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Old 04-03-2009, 13:42   #16
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Welcome to the Forum, Captain AJ. Glad you're here.

I've only recently found this thread, so I'm late to the party. Still, better late than never, so I wanted to let you know that you're among friends here. As long as people conform to the rules we all agreed to when we joined, things remain civil, for the most part.

You're correct that most cruisers are in the "mature" category, but we're not all ogres - and some of us can even remember what it was like to be in our 20s! Hard to believe, I'm sure, but true. Some of us even like to think that we have a bit of Benjamin Button in us - well, maybe our bodies aren't getting any younger, but our attitudes are.

I don't know if you're familiar with Pat and Ali Schulte already, but I did want to pass along a link to their site bumfuzzle.com Pat and Ali left their jobs in Chicago, sold everything they had, went to Ft. Lauderdale to move aboard the catamaran they bought there, then set off to sail around the world. That was 2003, and they were 28 at the time, IIRC.

Many people said they were out of their minds! They would die out there before they got very far! Why, the sum total of their sailing experience was about eight hours taking sailing lessons in a small sailing dinghy on Lake Michigan (which they hated, and quit)!

They were pretty determined, though, and decided they'd just learn how to sail on their own boat - and off they went. In April 2007, they sailed back into Ft. Lauderdale, having successfully completed their circumnavigation.

So if you and your bride check out the Schulte's website, and only read through the first few months of their cruise (Florida through the Bahamas) you should very easily be able to see yourselves doing exactly what they did - even if you never have any desire to sail beyond the Caribbean. If you found Robin Graham inspiring, I think reading the adventures of a young couple who are very much like you and your wife will be even more so.

So, again, welcome to CF, aj. I think you'll enjoy your time here, and I sincerely hope that your planned release from service in 2011 comes off without a hitch, and you don't get "backdoor drafted" again.

TaoJones
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Old 04-03-2009, 15:31   #17
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Forget the sailing class, unless you can get something cheap like through MWR or a local sailing club. (I used to teach sailing through the MWR in Newport--I was a squid). You'll find sailors to be, for the most part, very friendly. We all like being out on the water, so a few beers will get you an informal lesson. Or find yourself a sailing club. Racing skippers are always looking for rail meat. This also costs you nothing. Don't get hung up on chartering, either as a customer or as a captian. It is too expensive as a customer and you are a very long way from being considered as a paid captain. For now, buy a copy of Chapman's to help you sleep at night. Look through Bumfuzzle's website for inspiration. And perhaps check out some of the sailing books recommended by members here. When it comes time to buy a boat, there are probably two people to hire: a good surveyor and an instructional captain. Sailing is best learned by doing.

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Old 04-03-2009, 16:17   #18
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Andrew,

Learning how to sail: there is NO substitute to learning it in a dinghy, so you had a great start. Going bigger and heavier is easier, not more difficult! I started "playing on the water" very young but ended up racing the Laser and that's all you need.

In your situation you MUST buy a trailer-sailer. Take it to Croatia, Turkey, Greece and Holland for starters. If you want to start easy: start with Greece and Holland (inland waters) so you grow into the more lively experience of Turkey and Croatia. Select easy places first, I didn't sail in Greece yet but did most of my life in Holland: IJsselmeer (used to be sea, now big fresh water, plenty action) and for more action: the Wadden Zee with the many islands & banks north of Holland. Alternatively, Zeeland (like in New Zealand) in the south-west.

Google for info on trailer sailors. I think they are easy to buy & sell too, and sail more like a yacht than many think.

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Old 05-03-2009, 00:30   #19
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Thanks for the words of advice guys. A couple people have already offered to teach me just since posting this thread. That is amazing to me considering that there are so many that are charging thousands and many of the other sports I have been involved in, no one will teach you much of anything without being paid first.

I thought the same thing about a trailer sailer. I have been a subscriber to duckworksmagazine.com for a while and my dad has written a couple articles for them, so I have always been watching the small boat scene, and trailer sailers are very familiar to me. I even bought a set of John Welsford's plans for "Penguin" (20 foot trailer sailer with queen sized bed and 8 foot beam) and was planning on building it a few years ago, but the Army moves us around to much:
Duckworks Boatbuilders Supply
There is LOTS of fun to be had in small boats, and I would recommend duckworksmagazine to anyone.

And you are right: my situation is perfect for a trailer sailer. I actually never thought about it. I might have to consider it since I will be spending another year and a half in Germany before the Army releases me... but then I would have to buy a car to pull the boat, and I've already slimmed down my life to bicycles and one Smart Car fourtwo diesel (85MPG!)... Maybe I'll buy that VW Golf after all.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:10   #20
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There are more of us out there than you think. The Marines gave me the discipline to live in a small amount of space. Much like you, im divorced (still single though), 100k a year at a bank job, 34 years old, and I live on a 27' Albin Vega, driving 83 miles each way, in a jeep with over 125k miles on it.

