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Old 22-08-2016, 15:46   #1
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Scary Putting This in Writing

Hi.

While I have been a long time boat owner, runabout/wakeboard, I am new to sailing. My goal is to cruise the world.

Live just outside of Dallas and about 4.5 hours from Galveston. I'm 51, divorced, with 2 kids in college. Here's my plan ..... rough cut anyway .....

2016:
Take a 4 day, 2 weekend sailing class at local lake sailing club and crew if possible

2017:
ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing
ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising
ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising
ASA 114, Cruising Catamaran
Not all at once, maybe split although I know some schools offer packages
Catamaran Charter with Captain, listen and learn
Maybe purchase a small sailboat and sail my local lake or crew on other boats here

2018:
ASA 106, Advanced Coastal Cruising
ASA 107, Celestial Navigation
ASA 108, Offshore Passagemaking
Continue local sailing
1 Bareboat Charter
1 Captain Charter
Begin researching long term live aboard boat purchase (ok, already started that)

2019 .... maybe 2018:
Take job transfer to Bradenton, FL .... hopefully that option will exist (very open question)
Purchase new to me boat, catamaran
Live aboard, sail, learn, upgrade said boat for blue water cruising
If new boat not purchased, 1 maybe 2 bare boat charters, possibly 1 with captain, continue learning.

This is where it gets a bit unclear. Live aboard for a few years. Take more ASA classes/certifications/endorsements. Retire no later than 57.

Somehow make my way up to Nova Scotia, then back down the eastern seaboard to FL. FL over to the Bahamas, the BVI and Caribbean sailing. From there down to Panama and out to the south pacific. Not sure how many years just getting to Panama would take, but no hurry.

I figure I have to learn the following between now and then:
- Sailing
- Safety
- Water / plumbing systems
- Electrical ... consumption, solar, wind, batteries, charging
- Diesel engines
- Anchoring
- Communication ... vhf, ssb, sat phone
- Electronicsnavigation, radar
-Map reading
- Environmental ... wind, currents, cyclone/hurricane seasons
- Provisioning
- Laws
- Advanced first aid

To be continued ...... when I figure the rest out.

Yes, thats a handful and so much to learn and no clue at this time about a crew, but yes looking for my +1.

Excited about what's ahead!!!
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Old 22-08-2016, 16:25   #2
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

clbegis, good for you to have a plan that leads to cruising. You've laid out for yourself a lot to learn and a lot of classes to get you there.

Everyone learns in their own way. Some like classes, some like hands on trial and error. You know yourself best. You know which path will work for you. I'm sure you have given this much thought. You've laid out 3+ years of fairly expensive classes. You are probably aware that many of the people on this forum have taken fewer (or no) classes and learned by trial and error, often moving from dinghy/daysailer experience to larger cruising boats. A lot of the knowledge you need will really only come through experience. You figure stuff out as you need to.

The only real advice I can offer is that to achieve big complex goals, like long distance cruising, it is best to take it one small step at a time. Learn, practice, repeat, learn some more.


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Old 22-08-2016, 16:46   #3
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Scary Putting This in Writing

Sounds like you've thought about this a lot. Seems like a decent plan.

The one suggestion I have is to learn to SAIL now. By that I mean get a dinghy, Laser for preference, and start sailing it 3 hours every other weekend. The ASA courses are great but the sailing part can get lost in the details of managing a large boat. The sailing part is a basic safety skill and is worth developing before all the other skills.

From having taught sailing on dinghies and medium sized keelboats I can say the folks that started in dinghies learned more and didn't tend to become overwhelmed by the process when they moved up to keelboats.

If you can find an adult class locally or a local yacht club that has such classes either would be a good start.


A house is but a boat so poorly built and so firmly run aground you would never try to refloat it.
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A house is but a boat so poorly built and so firmly run aground no one would think to try and refloat it.
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Old 22-08-2016, 16:51   #4
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

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A house is but a boat so poorly built and so firmly run aground you would never try to refloat it.
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Old 22-08-2016, 17:28   #5
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

just get out there and sail. Sounds like a lot of training but no real experience. We all learn differently, but all that formal training is nice but not necessary. Not sure how one learns to sail in Dallas but if there are any sailing clubs it would be a good start.
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Old 22-08-2016, 17:39   #6
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

Overall your long opening post looks like you've put some thought into your plan.

One observation: the 2016 and part of the 2017 plan can be handled as the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clbegis View Post
2016:
Take a 4 day, 2 weekend sailing class at local lake sailing club and crew if possible

2017:
ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing
ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising
A bunch of schools run ASA 101 & ASA 103 as either: a 4 weekend course, or a 5 day M-F course. This gives you the knowledge to get out and sail a bit and gain experience on the water.

The quoted part of your plan reads to me like taking a 4 day introductory course, then taking a 5 day introductory course (101/103). I'm suggesting that you just take the introductory course then spend some time out on the water.
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Old 22-08-2016, 17:41   #7
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

Hi, welcome,

My take is to minimise time spent taking courses and maximise time spent sailing.

Sailing is a sport, you learn it by doing it, not by reading or listening about it.

This much said, some courses are the only way to get something and then you take them: e.g. where I live one can't get their VHF papers without taking a 2 hrs course and then taking an exam.

Another thing possibly worth of note is over-planning. Having a great plan is only half as good as having none and starting at the beginning then making one step forward at a time.

