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Old 19-11-2017, 11:21   #1
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Old broad introducing herself...

Hello all you lovely people (yes, I've been following the forum for several weeks and have come to the conclusion you are indeed all lovely people...mostly).

Finally took the plunge and signed up. There's more of a sense of community here than there is in the landlocked neighborhood I've been living in for the past twenty years.

So many questions, so little time, so first a few words about myself, and what brought me to this forum (after which I'll move on over to the Liveaboards forum, since that's where I rightfully should start out.

The bad: can't sail but want to (well, took one small boat ASA class recently and though the captain was, as he described himself, "a broken man" - I did learn something - so in truth I can sail, a little...and did find that I took to it like a duck to water, so to speak).

The good: I've sailed before, long ago, on different occasions: once in Bombay harbor, as an 18 year old (with the first love of my life), next off the central coast of California, a few summers in a row, on board a 40ft Ferro cement ketch (fell in love with the captain, only to discover in short order that it was the boat (and the ocean), not the captain, that was my true love.) Abandoned both boat and captain.

The interesting: Great great grandpa was a German merchant mariner, shipwrecked off the coast of Tranquebar, south east India, who made it to shore, walked up the coast to Madras, where he met and married a Scottswoman, and the rest is history.

A vignette: a childhood memory as a six year old, standing on the dock in Bombay, at the christening of a sailboat that an American couple (with two small children) had just had built there, and were shortly to set sail on off to America (always wondered what became of them). I remember that bottle of champagne shattering on the bow with a clarity befitting a photograph.

The (possibly) ridiculous: I'm 66, a woman, and have gradually developed an urge to sell everything I own, buy a (used) sailboat - and set off into the wild blue yonder.

The Sea of Cortez is calling to me... (Zeehag, you're my heroine)..for a start.

The boat has to be big enough but still one I can sail singlehanded: (I have a daughter with a 6'4" beau, and I would like to have them visit whenever they can get away from their physicist careers.

So, here I am, and I will be asking lots of questions and looking for an equal amount of advice.

Please be kind.

Cheers...
Wendy

...that was much more than 'a few words'
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Old 19-11-2017, 12:12   #2
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

What a wonderful first post! You have a grand adventure to look forward to and I wish you all the best.

While not necessary, consider taking another batch of sailing lessons from a teacher who is willing and able to teach you how to singlehand a large yacht. This will remove some small amount of excitement from your future, but also much stress as well.

Consider joining the "Women Who Sail" Facebook group. This place is pretty good overall, but for women in particular, well, my wife is religious about that group. I suspect she has good reason to be.

Life is good out there for those who have the personality for it. From what I can glean from your post, you're one of them.

Cheers back at you.
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Old 19-11-2017, 12:23   #3
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Welcome aboard, Wendy Ann.

CF has a women's forum called the Mermaids, and you might also be interested in that.

Do not plan your boat choice around your daughter's 6'4" beau. What you should consider, in my opinion, is a boat you will still be able to comfortably singlehand 10 yrs. from now. This means you have to be able to reach everything, comfortably, in a seaway....if you plan to sail.

If you plan only to liveaboard, that would be different, and you can seek out a boat with long berths, and sacrifice the storage space, because you will be close to re-provisioning sources.

Furthermore, we never know what the future holds, so give some thought to the "what happens 20 yrs. from now" scenario, because one might not be able then, to manage winter in a marina.

Ann
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Old 19-11-2017, 12:48   #4
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

G'Day Wendy, and welcome to CF. As a card carrying old fart, I know that one can enjoy the life afloat well into antiquity. You sound well grounded and my impression is that you should press on with some haste. I'm not in general a "lessons for everything" kinda guy, but when ya start out sailing as an "old broad" ya can't afford to waste time learning the way I did... reading and then buying a day sailor and bumbling around until I figgered it out! This followed by a trailer sailor and then a 30 foot keel boat and then... here we are today.

The lessons, if given by a thoughtful and skilled instructor, will give you a jump start on the process. But the real learning comes with time sailing, and mostly sailing in command, where you are responsible for decision making, so once you have the basic skill reminders, I'd recommend buying a small boat, one that is easy to set up and sail on your own for those days when no one volunteers as crew. Sail the hell out of it, an when you are ready to move on, sell her. You should be able to recover most if not all of the cost, and there will have been little in the way of expenses for storage, maintenance or insurance (few find insurance necessary in such boats).