I wouldn't change it for the world. While im continuing to work, and put money away for the cruising kitty, im not concerned on when I leave. I could get laid off and go tomorrow if I wanted. I figure it will be whenever im tired of working. Right now, I enjoy being able to work on my boat and sail on weekends. Like you said, the hardest part is keeping the focus on the dream. As long as you consider everything, youll be fine. Patience might kill ya though

Good luck, keep the faith!
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:31   #21
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Sailing opportunity near you.

You aren't far from the largest lake in central Europe. I met someone who races there - I think 10 or 12 meter yachts. lake Constance (Bodensee in Germany) is about 2 hours from Stutgart. I don't know if you can be a "walk-on" crew there, but it may be worth a try. Good luck!Ron
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Old 05-03-2009, 14:28   #22
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You don't need to pay thousands to learn to sail. Just head to your closest yacht club and ask them to poitn you towards a boat that might be looking for "green but keen" crew. It will probably cost you a 6-pack of beer! Yacht clubs also organise learn to sail or competent crew certification courses for a fraction of the price of a charter.

I endorse your preference for a 35-36' boat - personally, I wouldn't go offshore in anything less (although many people do, quite happily and safely). Boats are cheap right now and getting cheaper... and probably will do for a couple of years... its gonna be a good time to buy! Given that you earn in the region of $100k p.a. and, presumably, your wife earns too, you ought to be able to pick up a good quality boat for a good price... one that doesn't need to much fixing-up before being ready for full-time leve aboard.

Don't stress too much about manouvering in and around marinas. I have to admit that before I purchased my 40' boat I had never brought so much as a dinghy in or out of a marina. Common sense, keeping an eye on your speed, paying attention to the wind direction, and spending a good while out in open water "experimenting" with forward, reverse and manouvering should allow almost anybody to bring a boat in and out of a marina berth in anything except the most challenging of conditions (the first actual marina berth into which I had to bring Insatiable was at the exclusive CYCA in Sydney where the boats around my asigned berth were all worth at least 10 times more than mine - I was stressing, but managed to get in /out without hitting anything!). If in doubt I put fenders out prior to coming in - especially when short handed.

Good luck. You are lucky to be able to live your dream so young.
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Old 05-03-2009, 18:09   #23
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Old 05-03-2009, 19:39   #24
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Latitude 38 is a sailing magazine, online, that sponsors a cruise from San Diego to Baja California every year, departing in late October. There are LOTS of boats involved, many needing crew with minimal experience. It's a downwind trip to places that are warm and friendly. Newbies get a chance to learn everything there is to know. Once in a local destination, there are always boats needing a hand for another leg, some south to Panama and the Carribean, others west to Paradise. You show up with your clothes and gear and enthusiasm, and make the best of each leg of the trip. You may learn that this is not the route you had anticipated, thus saving thousands of dollars. You may discover there is no returning to a previous way of life, and that you have found a cheap boat that the owners don't want to bring back to the States. You may find local work for a time and learn a new language and menu. You makes your choices and takes your chances. Good luck, and thanks for sticking your neck out for us in a place that doesn't invite cruisers.
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:36   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy M View Post
Latitude 38 is a sailing magazine, online, that sponsors a cruise from San Diego to Baja California every year, departing in late October. There are LOTS of boats involved, many needing crew with minimal experience. It's a downwind trip to places that are warm and friendly. Newbies get a chance to learn everything there is to know. Once in a local destination, there are always boats needing a hand for another leg, some south to Panama and the Carribean, others west to Paradise. You show up with your clothes and gear and enthusiasm, and make the best of each leg of the trip. You may learn that this is not the route you had anticipated, thus saving thousands of dollars. You may discover there is no returning to a previous way of life, and that you have found a cheap boat that the owners don't want to bring back to the States. You may find local work for a time and learn a new language and menu. You makes your choices and takes your chances. Good luck, and thanks for sticking your neck out for us in a place that doesn't invite cruisers.

Now this definitely sounds like a plan. I already know Spanish and German and I am learning French (it is rather easy after learning Spanish). I majored in Spanish in College and took a couple years of German. So there are boats ot be had for a relatively cheap price down in Baja? I had wanted to start from the west coast because The Panama Canal and the Caribbean seemed prohibitively expensive, but the price difference in boats between CA and FL seemed to make up that difference by a few thousand dollars.
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Old 06-03-2009, 03:16   #26
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Hey!

Sounds like a great plan you've got there. Kind of like my own, but my road is not that straight... I came out of the navy a few years ago and I think it's nice to see one of you dirtmovers finding the true path :P

Me and the girlfriend are looking to buy a bigger boat, which means that our current boat might be up for grabs here in Sweden. It only needs a bigger water tank to be ready for cruising and it comes with free sailing lessons
PM if you want!

Fair winds!

/Hampus
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