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Old 25-05-2014, 20:14   #1
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Sailing Virgin, well, almost

Hello Everyone,

New girl in town here. 28 year old solo female with 2 year old solo dog.

Sailing virgin, well, almost. I have sailed on a 30' sailboat and 15-20' catamaran, with one other person, recreationally, day trips, in lakes and Puget Sound (Salish Sea), in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, WA).

Love to swim and water activities. Recently completed a 6 month, 2,500+ mile backpacking journey on the P.C.T. (Mexico to Canada). Living in the backcountry wilderness, carrying all supplies on my back.

I'm thinking of driving my Land Yacht aka Westfalia van, cross country to Florida Keys. Looking to gain experience and continue a working adventure/travel lifestyle from southern Florida/keys around Caribbean. I'd love to find some sort of apprentice/internship type arrangement, join a team/crew doing whatever needs doing, gain experience, and learn through action.

Hoping to get advice/feedback from all the experienced professionals out there. Are the Keys a good place to start my beginner sailer journey? What types of opportunities are there for a "virgin" like myself, without certification? What are some good resources/starting points?

Your knowledge is greatly appreciated! Thank you.
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Old 26-05-2014, 01:08   #2
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Re: Sailing Virgin, well, almost

I am no ways near the Florida keys and not an experienced professional but wish you all the best in your adventures. If you end up in Australia you will be able to fly "Virgin" Airlines all over this "virgin" land
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Old 26-05-2014, 02:54   #3
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Re: Sailing Virgin, well, almost

Welcome to the forum. I haven't been down that way in a few years. It can be a daunting place for new comers. Recently my Mother was in Key West camping in her van on the street, and was pretty much given the bum's rush, because she didn't want to pay $400 a night for a room in a hotel. This is a conservative van, all white, she was just sleeping in one place for the night. I can't speak for the rest of the Keys, but I would say, "They've seen your kind before" and they can be less than gracious. No reflection on you, it is the ones who came before you that left a bad taste in the locals mouthes. I've done some van living in Florida and you need to be creative to keep from being hassled. You have some really great cruising grounds right in Salish sea, and the locals are a sight friendlier. Get your experience there, and you can stand toe to toe with any other sailors out there and hold your own. Of course advice is worth exactly what it costs.
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Old 26-05-2014, 05:26   #4
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Hi... Welcome to CF.
You don't really say what skills.. if any.. you have to interest potential employers etc..
If I may suggest.. instead of heading direct to Florida hit the coast further North and start at Oriental, NC.. this is a town on the ICW with several B/yards who are always looking for staff (its a transient industry by nature) and has a large boating community.. you could start by offering valeting services.. maybe one of the sail makers or brokers needs staff.. really its about getting yourself known and liked.
If there's nothing there that appeals then drive South to Beaufort and check the scene there.. and jump on down the coast.. the Keys sound sexy and all.. but the ICW is where you'll find a start in my opinion.. save the Keys for when you've built a foundation..
Check out Oriental here to get an idea of the place...
www.towndock.net
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Old 04-06-2014, 19:54   #5
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Re: Sailing Virgin, well, almost

Hello OffTheGridGirl,

You might consider a more northerly starting point. Yachting hubs like Newport, Rhode Island are just getting underway and are presently looking for staff. Later this Summer, you will have some history, and many of those same yachts will be heading south.
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Old 04-06-2014, 20:36   #6
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Re: Sailing Virgin, well, almost

Welcome to CF

Just to clarify..... Are you looking for a "berth-internship" that includes the dog?
That would be difficult!

Sounds like you have a great attitude with strong and multifunctional abilities

Suggest you Google professional crew forums and agencies to get a better sense of what the tradeoffs are.
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Old 05-06-2014, 20:29   #7
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Re: Sailing Virgin, well, almost

Hello. The Keys are, as captain58 said, a bit jaded toward transients.. However, there are great sailing communities in other parts of Florida and the Gulf. I am currently in New Orleans where we've been building a pretty substantial community of sailors and DIYers that may be just the unconventional yet knowledgable type of folks you are seeking.. And there's always room for more! Oakland/SF also has a great growing community of "underground" sailor and boater types.. Look up "washed up yacht club" on Facebook if you subscribe to that. If you're headed south, though.. Stop by New Orleans and look us up.. Lake Pontchartrain is a great body of water to get your chops up on before heading out to bigger waters... Best of luck to you!
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Old 13-06-2014, 16:20   #8
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Re: Sailing Virgin, well, almost

If I could think of one place NOT to start a new life it would be KW... Maybe 20 yrs ago but not today, greed & corruption be the mainstay... Just about anywhere on a Carolina coast (except myrtleB) would be hard to beat till ya get yer sealegs.. Good luck!
Ps Oriental is a pretty good port o call... I have a cabin near chapel hill, your welcome to park the landyacht there as long as you like, dog too...
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Old 31-08-2014, 13:16   #9
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Re: Sailing Virgin, well, almost

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good luck in finding a crew position.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:31   #10
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Re: Sailing Virgin, well, almost

Howdy and Welcome Aboard!

Backpacking the PCT is a great accomplishment! I wish I could say I had done that!

As others here have mentioned, Key West is known to be expensive and a difficult place to live cheaply.

I wish you the best of luck!
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