That brings up another issue: a liveaboard yacht requires a lot of maintenance. Most of the skills are pretty ordinary, but as a woman, you may not have been exposed to them (a sad artifact of our society IMO). So, whilst you are learning the art of sailing, you might well start filling in gaps in your knowledge. Things like plumbing, basic electrical practice, use of modern electronics, knots and ropes kinda things, to say nothing of engine maintenance and things like winch lubrication and repair. It's a big list, and if you must hire folks to do such things for you, the cost of the life style escalates wildly. Nigel Calder has written several books covering many of these subjects in a way that is comprehensible to tyros, and you might see if your local library can get them for you.

I seem to have rambled on too long for a mere greeting... sorry 'bout that! You will find that CFers are happy to answer questions, and there are some pretty sharp folks here, so ask away. And use the search function to dig into subjects that interest you. There are tens of thousands of bits of advice already posted, and there is usually a pony in amongst the poo somewhere.

good luck

Jim
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Old 19-11-2017, 19:25   #5
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Iím assuming this will be a single handed adventure?
If so Iíd say get a well found low 30 ft boat in my opinion, Solo means a lot less room needed. The physical strength needed on our 38í Boat is often beyond my Wifeís capability and sometimes all I want too, and that is with some cheater tools.
Assuming the kids do come to visit, let them visit and if the space is too small, put them up in a Motel or resort for the night. Cheaper in the long run, they get some alone time and you donít end up with more Boat than you can handle or afford or need. I think the work load goes up tremendously with size, others will argue of course.
Now my boat is complex, but I have made my living as a mechanic and I enjoy that, however there is nothing at all wrong with a simple Boat, way less work and stress and money keeping it going.

As with everything, budget determines to a great extent the Boat.
Just me but if money is any kind of issue I wouldnít go overboard on the classes, so far it hasnít been all that tough really and people have sailed forever without taking ASA classes. Just ease into it and slowly expand your capabilities, crawl, walk, run.
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Old 19-11-2017, 19:53   #6
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Hi Wendy Ann, Welcome to the forum. I.m now 67 and feeling every one of those years.
You can't wait to long to get out there at our age. Sounds like you got some great advise from Jim Cate and a64pilot. I realized years ago I don't like to be wet and cold anymore.
Found a pilothouse style motor sailor with roller reefing main and jib. All lines lead to the helm with a powered winch, so no more running around out on deck to trim sails . Much better for an old fart like me than my old ketch. It's amazing how some boats are so easy to single hand compared to the old days. I always say use your head and not your back. Hope to see you down Mexico way.
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Old 19-11-2017, 19:57   #7
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Welcome Wendy Ann- I completely agree with what's been posted. Start with a smaller simpler boat to learn. My second boat was a 1974 Tartan 30 that had no pressure water, or water heater, minimal electric and an alcohol stove, but it was comfortable, strong, had a dodger and a heater. Lived year round on it for two years in a marina and sailed the crap out of it. Don't know where you are in N Carolina, but consider joining a yacht club. Some clubs are cheap enough that it will work in your favor to go sailing with others and gain experience with out having to buy a boat just yet. Doesn't make sense to me to buy a boat for the occasional family visits if you can't sail it the rest of the time. Good luck
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Old 19-11-2017, 22:55   #8
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Ah, yes— Tranquebar :-)!

Welcome, Wendy-Ann, and at convenience I might spin you a yarn about Tranquebar, a place far too little known, these days, a place that in days of yore was a colony of my native land.

In addition to what has already been said about size and complexity, I would like to offer you the following:

Firstly: It is not the size of the boat that determines whether a 6'4" bloke can get comfortable. It's the length of the berth :-) In my 30-footer, there are TWO seven foot bunks! But that's a long story :-)

Secondly: Willy Occam - speaking of physicists - is the best shipmate you can wish for. Ask him to bring his razor.

MyBeloved hadn't set foot in any kinda boat till she was of retirement age. She is your age-mate. I'm Jim Cate's senior in age, I believe, though far from it in experience. Anyway, MB is my last sailing student, and she is now, with three seasons behind her, keener than I am.

