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Old 23-12-2014, 17:47   #1
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pirate Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Hello CF,

My name is Matt and have been lurking around the forum for over a year. My girlfriend, Jessica, and I are originally from Pennsylvania but moved to Florida this year with our jobs to escape the cold and to begin our cruising dream. We have paid off most of our debt this month, and are hoping to purchase a boat within the next 3 or 4 months to give us a few months to prepare to move on board when our lease is up in September. We intend on working for about 5 years to learn about our boat, outfit it to meet our cruising needs, and save up money for a few years of cruising.
Our cruising dream is a combination of looking for adventure, wanting to travel to as many places as possible and not having to be on a set schedule, as well as becoming part of a community that appears (at least to us) to be friendlier than most, consisting of all types of people from every background you can imagine.
Our sailing experience is basically non existent. We took a days worth of lessons on a sailing dinghy in Lake Erie last year and other than that have just been reading a lot of books and watching tons of videos. We are considering taking sailing classes, but some of the books I have read suggest that the money is better off going into the kitty and to find someone looking for crew to gain experience.
I joined the Seven Seas Cruising Association and between that and this forum I am hoping that we can become part of the community, learn as much as possible, and maybe find someone who can teach us how to sail.
I will do my best to stay away from topics like weapons, how much does cruising cost, and what are the best blue water cruising boats.
As a previous poster did, I will include a picture to put faces to the name.
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Old 24-12-2014, 09:29   #2
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Hi Matt and Jessica...Welcome to the forum. Tell us about your boat. Especially what type of anchor you use...he he he.
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Old 24-12-2014, 10:10   #3
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Matt & Jessica, over 35 years ago I learned to sail on a 10' styrofoam "sailboat". We then graduated to an 18' Chrysler Buccaneer. I believe and have often heard that the best way to learn sailing dynamics is on a small, responsive boat. Also, some of our best sailing memories came from day sails on the Buccaneer in both fresh and salt water. Over the years we continued to graduate into larger sailboats that extended our time and range on the water. However, our love for the sport and the water was born and nourished on that small trailer sailor.

While you are building the cruising bankroll, I would encourage you to get a used small trailerable boat and get out on the water as soon and as often as possible. That is where you will really learn and hone your sailing skills. The Tampa area has exceptional opportunities for this. Try putting in at Ft. De Soto. The gulf is wonderful there and perfect for day sailing.

Regards,
Brian & Carol McMahon
s/v Windchaser
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Old 24-12-2014, 11:29   #4
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Hi Matt and Jessica...Welcome to the forum. Tell us about your boat. Especially what type of anchor you use...he he he.
Thank you CS, No boat yet, but looking at a bluewater capable cruiser like a hunter
With the largest anchor possible, or maybe two anchors.....make that two of the largest anchors possible!
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Old 24-12-2014, 11:36   #5
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

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Originally Posted by Cal31 View Post
Matt & Jessica, over 35 years ago I learned to sail on a 10' styrofoam "sailboat". We then graduated to an 18' Chrysler Buccaneer. I believe and have often heard that the best way to learn sailing dynamics is on a small, responsive boat. Also, some of our best sailing memories came from day sails on the Buccaneer in both fresh and salt water. Over the years we continued to graduate into larger sailboats that extended our time and range on the water. However, our love for the sport and the water was born and nourished on that small trailer sailor.

While you are building the cruising bankroll, I would encourage you to get a used small trailerable boat and get out on the water as soon and as often as possible. That is where you will really learn and hone your sailing skills. The Tampa area has exceptional opportunities for this. Try putting in at Ft. De Soto. The gulf is wonderful there and perfect for day sailing.

Regards,
Brian & Carol McMahon
s/v Windchaser
Cal, thank you for the reply! I have been looking at some smaller trailerable boats, but since we are hoping to purchase our actual boat by June, hopefully sooner, we are exploring the option of renting a laser or sunfish during the weekends. If I do end up with a trailerable boat (Which is still possible because I have been craving being on the water for some time now) I will definitely be sailing around Ft. De Soto. It has been one of our favorite places to visit, except when the sun starts setting and the bugs come out!
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Old 24-12-2014, 12:18   #6
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Yep! The bugs rule after sundown.

A laser or sunfish would be great, or maybe a sailing dinghy to compliment the big boat when you get it. I fully admit that one of the greatest virtues I found in the small daysailor is that when you capsize it, it is almost fun getting it righted and bailed out (assuming the water isn't too cold). It provides a great opportunity to push the envelope and make mistakes with minimal consequences.

I remember one day of sailing at Ft. De Soto. It was sunny and hot so we just stopped and rolled off the boat into the fresh cool saltwater. I recall telling my wife that "it just doesn't get better than this".

You mentioned a Hunter...we rented a 33 in Key West one time and sailed to the Dry Tortugas. It was a windy, bouncy, November trip but the boat did well. We have also owned a Catalina 27 and 30. Both are fully capable of coastal cruising, which I define as up to 200 miles off, which includes the Tortugas and near Bahamas.

