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Old 24-01-2010, 12:13   #1
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Where Do I Start?

All;

In a few short days, I will retire from a forty-one year military career. Although we are currently living on a small lake in Minnesota, my wife and I will at least snow-bird to Destin Florida.

I was introduced to sailing in 1961 aboard a 17' Thistle out of Los Alamitos Bay CA, and briefly owned a Hobie 18. Hardly a propitious start, it was fun none the less.

It is my intention to purchase a manageable boat, say 30-35', and do some coastal sailing. I would be remiss were I not to say my wife, although an amazing women, lacks a sense of adventure. My instructions are simple: we are not to lose sight of land.

So it comes down to where I start. I have NO sailing skills, as my past experiences were brief and without instruction. My surmise is ASA certification on the Gulf, but what classes? Then bareboat charters and some systematic desensitization for my wife until we can't live with or without sailing, right?

VR

Iverson
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Old 25-01-2010, 12:09   #2
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Rick.

Start in Choctawhatchee Bay.

You might see if you can rent, or borrow, a dinghy to get started back sailing.
You might also check out local sailing/yacht clubs, with an eye to crewing on others’ boats.
Otherwise, you seem to have a good plan.
Good luck - and congratulations on your retirement!
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Old 25-01-2010, 14:22   #3
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Join a local Yacht Club and spend a season crewing on someones boat.. I can still look back at the summer I spent with the guys at Berkley Yacht club and what I learned on how to trim the sails,and making a boat do what you wanted it to.. The memories will stick with you forever..
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Old 25-01-2010, 14:27   #4
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Are there any MWR marinas near you? Many of them offer classes. Some of my buddies have also been able to convince local sailing clubs to give them free lessons as a sign of goodwill to military members. If you weren't so far away I'd be willing to take you out for some lessons... Not sure what service you are in, but we Coasties are pretty friendly to everybody.
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Old 25-01-2010, 14:48   #5
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Hi Rick, congratulations on your retirement and welcome to CF. There's a wealth of experience and info here. Do you have a relative that was a Lt.Col. Pilot in the USMC stationed at Chu lai in '68. My squadron CO for my first 4 months in country was named Iverson. I forget his first name, as I didn't use it being a 1st Lt.
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Old 25-01-2010, 15:10   #6
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Welcome aboard! Thank you for your service.
Yacht Club is good start, for sail experience and to
get your mrs. into it...she will meet many like minded(hopefully)
women. Good luck.
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Old 25-01-2010, 16:16   #7
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You would want to start with ASA 101-104, this will give you an excellent orientation into the basics of sailing and chartering. Have you considered the Virgin Islands, easy sailing, all line of site, fabulous beaches, and year round warm weather.
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Old 25-01-2010, 16:30   #8
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Start out cheap but not too small. You can feel comfortable at about 32 ft. Some more or less (more is better). Coastal sailing is not hard. It's about planning and knowing your limits (imposed or self realized). Start in a way that makes it fun and never lose sight. Taking the wife on a J22 in 15 knots might be fun but it might be terror. She won't ever go again - with you. Honest!

Use your better instincts - keep it fun! Trips with interesting destinations often help in the beginning. Later on you figure out you really don't care where you are going because you are enjoying the trip. You both should learn the basics just so she feels comfortable. You could have a heart attack and need to be rescued - it happens. Knowing is comforting! Build comfort in ways that let you do more. Learn to look for the signs that confidence is growing. Let it grow at it's own rate. You can't rush - you are sailing!

You start day sailing and next thing you do an overnight. A Yacht Club is a good way to get over the problem. They will help you and add confidence and you might meet people liker you. Our club has a LOT of them. We like them too. Going with other boats adds confidence that you really can do this. They can't sail your boat but it's nice to see another boat along the way near you. Worked for my wife - it could work for you too.

Allow enough time to learn and make it all fun. Hang out at Cruisers Forum and learn ALL the tricks of the trade! You won't be the first. Share your stories. We always LOVE a story. First sail stories especially!