Having a great plan AND doing it beats any other attitude, except for being born rich.

Have fun learning to sail.

b.
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Old 22-08-2016, 17:56   #8
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

Making a living is a curse for sailors, both those who are sailing for that living and those who are not. Other than that I second the idea in posts #3 amd #5, to start sailing NOW on something small and affordable. You will learn in the process, and many of your planned lessons will be put in a real life context. Enjoy.
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Old 22-08-2016, 18:28   #9
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

You get an "A" in plan writing, and it's great to have a clear goal.

That said, I second the concept of buying a small, used sailing dinghy, and go play with it. It'll teach you a whole lot about what to do and how you like to do it. The progression from little boats to larger ones structures the timing of your learning. Unless you have a specific need (either from inside yourself or applied externally) for pieces of paper to show your formal training, historically, by far the greater number of sailors learned without formal instruction. You can do it, too. Basically, become an experienced sailor before spending a whole lot of money, and you'll eventually have honed your preferences, and knowledge. It's a much better place to start cruising from, learning as you go.

I have a monohull bias. I personally would not choose any cat to take to Nova Scotia, partly because of all the area from which to lose warmth, but also deep concerns about the seaworthiness of catamarans. This is not the place to start a mono vs. cat debate, and you're welcome to your preferences.

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Old 22-08-2016, 18:59   #10
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
I personally would not choose any cat to take to Nova Scotia, partly because of all the area from which to lose warmth, but also deep concerns about the seaworthiness of catamarans. This is not the place to start a mono vs. cat debate, and you're welcome to your preferences.

Ann
I think you just did...
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Old 22-08-2016, 19:01   #11
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

Thanks for all the great feedback. I actually think we are on the same page.

I am taking a local sailing class the first 2 weekends of September. I hope to meet some great people and possibly someone with a sailboat. I already know many people on my lake, Lake Lewisville, and hope to be able to sail with them for this year and as mentioned, buy something small next year and just learn to sail on my local lake.

I am really hoping to combine real life sailing, mistakes and learning with classes. For me ... absolutely recognize everyone is different, I think the classes will give me an idea, outline if you will, what I need to learn, then go experience. My idea is to intermix the classes with real life experience. Use both as learning tools.

This is just an outline and I really look forward to posting my progress there.

Thanks again!!!!!
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Old 22-08-2016, 20:01   #12
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

Just seconding what's been said above, I started with a laser and that was the sum total of my sailing dreams. Then it just got out of control, I did the ASA up to costal navigation 105 I think. Then chartered a small boat in the BVI I never felt vastly short of knowledge or skill, experience yes I was short of that but that is over after the first time you do everything... Pick up a mooring ball, dock, hoist sail, drop anchor, try to sleep on anchor...

Just do it... Don't get carried away with the courses, dingy, some ASA, charter, buy a boat.

P.s I haven't got my big boat yet, waiting for my son to start driving then the admiral says I can go play for a while. But I am having fun chartering...
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Old 22-08-2016, 20:47   #13
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

Any idea what you will be doing March 23rd 2020 at 2:38pm.?
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Old 22-08-2016, 21:58   #14
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

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Any idea what you will be doing March 23rd 2020 at 2:38pm.?
Doesn't matter... Its a Monday, nothing good ever happens on a Monday....

Sent from my C6730 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 22-08-2016, 22:12   #15
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Re: Scary Putting This in Writing

Go race on other peoples' boats. You'll learn much faster than taking courses. Take a few to get over the initial learning hurdles, then go find a boat to crew on.

I raced on others' boats (mostly fore deck skipper) and learned a lot about how far you can push the boat and sails, how to trim the sails, how to trim the boat. Ever surfed a Yankee 30? It will in the right conditions with a chute up!

I did this (crewed, not surfed) on several different boats and got a good feel for how the different boats respond; some don't respond, others are like sailing large dinghys. We hit whales, got hit by whales, hit other boats, got hit by other boats, sometimes we won, often placed.
One time I was getting the foredeck ready for the chute (pole was up, lines were ready, fixin to get the chute on deck), then BAM, out from the lee of the headsail came a hobie33. Damn near split the bastard in half. Well not really, but we did stop abruptly and left me clinging to the headstay and left a huge hole in the Hobie hull, fortunately above the water line.

Sat for days in light winds, fought strong winds and seas beating to the windward mark, puked more times than I can count because I was sweating down below smelling boat smell while packing the chute, night finishes, dodging tankers, being cold and wet, dismastings, broken steering cables running with the chute 1/4 mile from the finish line (breakwaters of the harbor, < 1/2 mile off the surf in 25+ kts of wind. Knocked on my a$$ by rough seas changing headsails (some were hanks, others were foils (was no roller furling).

I had a Hobie 16 for a few years. Almost always single-handed, often in winds over 20 kts. I sewed a reef point in the main so I could keep sailing when the winds picked up. It really reduced weather helm when reefed. Those things can really go fast, scary fast!

You won't learn all the things you need to by taking hours of classes. Classes are helpful to a degree, but they ain't real life and the wind doesn't give a s*%t how many classes you took. Find local racers looking for crew and get a small boat (i.e. laser, etc...) for when you can't find a boat.

Get a windsurfer, then you will really know how to trim a sail.

edit: once you've raced for a while, you will easily be able to spot the out-of-trim boats and will have the urge to hop aboard and adjust the sheets.
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