Once you get ready, the Tortugas is a must sail. It is just about due south of Tampa and takes about 24 hours by sail to get there from Tampa. It was our first "long" sail and was absolutely awesome.
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Old 24-12-2014, 14:16   #7
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

We are actually looking for a blue water cruiser capable of a possible circumnavigation. We may not complete a full circumnavigation but a trip to hawaii and beyond or a Europe journey isn't out of the question so we want a boat that is capable. I have been looking at a few Tayana 37s that are on the market in Florida. After January we plan on actually going to check boats out. I'm a little nervous since I do not know much about what to look for but Nigel Calder's book, along with "The Voyager's Handbook" by Beth A. Leonard and Don Casey's "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat" have been very helpful. Of course, when we do find a boat we like a full survey of all systems will be performed. On our budget (No more than $50k) I am not expecting a perfect, ready to go boat, but I do want a boat that is structurally sound.
The sailing dinghy is an excellent idea because it will still be useful for us when we purchase our cruising boat.
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Old 24-12-2014, 14:36   #8
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Waterway Guide's site has a good article on how to get the most out of a boat survey, to which I added a few more ideas. Might check that out. Also, most of the production boats have owner associations that can tell you a lot about typical problems associated with their particular model. For instance, when I was looking for a liveaboard, I learned to steer away from Endeavor 40s as they had real bad problems with soft decks (a real nightmare). Some of the Columbia models have saturated and ruined rudders. If replaced it could be a good boat. If I remember correctly, Tayanas at one time had hull delamination issues. The examples go on and on... This site and Sailnet would also be good places to ask about specific models.

One last thing to further confuse the issue; the boat year can be just as, or more, important than the model. We had a 1973 Cal 35 Cruiser for many years that was built like a tank and sailed well. The newer Cals (after 1980) were not as well built.
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Old 25-12-2014, 04:49   #9
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Wonderful, thank you for all of the advice. I have bookmarked two Waterway Guide articles (one about tips for surveys and one about marine surveys). I also signed up for the other forum and will start checking out owner's associations and looking up forum topics relating to specific models and years. I have started making a list of possible blue water cruisers in the 36' - 38' range and will make as many notes as possible to things to look for in specific years. If you have any more advice keep it coming! Are you familiar with the tampa area? Do you know any good, trustworthy surveyors you can recommend?
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Old 29-12-2014, 07:47   #10
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Welcome. I may have some information that will help you. Since you are in Tampa, check with the Davis Island Yacht Club. Its at the very bottom of Davis Island (where Tampa General Hospital is). On Thursday nights they have regattas. Little races on sailboats in the 25-35 foot range. They are always looking for crew. No experience is necessary. You just go there and sign up and someone will grab you for their boat. You can just be counterweight or you can do more. It depends on you and the captain. Either way you will gain knowledge and no longer have "non-existent experience". oh and its free!
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Old 29-12-2014, 08:08   #11
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

The Tortugas are a great trip from Tampa, but more like 40 hrs if you go straight through. They are 24 hours from Boca Grande though.

Davis Island and St Pete yacht clubs are very active and you'll be able to crew in a race at either place.


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Old 29-12-2014, 08:40   #12
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Hi Matt and Jessica,

Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you have a pretty plan going. You are getting to the point where you will want some time on a bigger boat on the ocean to get ready for your own boat. Several ways to go about this. In Tampa area you can probably get involved with some of the local racing and volunteer to crew. Even green hands if they bring a strong back and willing attitude can find a spot. Showing up regularly and reliably will go a long way towards getting you spots.

Getting some time on OPBs (other people's boats) not only builds skills and experience but is essential in helping you choose your own boat. I can almost guarantee that your likes, dislikes and preferences in a boat will change over time. Do not plan to buy your lifelong keeper boat the first time out. Could happen but very unlikely. Might be worth the time to buy a small weekender to play with before you go with the bigger boat. There are lots and lots on the market and with a little careful shopping you should be able to find one very cheaply, maybe even free. NOTE! Be careful with free boats. Sometimes the free ones are the most expensive.

Good luck and happy sailing. I'm not far away, in Gainesville. If you pass this way you're welcome to come by and see my fixer upper parked just outside town.
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Old 29-12-2014, 08:49   #13
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Welcome to CF you guys!

I hope to hear about your progression towards the dream!
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Old 30-12-2014, 19:17   #14
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Thank you all for the replies. We will look into crewing on a racing boat. Thursday's may be difficult since I work, but I may be able to take a Thursday off here and there. We looked at our first boat today, and while it was a little small for our liking (35 ft center cockpit) it just got us more excited to find the one. We definitely feel the cruising life and community are for us!

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Old 02-01-2015, 00:13   #15
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Re: Tampa, FL Lurkers Come Out of the Shadows

Matt and Jessica,

Welcome to the sailing world. I too am in Tampa and new to sailing this year.

Check out the Davis island yacht club site. They have a Sunday race coming up and it is a great way to learn what you like about different boats.

I have a Catalina 22 that I picked up cheap as a learning boat and am looking for a 30+ to restore.

Good luck maybe I'll run into you at the races.

Ray Strickland
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