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Old 24-09-2008, 10:29   #1
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Sailing Colorado / New member

Hello all....

I'm new to the forum. And I'm not a sailor, yet. And no, I don't sail in Colorado - but I think I got your attention if you're reading this

My name is Rick and I live in Colorado Springs. I've been on a few boats and couple of ships (one aircraft carrier, many years ago), but never sailed. My wife and I have talked about doing it for years. Awhile back she brought up the subject and we mutually think that we want to become sailors, and sail around the Caribbean, live aboard our boat and get away from "real life" for awhile, perhaps for good.

I've scanned the forums a bit and found some folks with mutual interests in the same location as us, though I've not yet attempted to contact anyone here as of yet, I most likely will to seek advice, information and perhaps some mutual understand on this "problem" we have.

We're both originally from Michigan and have been around boats, but not in any way that was really helpful to either of us. I was in the USAF for 26 years... I'm 51 and I think I can't wait any longer to do this new adventure. Life is, after all an adventure and not something you should settle into and wait for something to happen. I've been to 45 countries, including places like China, the far-east, Europe, and so on. .. Five Continents (missing Australia and Antarctica) and all but four states in the US. So, I've done my share of traveling. All of that was for work, with the exception of four countries (Ireland, Canada, Mexico and Jamaica) - those were vacations.

I'm a ham radio operator, amateur astronomer, bow hunter, rifle marksman (shoot several weapons regularly) and have probably about a dozen other hobbies.

But... the reason I'm really here now is to take my life experiences and expand them, to be the best I can be and become something that I've always wanted to do - become a sailor.

I'm hoping the folks here can give some good advice, point my wife and I in the right direction and perhaps make some friends here.

Thanks for the forum.

I'm looking forward to talking to folks here!

Thanks!

Rick Donaldson
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Old 24-09-2008, 10:35   #2
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RickD,

WELCOME, and my only suggestion is to move forward, and READ, READ, READ, and then READ some more. Go to yachtworld.com, or any other similiar site. Get a good idea of what you like, and do some comparisons. These site allows you to see the boats inside, and out. Gives asking prices, and advise you of what equipment is aboard.......BEST WISHES in finding a vessel to serve you, and yours well....i2f
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Old 24-09-2008, 10:45   #3
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Thanks.

We're reading now. Lots. LOL. Several books.

Looking for a school, but the only one I can find has nothing going on now til spring time. I kind of missed out on the last technical classes (we returned on the 17th from Jamaica and classes started on the 19th and I didn't know it until the evening of the 18th - so didn't really have time to plan to get this...)

We have a "plan" though it's far from complete or "filled in" at this point. I figure though, at 50, I'm not waiting until I retire to do this so we're pushing ahead now.
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Old 24-09-2008, 11:02   #4
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By the way... while I'm not as familiar with electronics aboard a vessel (yet) I am a life-long radio guy. I know radio systems, antennas, theory, computers and most subjects related to such things. Wife and I also trained weather spotters, and sometimes-storm chasers. So if I can help with some technical aspects of electronics/communications feel free to holler at me. I'll answer what I can or help you research the answer.

Rick
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Old 24-09-2008, 11:44   #5
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RickD,

I AM HOLLERING....you can help with communication problems? My wife, and I will be right over!!!!!!!!!
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Old 24-09-2008, 11:46   #6
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LOL!!!!!!

My wife is a ham too. Give her a call on the radio. She'll be happy to tell you where you're wrong and your wife is right.
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Old 25-09-2008, 00:08   #7
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Welcome aboard RickD. I think you are gonna fit right in - LOL.

It's a great journey. At first you have an idea of what you don't know but you don't know what you don't know you don't know.

Lot's of folks around here (looks in mirror) don't know a lot....

But there are lot's that do...

Enjoy the winter and get prepped for lake sailing in the spring! Vacations to boat friendly places and maybe even a sailling class vacation!
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Old 25-09-2008, 13:54   #8
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Aloha Rick,
Welcome aboad! Lots of us old retired military guys here. I think you got me beat on number of countries but I too didn't get to Australia. I have been to all 50 states though. The cruising style/liveaboard/sailing lifestyle is an affliction and very few of us ever have it cured it just goes into remission once in awhile.
Kind regards,
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Old 25-09-2008, 14:04   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Welcome aboard RickD. I think you are gonna fit right in - LOL.

It's a great journey. At first you have an idea of what you don't know but you don't know what you don't know you don't know.

Lot's of folks around here (looks in mirror) don't know a lot....

But there are lot's that do...