It is axiomatic that to become a good skipper you should "sail early, sail often", so if you're gonna do it, best get on with it :-)!

TP
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Old 19-11-2017, 23:10   #9
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Quote:
I'm Jim Cate's senior in age,
Can't possibly be, mate... you seem to be still functional!

Jim
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Old 20-11-2017, 04:01   #10
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Iím assuming this will be a single handed adventure?
If so Iíd say get a well found low 30 ft boat in my opinion, Solo means a lot less room needed. The physical strength needed on our 38í Boat is often beyond my Wifeís capability and sometimes all I want too, and that is with some cheater tools.
Assuming the kids do come to visit, let them visit and if the space is too small, put them up in a Motel or resort for the night. Cheaper in the long run, they get some alone time and you donít end up with more Boat than you can handle or afford or need. I think the work load goes up tremendously with size, others will argue of course.
Now my boat is complex, but I have made my living as a mechanic and I enjoy that, however there is nothing at all wrong with a simple Boat, way less work and stress and money keeping it going.

As with everything, budget determines to a great extent the Boat.
Just me but if money is any kind of issue I wouldnít go overboard on the classes, so far it hasnít been all that tough really and people have sailed forever without taking ASA classes. Just ease into it and slowly expand your capabilities, crawl, walk, run.
Yes, thats all very good advice.
I would add the following for whatever boat you buy....
In my opinion, you need to be able to do the following on your own to remain safe.
-Pull the anchor up using the manual override.
-Pull the anchor up in 30 kts of breeze without stressing the windlass.
-Still be able to figure out how to put the sails away if something has technically failed/jammed.
-Get the air out of the fuel lines and restart the engine within 10 minutes.
-Always know the charge state of your batteries.
-Always know wether your alternator is working.
-Know how to use the emergency steering.

and also fairly important
-Know exactly the positions of all holes in the hull.
-Have an arrangement that the previous owner willingly answers all questions you might have by telephone at least for the first year.
-Know where all the spare parts are stored.
-Be able to fix simple electrical problems.
-Be able to do basic diesel engine diagnostics.

and also very important
-Know the basics of sailing.
-Know the basics of anchoring
-Know the basics of vhf
-Know the basics of weather
-Know the basics of what to do(backup plan) when some important device does not work.
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Old 20-11-2017, 04:12   #11
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Wendy.
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Old 20-11-2017, 05:51   #12
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

As everyone is making comments on the physical aspects, I feel compelled to ask one question. Have you considered power vs. sail? Perhaps it lacks some of the romance and memories but you are at the age many do find themselves making the switch. Also, as a liveaboard, the accommodations in the same length are better.
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Old 20-11-2017, 07:40   #13
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Wendy:

Fuss is bang on! To put a little more meat on his comments (mine in italics) while paying homage to Willy Occam:

-Pull the anchor up using the manual override.

Yes, indeed! When you first get the boat, verify that the overide works. They don't always. Then as part of you boatkeeping routine, use it, rather than the magic buttons, occasionally

-Pull the anchor up in 30 kts of breeze without stressing the windlass.

Yes. 30 Knots has a helluvalot more force than 20. We can talk mathematical formulae later :-). But 30 knots is when it can be absolutely imperative that you can get the hook up and get the hell outta there!



-Still be able to figure out how to put the sails away if something has technically failed/jammed.

Yes. Fuss wrote "put". I'll edit it. Shoulda been "cut", as in "knife". In a first boat stay away from "sophisticated" (meaning "misbegotten") stuff like mast furling mains. Hanked on sails don't jam. Roller furling ones do!

-Get the air out of the fuel lines and restart the engine within 10 minutes.

Yes - imperative that you can do that. Imperative also that you know how to avoid having to do it. You avoid it by good fuel management and by preventive maintenance of your fuel delivery system. As Jim said: It is, for the most part, women's lot in life NOT to have been taught those things - so learn them :-)!


-Always know the charge state of your batteries.
-Always know wether your alternator is working.

Yes, again. These two are intimately connected, though quite different in nature. In TP one of the first things I did was make my batteries readily accessible. They weren't when we bought 'er. I have a fetish for "dipping" my batts regularly, i.e. testing the gravity of the electrolyte. Whether your alternator is working you tell by an instrument in your instrument panel. If you have one. TP didn't when we bought 'er. She does now.

