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Old 10-10-2012, 12:40   #1
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Still on Land

This past weekend I was sitting on the sand at South Padres Island. I flew in from Ohio to attend my 81 year old Uncles funeral on Friday. My Uncle was a world traveler. I have admired him my entire live. His mode of travel was a 19' Road Trek. Back to Padres Island. While sitting on the sand reflecting..... I sailboat crossed in front of me. It was at that moment that I began thinking about the remainder of my life. At 55+ I am beginning to count the years ahead and have a craving to plan and do something different. Over the past few days I been looking at and am seriously considering living aboard a cruiser. I have investigated sailing schools and am considering signing up for a seven day sailing class in Bahama obtaining my class 101, 103 and 104 certification. My sailing experience is limited to a sunfish in the summer of 1979. I have lived in Virginia and have spent extensive time visiting beaches all over the United States. Both salt and fresh water. With everything I have said here..... What advise can you all give me?? I am interested in your experiences. So please take some time and share them with me. Thanks for listening...

JS
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Old 10-10-2012, 13:00   #2
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Re: Still on Land

Welcome to the forum. First comment, don't expect anyone on this forum to dissuade you. Nothing but a bunch of boat nuts here.

I think you have a realistic plan to learn sailing. I can promise that not a single member of this forum was born an expert. We all have to start somewhere, some younger, some older.

If this is your dream classes are a great place to start. Puts you in with experienced sailors and gives you hands on practice on handling and navigating a boat.

When I started out I got the sailing bug bad but had zero experience on any sort of boat beyond my father's 12' aluminum Sears fishing boat. I didn't have the money to pay for sailing classes, in fact not even sure if there were sailing classes in those days, so I just immersed myself in everything boat related. Checked out every book in the local library that even vaguely related to any aspect of boating. Put the word out and managed to pick up a couple of unpaid crew positions to deliver some boats back and forth to the islands. After a few trips and more reading I took off on my own.

If you have the spare time, check out this and other forums for owners looking for crew to help them move their boat from A to B. This time of year there is a huge exodus of boats from the NE US to FL and the islands. Come spring they are all heading back the other way. Great place to get some experience. At least for the first time look for boats that plan to make the trip in the ICW or along the coast. That way if things don't work out, the owner turns into Capt Bligh or something, you can bail out easily and get home.
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Old 10-10-2012, 13:04   #3
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Re: Still on Land

Get a small dingy and get on the water and learn to sail, ASAP!!

The rest will fall into place..
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Old 10-10-2012, 13:17   #4
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Re: Still on Land

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Get a small dingy and get on the water and learn to sail, ASAP!!

The rest will fall into place..
Second that recommendation. The best way to learn how sail is in a small boat. Everything you do with the sails gives you immediate feedback so you can easily see the effect on boat speed, heeling, course, etc.

This you can learn pretty quickly. The rest of it you will spend the rest of your life learning: docking and handling, navigation, maintenance of engines, pumps, wiring, plumbing, etc, etc, etc, weather, safety and all the myriad things involved in managing a floating home. For me that's a great part of the allure.
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Old 10-10-2012, 13:22   #5
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Re: Still on Land

Thanks for the quick replys. I have ordered a few books from Amazon and have spent the last few days "not working" like I should but instead trying to get as much info off of the internet as I possibly can. I am not certain that sailing classes are the answer but I have to start somewhere. I might be interested in signing on with a crew but am wondering if anyone would be interested in hiring a 55+ novice person? This whole thing might seem like a crazy idea but I have lost 8 of my friends this year and I don't like the thought of me saying on my death bed that I wish I would have tried it. I have always regretted not joining the Coast Guard.
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Old 10-10-2012, 13:41   #6
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Re: Still on Land

I've taken the ASA courses and they are great, even though I'd been sailing for many years before I took the classes. If you pick the right school, you'll be able to sail 2 to 3 different boats and get a pretty good feel for boats of all sizes. I took the course with a couple of novices, and while I sat and watched the sunsets with a sundowner in my hand, they studied and sweated over what they were reading in the books.

I ain't against learnin', but you'll learn a lot more by sailing and making mistakes. It is much better to learn when help is nearby, than to learn 500 miles from help.

Two approaches to that:

Walk the docks at your local yacht club, and someone will be looking for crew for a race, or just for some company. Keep a log and you'll soon have a resume for bigger and better things.

Look on craigslist, ebay, etc. in your area and pick up a small sailboat. This is the time of year to buy a boat, because most people don't want to store one over the winter.
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Old 10-10-2012, 13:57   #7
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Do you have any sailing school suggestions?
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Old 10-10-2012, 14:27   #8
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Re: Still on Land

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Originally Posted by Rhecors View Post
With everything I have said here..... What advise can you all give me??
JS

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Old 10-10-2012, 15:34   #9
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I started on small garage sale sailboats. Never had a sailing lesson, but lots of reading and paying attention over the years.

Get a small sailboat and get out on the water.
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Old 10-10-2012, 16:24   #10
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Re: Still on Land

Many ways to get started - all have pros and cons. IMO the best way is a mix of courses, crewing on other people's boats (OPB) and owning and skippering own (no matter how small).

You starting off with a few courses (and somewhere warm!) is a pretty good way to kick off. After all, you may discover you don't actually enjoy being stuck on a boat! (nothing wrong with that - most people probably don't), so not starting with own boat makes sense.

After that I would try crewing (locally) with a view to buying own boat ASAP. Can learn on any size of boat (bigger / smaller both have pros and cons). If time permits then a couple of years "simply messing around" in your own boat (plus some time as crew on OPB) is time well spent. and fun. Personally I would suggest for a first boat smaller is better (others will disagree!), if only for the fact that if you buy with more enthusiasm than knowledge that the mistake (of buying $10k of bills on a $5k boat) won't be so costly to sell yourself out of as $50k of bills on a $50k boat .

Lots of other threads from folks in similar shoes to your own - CF well worth a read .

The good news is that sailing and boats is not rocket science. No harder to learn than driving a car. The challenge comes from when things become harder than expected (breakages / weather / bad luck / mistakes - or a bit of everything!), because unlike a car you can't catch a cab home when it stops being fun / you move out of your comfort zone. When the smelly stuff hits the fan it is up to you.

Bon Voyage
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Old 09-11-2012, 15:49   #11
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Re: Still on Land

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here. The fastest and safest way to learn sail handling is through a basic sailing course. Yes, anyone can learn by just buying a small boat and reading a couple of books but they won't do it as quickly or as precisely nor know automatically what the rules of the road really mean.
There might be a local sailing club that offers courses from time to time.
Good luck in whichever way you pursue your dreams.
kind regards,
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