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Old 04-07-2009, 12:58   #1
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Novice in Gainesville, Florida - Hello!

Just wanted to introduce myself and highlight some plans for what we hope to be a new life.

Neither my wife nor I have ever sailed (well, I was on a sailboat once but dont remember it, b/c it was in college). But both she and I are ready for the next phase of our lives and both are beyond excited at the prospect of cruising. First things first we want to learn to sail. After reading through this forum for a while I got some really good ideas. I think well hold off on the official ASA 101 and 103 classes for a little while, but hope to take some classes with a local boat club as well as a local community college. After that, and hopefully meeting some people who we can sail with (as well as help them with any repairs, etc. on their boats), well probably take some certification courses. From what Ive read it makes sense to have some experience under your belt before taking the more expensive 101, 103, etc.

We are relatively young couple at 34 and 31 years of age with one small child and plans for a second (and final) child. In approximately four years we want to head down the coast and do some cruising in the Caribbean. About three years ago (prior to the cruising dream) we began paying off all debt (only mortgage debt now, yay!) and saving a pretty good chunk of money every month. Were still doing that and would like to save more to buy a boat outright as well save for the kitty over the next four years. We moved from DC to the Gaineville area about five years ago and live on ten acres. None of our friends or family thought two citified, white-collar twenty-somethings would make it on ten acres away from Starbucks, etc.. We have done fine and have learned how to maintain our house, grow our own food, use chainsaws, power tools, etc. and have done quite a bit of remodeling on our own. We try to save money where prudent by doing things ourselves and being as self-sufficient as is feasible.

Between the sale of our house and the money we will have saved and will save we plan to have enough for 80-140k (yes, I realize that is a huge range; see below) boat and be able to cruise for several years due to some passive income well have that is as close to guaranteed as you can get (i.e. not equities, etc.). We are also looking for ways that we can make money either while were cruising or by coming home for a few months a year, such as AC/refrigeration courses for me and massage therapy school for my wife.

At this point, and I realize some of you may laugh at this because Ive only been on one sailboat my in life, we are thinking of 35-40 foot Cat. This is getting way ahead of ourselves of course, but Im just laying out our thoughts now, so that all of you can just see what Im thinking and can offer any advice you think is warranted. I hope that well be able to buy a solid monohull for 80-90k or a solid Cat for 130-40k that wont need too much refitting. Obviously, if we went the monhull route, we could bump that figure up some and still leave us more in the kitty for cruising.

For now, we are reading books, magazines and going through this forum (which is unbelievably well-maintained and informative) and keeping our eyes on the prize.

I know this dream may seem nave to many, b/c we dont have sailing experience, but I can say nothing to convince anyone that this dream is real. I can only do it. I know my wife and I know myself. We arent whimsical and this type of lifestyle has been building in us for years. That we are now starting to plan for it is exciting, and thats an understatement.

If any of you have any insight on the above Id be extremely grateful. If you know of anyone in the Gainesville or Jax/St. Augustine areas who you think I could contact about helping them on their boat either with repairs or just as a crew or whatever, thatd be great too.

I apologize for the novel-length first post.

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Old 04-07-2009, 13:14   #2
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Just wanted to say welcome and go for it! Look forward to hearing all about your adventures. There is a great section on this forum about cruising with kids with lots of great ideas and insights. Here is a really neat website about a family aboard a cat (member schoonerdog) Zach Aboard .

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Old 04-07-2009, 13:25   #3
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Great info! And thank you for the warm welcome.
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Old 04-07-2009, 18:21   #4
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we want to learn to sail.
Don't hold off on the ASA 101. It is the perfect place to start. US Sail has almost the same course too. get yourself start out right and excited. The worst thing is not giving it the best shot. It is really all supposed to be fun. If you lose sight of that then you messed up.

It's just the best way to really find out how it works and if it is right for you. Since you seem to want to do it then just find out for sure and be fully hooked or on to something else you like better. It's how we got started so I can't say it's a bad idea.

Starting out right is the best way. You can't go wrong after that if you do. The ASA 101 can be done in 2 nights a week for three weeks or in other assorted days. Most of the students are your age (or older) and they teach it because they just like it. They can't make a living at it. Meet them first if you can. It is a fun time so take it that way.

After that then you can feel out what you can afford and want to do. Getting a year in before making the big money choice is advised. It really is cheaper that way. Learning more helps you save money and make choices. Being nice matters. You can beg a lot of good rides if you care enough to try. Look for sail clubs as an alternative to buying.

Dreams are great but it's not doing it. Find the ways that work for you. Once you know then you can start doing it. It's all we all ever get - a chance to start. Make it a good one and keep us posted.
Paul Blais
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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:18   #5
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Welcome Homespun....sounds like a good plan to me.
I lived in Ocala for several years in another life, and often went to Gainesville....nice place....AD Bundy!
You're self reliance and confidence will serve you well as cruisers.
AC/refrigeration tech work is probably a good choice for keeping the kitty topped up.
Best of luck with the plans.
S/V Arctic Lady
I love my boat, I can't afford not to!
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Old 05-07-2009, 13:10   #6
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Aloha Homespun,
Welcome aboard!
As Paul said, USSailing and ASA have nearly the same curriculum. If you are going to take college courses and sail training at a local club you may not need 101 which is basic. You might jump into 102 and 103 or even go straight to 103.
I suggest go with the most comfortable and cheapest courses first and really see if it is your cup of tea.
You have a good plan to follow your dream.
Kind regards,
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Old 05-07-2009, 14:29   #7
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Hello Homespun,

Nice to hear from another sailor (or aspiring sailor) right here in Hogtown. Sounds to me like you have an excellent plan and the wherewithal to bring it to fruition.

Just bought a boat after 30 years on land and would be interested in your offer of work or crewing. Boat is currently in New England but will be bringing it south in the fall, probably to the St Johns River or St Augustine.

Send PM if you want to discuss details.

The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 05-07-2009, 16:14   #8
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Pblias, James S and SkiprJohn:

Thank you for taking the time and effort to post your thoughts and for the kind welcome. I sincerely appreciate it. It's good to have new insight and get perspectives from those who are where I want to be.


PM Sent. Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:30   #9
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Totally agree with the idea of getting some training ASAP... don't wait for experience... you may have to un-learn some bad traits.

Before you get too wrapped up in planing a life of sailing... you really do need to get your feet wet. Get out with friends or join a charter or get into some races as rail meat. Opportunities exist to join cruisers in lots of different places for a week or so at reasonable rates/ rates lower than charter rates and with out the need to show certifications (which you often are never asked for).

From your location in CF you can get $300 round trip flights to the Caribbean to meet up with a cruiser and get a taste of what your considering. It could be an eye opener but with fewer of the risks of an independent charter. After about 7 to 10 days you should have a really good idea what it is all about.

I prefer a sailboat to a motorboat, and it is my belief that boat sailing is a finer, more difficult, and sturdier art than running a motor.
--- Jack London
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