-Know how to use the emergency steering.

And yes again. In your first boat, eschew wheel steering. Choose one with tiller steering. You don't need wheel steering in a boat the size of boat your first boat is likely to be. Wheel steering merely complicates matters, and many wheel steered boats have NO provision for emergency steering. TP doesn't, and sometimes it frets me! It's a major engineering project to install it if the builder didn't, and it's expensive. With tiller steering it is much easier. It's also easier and cheaper to install an autopilot if you want one. That's just the nature of the beast, and, besides, tiller steering gives you easier, surer boat handling in tight quarters.

And pay attention to a64! I could teach you the basic boat handling and sailing in a coupla weekends. It's all the other stuff that takes a lifetime to learn. So best get started :-)!

Begin to think about the fact that "living aboard" is an entirely different thing from skippering a boat. Those two things, and their required skill sets, are totally discrete, and "living aboard" is qualitatively a very, very different thing from living ashore.

All the best

TP
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Old 20-11-2017, 11:23   #14
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Wendy:

Fuss is bang on! To put a little more meat on his comments (mine in italics) while paying homage to Willy Occam:

-Pull the anchor up using the manual override.

Yes, indeed! When you first get the boat, verify that the overide works. They don't always. Then as part of you boatkeeping routine, use it, rather than the magic buttons, occasionally

-Pull the anchor up in 30 kts of breeze without stressing the windlass.

Yes. 30 Knots has a helluvalot more force than 20. We can talk mathematical formulae later :-). But 30 knots is when it can be absolutely imperative that you can get the hook up and get the hell outta there!



-Still be able to figure out how to put the sails away if something has technically failed/jammed.

Yes. Fuss wrote "put". I'll edit it. Shoulda been "cut", as in "knife". In a first boat stay away from "sophisticated" (meaning "misbegotten") stuff like mast furling mains. Hanked on sails don't jam. Roller furling ones do!

-Get the air out of the fuel lines and restart the engine within 10 minutes.

Yes - imperative that you can do that. Imperative also that you know how to avoid having to do it. You avoid it by good fuel management and by preventive maintenance of your fuel delivery system. As Jim said: It is, for the most part, women's lot in life NOT to have been taught those things - so learn them :-)!


-Always know the charge state of your batteries.
-Always know wether your alternator is working.

Yes, again. These two are intimately connected, though quite different in nature. In TP one of the first things I did was make my batteries readily accessible. They weren't when we bought 'er. I have a fetish for "dipping" my batts regularly, i.e. testing the gravity of the electrolyte. Whether your alternator is working you tell by an instrument in your instrument panel. If you have one. TP didn't when we bought 'er. She does now.

-Know how to use the emergency steering.

And yes again. In your first boat, eschew wheel steering. Choose one with tiller steering. You don't need wheel steering in a boat the size of boat your first boat is likely to be. Wheel steering merely complicates matters, and many wheel steered boats have NO provision for emergency steering. TP doesn't, and sometimes it frets me! It's a major engineering project to install it if the builder didn't, and it's expensive. With tiller steering it is much easier. It's also easier and cheaper to install an autopilot if you want one. That's just the nature of the beast, and, besides, tiller steering gives you easier, surer boat handling in tight quarters.

And pay attention to a64! I could teach you the basic boat handling and sailing in a coupla weekends. It's all the other stuff that takes a lifetime to learn. So best get started :-)!

Begin to think about the fact that "living aboard" is an entirely different thing from skippering a boat. Those two things, and their required skill sets, are totally discrete, and "living aboard" is qualitatively a very, very different thing from living ashore.

All the best

TP
Whoa. I think you guys are gonna scare her away with all this "need to know" stuff. She's still crawling and you got her doing emergency steering! I think she's in the "how do I make it go forward" stage of sailing. Baby steps, not instilling need to know fear. As you said, "takes a lifetime". Definitely stay away from in mast furling, but furlers on the head stay are pretty problem free. Certainly better than single handing and having to do a head sail change, especially just starting out. BTW, been sailing for over 45 years, done numerous deliveries, and have never had to use emergency steering. May be I'm lucky, and if it happened I could, at this point, figure it out. But she's gonna be scared enough just getting it out of the slip. Just my opinion. And yes, tiller over wheel
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Old 20-11-2017, 12:59   #15
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Re: Old broad introducing herself...