Enjoy the winter and get prepped for lake sailing in the spring! Vacations to boat friendly places and maybe even a sailling class vacation!
Well, I'm a "know-it-all"... about a lot of things, and I'm an expert in several fields.

But, I also know my limitations and I only know enough about sailing to point out parts of a sailboat, and some things about the wind now. I have read two decent books on the subject in the past few weeks (while on vacation in Jamaica) and I obviously don't remember it all yet. I'm working to memorize and KNOW what phrases mean, what the wind does (things like leeward, windward, close reach, broad reach etc).

So, I'm so much of a newbie with this - I admit it. So, basically I know NOTHING about it other than what I've read. Until I put hands-on and examine the real physics behind what is happening, what the sails do up close and personal, I won't quite get it. Once I DO "get it" though, I will get it "good".
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Old 25-09-2008, 14:06   #10
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Aloha Rick,
Welcome aboad! Lots of us old retired military guys here. I think you got me beat on number of countries but I too didn't get to Australia. I have been to all 50 states though. The cruising style/liveaboard/sailing lifestyle is an affliction and very few of us ever have it cured it just goes into remission once in awhile.
Kind regards,
JohnL
Thanks, Sir.

I take it you're in Hawaii?

When you coming to the states? Maybe the wife and I can come along and crew for you on the way back? hehehe.
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Old 26-10-2008, 19:21   #11
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I wanted to say thanks for the advice and information I've received from this site in the last few weeks. I was reading for some time before I registered so I was a lurker for a bit.

My wife and I took the "plunge" and bought a 'training boat' yesterday.

The boat is a Macgregor Venture 25. I got her home yesterday evening - and have started a blog to document our journey.

The boat has never been named, needs a little work, but not too much. We're going to use her over the summer to practice sailing techniques.

We're going to be in classes in March - at the advice of some of the folks here, to have someone SHOW us proper technique and so forth. We're reading all we can get our hands on, and will get the class material beforehand so we can study and pass our tests first time.

The blog has a few pictures - one of which might interest some of you

We actually signed the paperwork and bought the boat at 11313 feet altitude above sea level

Was a fun thing, and a very... "interesting" ride back down the mountain. I had not towed ANYTHING in nearly twenty years, let alone a 2300 something pound boat and trailer.

I spent today ripping the "guts" out of the boat removing a lot of stuff, and some wood, carpet and other things that just have to go.

I'll be replacing the wiring, the "ceiling" (it was a plywood covered with carpet) with some nice wood and redoing cushions, replacing or rebuilding the stove.

The rudder needs replacing (I'll be building one) and refinishing the tiller.

The mast mounting and hardware have all been removed and I'll be replacing some parts there.

The boat appears to have never had water IN it - and I found a few minor incidents of previous leaks, all easily fixed.

The one major thing I found was the rudder brackets are mounted through a heavy plywood board inside the stern and this appears to be the original work. It's messy. The board is rotted and requires replacement.

All-in-all, this boat - which has a drop-down keel (weighted at about 625 pounds or so) is very good condition.

it's been in Colorado since 1991 (I made a few phone calls and traced it's history here).

The last owner is from Louisiana and owned several boats in the past, but was a 60 yr old bachelor who really used the boat one season on the Blue Mesa Reservoir. The boat spent the last ten years there, so I know two of the owners.

The PREVIOUS owner brought it from out of state. I'm trying to determine if she was in the ocean at all. So far, no luck.

Here's the strange thing about the boat... in all her twenty-nine years (born in August 1979) she has never been named at all. There were no "logs" per se, and there's no painting or anything that would indicate a name. The last owner said he was told it was never named either.

Here's the blog - and the soon-to-be name of the vessel... Cleaning out the Old | Winds of Change

Enjoy. Some pictures there of me, the "Admiral", the boat... and some of my writing.

By the way - I'm going to say this here, even if someone doesn't LIKE it - tough - the name has NOTHING to do with the current election, Obama or his nonsense. The "Winds of Change" is what my wife and I are going through and what this world seems to be doing around us.

After 50-something years on this planet, I am sincerely getting tired of "day-to-day" existence, going to work, and doing all the crap that other people bleed me for. I'm actually sick of it.

I'm ready to call it quits, retire.. and move on with real life, the life I should have lived a long, long time ago before I got married and had kids, had responsibility and was a "good citizen".

Now, I want freedom. I now understand the REAL pirates of the Caribbean - and not their lawlessness, but rather their need for Freedom.

I have FOUGHT for freedom for more than thirty years in the military and in my jobs with the government. It's time to move on, time to take a break and time to fish... time to travel, visit places, and see people again, as people and not adversaries.

