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Old 07-06-2009, 18:10   #1
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Starting a New Life

I had a massive Heart Attack (widow maker)on 10/08 & 11/08 & 1/09.
Its been my lifes dream to sail. My family has been holding me back just in the event something would happen while away from home. I dont want to look back at my life in 20 years and say why didnt I?
So I am considering the purchase of a 1979 Columbia 30'. The diesel needs some attention, I believe I can get it running. Complete overhaul if needed. Its some what affordable. I will be living aboard full time.
I hope to go up and down the coast, Bahamas, Cuba, and East Coast of Mexico. Would this be a fairly safe boat for such passages. Maybe Halibut fishing in Homer, Alaska some day.
Being on a fixed income now this boat is within my price range. There arent to many that are. What is your opinion on the Columbia 30?
Would it be roomy enough? And somewhat stable in rough seas?
Your opions would be highly appreciated.

Next question.
Ive had my dog for 8 years. I Love him hes my best friend.
He now is 12-13 years old. If I leave him behind I will miss out on his last years. But if I dont go it could be my last years.
My question is how do you get a full sized shepard to do his business at sea? A piece of artificial turf? Plastic fire hydrant?
Thanks in Advance
Shad
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Old 07-06-2009, 18:18   #2
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Has your shepherd (Iam assuming GSD) ever been sailing? Mine hate it, and cower in the corner when the ship heals. Now they won't even go out the pier to the boat. Also, GSD's need room to run.....

ps: Have you ever tried to lift 100lbs of wet GSD back aboard?
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Old 07-06-2009, 18:32   #3
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Welcome to the Forum, Shad. We're glad you've joined us.

I'm sorry to read of your health issues, but I applaud your determination to pursue your sailing dreams in spite of them. Your wonderful attitude will serve you well as you attend to the refitting of the vessel and getting her back onto the water.

I well-understand your decision not to leave your best friend behind. If you did that, I'm sure it would break his heart and he would soon be gone. The bad news is that it may be impossible for such an old dog to adapt to the life aquatic. Have you considered how he will negotiate the steps from the cockpit into the cabin?

Most likely, you would have to go below first, then coax him into your arms to be lowered to the cabin sole. The process would have to be reversed to get him back up into the cockpit. Even a medium-sized Shepherd weighs about 60-80 pounds. I don't think even the fittest young male would find doing this very agreeable.

But, even if you can figure out a way to get around that issue, the dog may never "agree" to go on the deck, carpet or not. After a long life on land, he may always insist on holding it until he's back ashore. I hope it isn't that way, for his sake and your's, but it wouldn't surprise me.

I hope this doesn't dissuade you from pursuing your dream. Acquiring the vessel and restoring it to a seaworthy condition could take a year or two, and at 13, a year or two to your Shepherd may be more time than he has left.

Losing a loving companion is always hard, but it sounds to me like he has had a wonderful life in your care. All of us, human and canine, only have so much time to live. Making his end-of-life as comfortable and pleasant as possible while you work on the restoration of the boat may well be the happiest times of the rest of your life.

I wish you, and your dog, all the best, Shad.

TaoJones
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Old 07-06-2009, 18:37   #4
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There's a great blog from a guy, Lee Winters, sailing with his dog, one of his blog entries discusses how the dog copes and the challenges:

Sailing for SOS = Helping Children Find Home
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Old 07-06-2009, 19:43   #5
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TaoJones ;
Well said.
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Old 07-06-2009, 20:02   #6
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Thank you for your input. I am so excited about changing my life. Actually retiring. And I never thought Id be able too. As for my dog I would most likely have to carry him in and out of the cabin. When he goes to get in the truck at home he puts his two front feet up and just waits there for me to pick up his rear end. Like, come on Dad were in a hurry here.
The boat I want to purchase is to be ready to go. I think it might be ready to go day sailing but not any distances. And when I am ready for the distances I dont think I'll be gone more than a few months at a time.
I believe I will take Cubby(my Dog) seeing as we will most likely be docked or on the hard for awhile. And when we do the snowbird thing and migrate to florida they will most likely be day time short sails. Who knows maybe I can teach him to use the head by then.
Thank you for your input. What is your opinion on the Columbias? 30 footer in perticular?

