, then buy something smal and seaworthy lkike an Alberg 22 or a small Cape Dory, and make the trip safely.
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Old 10-04-2007, 05:53   #12
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hi chad, i learned to sail about 25 years ago doing that same trip on an oday daysailer and camping out in the cockpit or on barrier islands and had a wonderful time. repeated the same voyage but roamed a bit further the next summer on a 23 foot swing keel. neither boat required a dinghy, i could beach them or pull up to dinghy docks. i went into creeks and explored the ten thousand islands and crossed florida bay. these little boats are less expensive now than they were then, you could find the 23 footer for less than 3 grand, the daysailer for around a thousand, i'd guess. you need a good compass, (a handbearing one is fine), a good anchor and a vhf radio and binoculars are really helpful. there's always someplace to find shelter with draft less than 3 feet and a short mast to get under bridges, but monitor the weather, i sailed through a named tropical storm without knowing it and made 125nm from sunrise to sunset in the gulf of mexico, quite a ride! my only mistake was overloading the oday with camping gear and i sunk the first day out, luckily in 4 feet of water!
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:38   #13
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Here is some links. Rember, be safe. A small boat can be a lot of fun. People have done it in a canoe with a sail. Train and plan well. I suggest that you go to Key West via the Everglades. A cheep used boat may cost you more money to repair that you have. everglads boating micro cruising mag everglads info good fl cruising site
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Old 10-04-2007, 07:31   #14
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I would say spend about 4000 on a boat. Put 1000 or so into it. Use the rest for living on your trip. Get a 25-27 foot boat. One with a working engine, decent sails, and good rigging. Your twenty six you don't need much comfort. Get a GPS a VHF radio and good dinghy with a set of oars. You need an anchor with some chain. Add food and water and you should be fine. It would be best to bring along a buddy who has at least some experience on the water.
Good luck!

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