I sure hope you all wish me luck with that....
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Old 26-10-2008, 21:17   #12
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Welcome aboard Rick,
As a fellow Coloradan I can appreciate your zeal to get out of the snow for a few weeks a year! It's nice to know that people in a land locked state can enjoy the sport. I live in Steamboat Springs with my wife and family and we use boating as an escape from the snow at least once a month. We had over 500 inches of snow last year.
Congrats on your new purchase. I started on a boat much smaller and the bigger ones are easier to sail. I recommend looking into one of the several courses run on both coasts by the American Sailing Association. You can turn a course into an enjoyable vacation and the east coast courses will start up soon as hurricane season wanes.
If you would like to talk in person send me your email address and we can exchange numbers.
Dick
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Old 27-10-2008, 07:08   #13
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We're probably going to take our basic keelboat course up in Denver and the other courses on east coast somewhere (so we're NEAR the Caribbean at least!)

Our ultimate goal once we're sailing is to improve our skills and use that vacation time you mentioned to our benefit to put us in situations we need to be in - to be on the ocean (neither of us is 100% sure this is something we will like for instance). It's something we want to do, but... my experience with ships at sea were on big ships - landing on an Aircraft carrier a couple of times and taking a smaller boat across to a destroyer out at sea.

She's been on boats in the Great Lakes, but usually in sight of land. Me too.

Then I got sea sick once on a stupid little glass bottomed boat (I was looking down instead of out... yuk).

I was Air Force, not Navy so I've been in a lot more planes than most people and I got used to them (I hate flying actually, it's too high up for me!)

So - all in all we want to learn sailing from people who are good at it, and place ourselves in the places we eventually want to sail ourselves.

We didn't get as much snow here in the Springs as you did, but we sure saw more than our fair share of blizzards just last year.
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Old 27-10-2008, 10:39   #14
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Rick;
Twelve years ago, I was where you are today. Living in Colorado (30 years) and dreaming about cruising and being a liveaboard. I bought an 18 foot Buccaneer sailboat and lake sailed all over the state and Neb. (
Dillon, Green Mt, Pueblo and McConaughy). It's good experience if for no other reason than the water is so cold you never want to go in it.
In 98 I signed up with Modern Sailing Acadamy in Sausalito and took their Bare boat and Keel boat class. They were a week long very intensive session that taught me a lot. The next year I signed up for their offshore class. There is a big difference in sailing a small boat on lakes and being in the open ocean. It's a big jump.
In 99 I sold my house in Evergreen and packed my pickup and moved to San Diego. I had come out here on jobs and vaction and got a boat broker to start looking for boats that would fit me. After moving, it still took about 4 months of looking at boats to finally find what I was looking for. Don't be in a hurry to buy.
To make a long story shorter, I have been living on my boat now for 9 years. Two years ago I did the Baja Ha Ha to Mexico and I now cruise the Pacific coast of Mexico in the winter and come back to San Diego in the summer to work and get money to cruise again.
The only warning that I will give is stand back and look at all of the "stuff" you have now and know that it will all have to go. I went from a 2000 sq. ft. house to what could fit in the back of my pickup, and most of that I have gotten rid of. You really find out what is important to you when you make the jump.
The gist of all of this is "Just do it" It can be done and it can be allot of fun. Just be prepared for major changes in thinking and living habit.
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Old 27-10-2008, 10:50   #15
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We're very aware of the "stuff has to go" aspect.

The wife is already doing mental inventories on what is going to which kid at this point. Right now, it's mental exercise.

We're not even sailing lakes yet - so it all will be "in time" - however, we're setting up a "time table", not one we have to adhere to exactly, but "by this time we want to have accomplished" x or y.

We both are pretty aware of the "What if we don't LIKE this" part - and part of our plan is to take part in other sailing adventures long before we make the final commitment.

I love my job and she loves hers. Why do this? We want to try. We're young enough to do it, and can swing it monetarily (assuming we're saving good - which we are) and we are careful with everything.

Each thing we're doing is throughly considered, thought out and discussed before we make the decision. The boat was a team decision between my wife and I.

We might invite our kids into other decisions that require other points of view than our own too later on.

Final decisions are done by my wife and I - and either of us can veto the other's decision, but no overrule. I can say no to something I think is dumb (as can she) but I can't say yes to something she has second thoughts about.

As of now - she's decided I'm the skipper on the boat - and she's the skipper of the house. That could change in the future depending on the depth of experience we each have.

So - thanks for the information and advice. We'll keep on plugging
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