Caribbeachbum, Ann & Jim Cate, a64pilot, Diesel Bill, Souzag818, TrentePieds, Fuss, BandB - and thank you for your welcome to the forum GordMay,
Thank you all for your responses and excellent advice - all of which deserves individual responses on my part, however:

Being unfamiliar yet as to how to create one reply and include partial quotes from each comment, I'll reply at random to as many of your comments and advice as I can, at random, in no particular order (for now).

Sailing lessons: have been considering Nautilus Sailing's live aboard 1 week sailing lessons in the Sea of Cortez, thereby earning ASA 101, 102, 103 (and 104?) certifications, plus the opportunity of actually living aboard, and handling, a larger size Sailboat (the boat they use in The Sea of Cortez is a 42ft Catalina, I believe. I understand ASA certifications are useful (or invaluable) when buying boat insurance.

Size of intended boat: being 66 already (and of sound mind and body ) I don't think I have the time to start out with a smaller boat and move up. I need to jump in at the deep end.

Mechanical and electrical aptitude: I grew up at my grandpa's workbench, watching and learning as he tinkered with and fixed everything from clocks, watches, SW radios, bicycles, motorcycle engines... (You get the idea - different country, different mindset). When I eventually acquired a husband, he couldn't fix a blown fuse - the servants learned very quickly that "Amma" fixed things, and that "Saar" was of little if no use. (Married to a Tea Planter, lived out in the wild...long story).

Physical strength: pretty good muscle memory; been know to tackle a few tasks beyond the capability of others of both genders gathered in a small befuddled group around me. (Plus there's always the opportunity to brush up that muscle memory).

Learning everything there is to know about sailboats - yes, and more yes, fully agree. Currently reading Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook. Tried to get Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook (to start) but had to return it twice an both shop nets arrived from Amazon with the book's covers bashed in - (I have a thing about books). Also, there's this forum here, and all your advice - so much to read, so much to learn.

Yatch clubs: the only sailing club (I live in landlocked Raleigh), is not taking on any new members with no experience because they don't have enough skippers to teach...

Powerboat vs Sailboat: no. I'm partial to the sound of wind in the sails. (I've been on both; hopelessly smitten perhaps, but sails win).

Motor Sailer? Hmm...possibility, but price point might be a issue.

Finances: are an issue. I have to sell all I own to buy a sailboat in good condition (time factor again - were I 10 years younger I might be willing to deal with a fixer upper). Can't live on land and own a sailboat (or so my logic currently tells me).

Liveaboard: yes that's my intention, though of course I would like to set sail as often as possible, and when experienced enough, hopefully on a longer cruise.

Size of boat not solely thought out based on the height od daughter's beau (though at one stage, I thought 30 ft ought to be the limit): I have dreams of space below decks for my own personal comfort - an interior finished with polished teak or mahogany, other little niceties. Plus, when I have the kids visit, I genuinly want them on board the boat, with me, in close quarters but with sufficient space for all of us. Also, by selling the house my daughter grew up in, I'll be depriving her (and myself) of our only home - the boat, therefore, will become our de facto home - and a place that she can always return home to, as long as I'm able to keep it afloat and in decent knick.

Occam's Razor: the law of parsimony: or, the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation is to be found - or in other words, the simplest answer is often correct. True. I'll be sure to invite Occam on board.

Time: 20 years down the road? At 86 I may or may not still be alive. I do hope though, that a boat and the physical effort - not forgetting the joy - it will bring me, will keep me going that much longer.

Jim Cate: you can ramble on as long as you like - I enjoy reading your posts (long before I joined this forum).

Thanks again, to all of you, for all the advice and suggestions and questions Thus far.

I'll be back for more, but don't know how exactly to move parts of this discussion (if I have to) to a different forum. (Of course, I can post individual questions in the appropriate place, but there's so much here, in this space,
already!)

Have I left out anything, or not responded to anyone's specific advice? Probably.
Forgive me please. Each and every one of you have provided so much advice already - I am so grateful, and quite tickled at the level and quantity of response.

Cheers,
Wendy
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