Thanks again
Shad
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Old 07-06-2009, 20:07   #7
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He's been on the pontoon and was a coward. He hates water with a passion. I took him swimming several times he is heavy. He clings to me as if he were a toddler and it was his first day of school. I'll figure something out. Worst case senario is he stays home with my mother.
Thanks again Shad

Quote:
Originally Posted by redcobra View Post
Has your shepherd (Iam assuming GSD) ever been sailing? Mine hate it, and cower in the corner when the ship heals. Now they won't even go out the pier to the boat. Also, GSD's need room to run.....

ps: Have you ever tried to lift 100lbs of wet GSD back aboard?
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Old 07-06-2009, 20:38   #8
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Shad-
"Would this be a fairly safe boat for such passages." Arguably, no, at least not yet, not for you. While some boats are inherently safer (stronger built, more resistant to rollover, etc.) that others, the most important piece of equipment on an offshore boat is the skipper. If you have to ask whether a particular boat is up to the job, that means you're conservative and you have your eyes open (good things!) but you don't have the experience to take it safely offshore, especially considering weather. With luck (and experience) some folks manage to dodge extreme weather very well. Others get caught out in it, and the ocean can and will overpower anything we can float on it.

Personally, I'd say do not buy a boat yet. Instead, take some sailing classes and even some racing classes, and start crewing on other people's boats. The contacts you make in the classes and at yacht club docks will make that easy. As you get a chance to see how different boats handle in different conditions, you'll find they each have unique personalities and quirks, and some things will impress or outright repel you. Along the way, you'll be able to better decide how you can handle offshore sailing, and how much boat you want to handle it with.

For a lot of good opinions in one place, try ordering Practical Sailor's books of their used boat reviews. Probably 50 boats in each book, extensive owner feedback, extensive comments about each one. A lot of very good detailed information in one place.
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Old 07-06-2009, 20:42   #9
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Columbias are good strong boats, you wont find one younger than 20-25 years old because they stopped building them in the 70s I believe. I would try and find one that has been restored (it will be more like an adoption than buying ). Columbias have a strong following you can see em at Columbia Yacht Owners Association .
You have good taste, they are sweet boats and sail well.

Godspeed to your dreams,

Erika

PS great thread about a guy that didn't let his illness keep him from his dreams
Never Give Up!
worth the read
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Old 07-06-2009, 21:02   #10
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Welcome Shad,
When you do get around to Homer, stop by and say howdy, I used to run halibut charters here and I can give you some good numbers. Depending on when you come, I may be in Sitka, trolling salmon, starting in 2010. Anyway we'd be glad to see up this way.
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Old 07-06-2009, 22:00   #11
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Thanks Captain. I was on the spit in '04 ex and I rented an RV for 3 weeks. I love Homer. Camped next to the Eagle lady..The seafarers memorial lets you speechless.. Went for halibut with silver fox. Capt Gary Brazen. I love Halibut shipped home 150lbs. I will definetly drop you a line. Beautiful town Thanks Capt.
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Old 07-06-2009, 22:59   #12
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You bet, Shad,
Sadly the Eagle Lady is no longer with us, she passed on this last winter. She and I used to work in the local seafood plant together many years ago. Best wishes on your new journey.
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Old 07-06-2009, 23:02   #13
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Sometimes life throws you a curve, and you got choices to make. Sounds like you made your choice and I applaud you for it.
Far as I know, the boat you seek will be fine for want you want to do with it. Your puppy should not have to much trouble negotiating the compainon way ladder on that boat. A older sheppard can't put much weight on his hips so a bit of help will be needed.
This is a coastal type boat though. It just depends on what you want to do. If your dream is getting to NZ, or rounding the horn, my thought is think again. But if you just want to get out on the water, see the intracoastal, the bahamas, etc, you should have not worries.

As far as your health. As a cardiac nurse with 24 years of expirence, I would remind you that medical care in the case of another even is pretty much out. Understanding these risks is imperitive to taking on something like this. Make sure you have a dry storage of nitro tablets, and backups on a sealed vacuum sealed case. Same goes for all your meds.Watch your symptoms don't wait till it gets bad to do something about it. Life is a risk your just taking on a bit more than many are comfortable with, including your family. But in the end with all got to do what we have to do.

One last thought, try to get a boat that needs little or no work. It adds up believe me, and what might seem like a few months can get big in a hurry, and defeat you.
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Old 15-06-2009, 14:55   #14
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Aloha Shad,
Welcome aboard! Celestialsailor loaned me a great book about a fellow that had heart problems and continued to cruise. Can't remember the book's title but it certainly was a great story of courage.
Good to have you here and you might look up Celestialsailor on the registry and send him a messge. He has a similar story.
kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 15-06-2009, 15:15   #15
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If your best friend wont go, dont go.... seriously.
or... for the cost of a boat, and the potential heart attack an old boat will bring on due to repairs etc...and with your health, consider chartering. You can be there in a couple of weeks! ....instead of with your head down inside a bilge trying to fix something. You will come back to your friend and start researching the next adventure! Heck, we never know... your own time could be limited to one wonderful charter, better to have gone than spent too long planning and repairing....
or.... The other way to look at it I suppose is that you will spend a couple of years getting a boat that old ready, by then your friend may have passed anyway... and that's if he cant get used to sailing. Dont abandon your friend....
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