Just so you know - Welcome! It's OK to be new here.
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Old 25-01-2010, 16:32   #9
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BTW, My wife and I learned on Lake Minnetonka. Lots of northern sailors!
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Old 25-01-2010, 20:32   #10
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Welcome Rick, great advice here. I am from Minnesota as well, actually sail on Lake Minnetonka. Paul, didn't know you were from Minnesota too, I am sure we have some shared stories and experiences about Lake Minnetonka.

Rick, agree with the others, take some ASA classes. You don't say where in Minnesota you are, however I can tell you from first hand knowledge and research that ASA classes available in the Twin Cities area are much less expensive than classes on the coast. Since you don't have any experience yet, take the beginning classes here locallly, then as you progress in your experience and confidence take a few of the more advanced ASA classes on the coast.

As others have stated, join a yacht or sailing club. If you are near the Twin Cities area, send me a PM and I can give you a lead on local yacht and sailing clubs in the area to consider.

As your wife acclimates to sailing, make sure to have her take classes right along with you or on her own so that she will feel confident about sailing. Also make sure to include some navigation classes, once she understands how this all works, she may rethink that part about leaving sight of land
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Old 25-01-2010, 21:16   #11
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I agree with Pblais.

We have kids, some of which love the thought of going out, and some of which are apprehensive. The daring ones were up for anything right from the start. For the less daring, we took them our for short rides inside the breakwater so that they could become accustomed to the boat without the fear of 3' swells rocking us.

It worked, mostly. All but the most fearful now love the boat. There are still those that will crawl down on the floor of the cockpit and pray until we're back at the docks, but most of the are content to run to the bow when we're turning into another boat's wake so that they can see if the splash will hit them.

Take it slowly and let her tell you when it's time to head back. That way she will fell that she is in control and not be so scared. The out of control fear is what ruins it for most.

Tom
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Old 25-01-2010, 23:49   #12
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Rick,

The key here is the lady. You need to do it the right way and make it as fun as you can at first. Familiarity and experience can dampen the fear factor and if you can get your wife to take part (you have to get her to sail the boat with you, you must be a team) you can be on the way to the best way of living I know which is the cruising lifestyle.

I am on a pension after 40 years of high-rise construction. My lady fell in the Chao Praya river at age 4 and was under for 25 minutes. She thinks she has a "hitchhiker" soul and was terrified of the water. She took some trips with me, experienced some weather, and found out she loved the lifestyle and loves sailing. I am in the states caring for my sick mom and my lady agreed to go to Guatemala (to check on the boat) on one condition-that WE TAKE THE BOAT OUT!. So we took a little cruise out to the Mar Caribe. It can be done. You have to anticipate situations and be prepared.

One thing to get is several kinds of seasickness medicine: patches (from the doctor) sturgeron (I bought mine in the canary islands, don't know if you can get it here in the states-it works even after you get sick) and simple ginger works great (candied can be bought in chinese grocery stores).
If you can keep her from feeling queesy, you are halfway there.

Hope to see you and your lady "out there" somewhere soon.
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Old 26-01-2010, 07:38   #13
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Originally Posted by speakeasy View Post
Hi Rick, congratulations on your retirement and welcome to CF. There's a wealth of experience and info here. Do you have a relative that was a Lt.Col. Pilot in the USMC stationed at Chu lai in '68. My squadron CO for my first 4 months in country was named Iverson. I forget his first name, as I didn't use it being a 1st Lt.
Thanks, Bud.

I'm not aware of any family aviators in RVN. I was in the Airborne Infantry, DEROS/ETS Jul 71. Finished my degree and went active for flight school. Just returned from Iraq 25 Jul 09: 140F in the cockpit.







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Old 26-01-2010, 07:43   #14
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BTW, My wife and I learned on Lake Minnetonka. Lots of northern sailors!
Paul;

AAAAhhhhhhh, Lake Minnetonka. Great dining and superb sailing. Probably the ONLY benefit derived from a Hobie 18 is the variety it provides.

VR

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Old 26-01-2010, 08:14   #15
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should have taken cock roach off of floor and fed it to cobra in cammode.
by the way cobras do love nuts.

I'll be in Destin, Fl. sometime in April and would love to show you and your wife the bay on my Catalina 30. Thanks for your service. I wear a retired
Navy hat myself. Dennis
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