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Old 13-11-2010, 08:36   #16
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A thousand mile journey begins with the first step. Sounds like you just need to slip over the horizon, and slip back some afternoon. A compass alone will get you back......i2f
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Old 13-11-2010, 09:16   #17
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1) get to know your engine so you c an do simple maintenance. having a relaible engine is really important.
2) keep a 'weather eye.' boats large and small have been lost when a sudden squall caught them with too much sail up and all companionway boards out. all it takes is one knockdown with an open hatch to fill the cabin with water. at first sign of bad weather/heavy wind, the cabin doors/hatch/ports are closed, lifejackets and harnesses go on, the jacklines are set, the sails are reefed...
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Old 13-11-2010, 09:49   #18
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I learned a lot from racing. The starting manouvers and mark roundings taught me to be precise and efficient-to think on my feet. My racing skills have really made me a confident cruiser! I also really appreciate the cushiness of cruising-If I don't feel like beating to windward I don't have to. Don't get me started on how much I love my dodger and roller-furler! 14 wednesday night races in a summer will give you lots of experience!
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Old 13-11-2010, 10:00   #19
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I think if you are going to just jump in and go, you need to at least figure out some of the problems you will encounter along the way. This forum is great for bringing up topics most people wouldn't think about, but actually happen to cruisers.

I spend a lot of time reading posts and I pick up a lot of information on topics I never thought of. This sets me to thinking about the topic and the problems it presents, then I have to see if my solutions are nearly as good as the ones I read.

I have discovered that I'm not a smart as some people on here, but I'm gaining.
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Old 14-11-2010, 08:40   #20
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Thank you all for the great responses. I am lucky in that my better half is all in on cruising. After reading this thread, she and I up and decided to drop the boat in Lake Pontchartrain yesterday morning for a few hours on the water. We have mastered a lot of the basics, and we are committing to practice, practice, and more practice until we build up the confidence we will need for more "ambitious" cruising. Thanks again, all.
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Old 14-11-2010, 08:53   #21
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what i 2f said--is easy to do that-- just take you rfishing gear and food and water and sail.... make sure the weather is good for ye-- you are in a small boat-- you can read the seas of the gulf-- is beautiful cobalt blue about 100ft deep-- on a calm day is heaven-- go--- have a good time and catch some fish. you will be so in love with the place you will find reasons to go back.
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Old 14-11-2010, 17:19   #22
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Thank you all for the great responses. I am lucky in that my better half is all in on cruising. After reading this thread, she and I up and decided to drop the boat in Lake Pontchartrain yesterday morning for a few hours on the water. We have mastered a lot of the basics, and we are committing to practice, practice, and more practice until we build up the confidence we will need for more "ambitious" cruising. Thanks again, all.
Can never resist the opportunity to post this in reply to Lake Pontchartrain's mention:

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Old 15-11-2010, 04:53   #23
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there is nothing wrong with jumping in with both feet. Obviously you don't want to set off on a trans-oceanic voyage in your first few months, but there's nothing wrong with 'pushing' things a bit, ....

I learned more about sailing in my first four days in a typhoon than I did in the four months we spent up and down the Baja peninsula.
totally agree with all that thought incl the provisios. To me 'Pushing things' means, primarily, ourselves. The boat knows what to do

After doing an over-nighter then day-sailing is easy.
After doing a 'blow' reefing in 20 knots is a dead snack
After doing 500 miles then 200 miles is for girls.
After doing 1,000 miles thinking more passages is really exciting stuff.

And after the first 3,000 mile passage you begin to know what you don't know, but its OK becuse you know you can learn it!

But sitting in a bay drinking sundowners don't teach you nuffin, not even how to anchor.


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Old 15-11-2010, 08:23   #24
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To me 'Pushing things' means, primarily, ourselves. The boat knows what to do
Totally agree with this. Most of us rationalize it in our own heads as to what a 'shakedown cruise' is for. We convince ourselves it's all about ensuring that the boat is ready to rumble. Occasionally there is a legitimate functional issue which needs to be tested, but 95% of such preparation is actually being done to the crew, not the boat. Like you say, the boat knows what to do

You go through enough different levels of experience and eventually it's like Mark says, you learn that you don't know it all but you're certain you'll be able to pick it up when the situation presents itself. That kind of confidence and respect for everything involved (especially the ol' bitch Mother Nature, herself) is really what allows us to do what we love. Not GPS, weather fax, satellite phones or any of the other stuff we think provides the baseline of safety. It's understanding what can be done and what can't. Not fearing it, just understanding it.

The only way to learn is to go do it. Don't be silly or reckless, but if you're an adventurous person who doesn't mind picking fights to which the outcomes feel a bit uncertain, it's ok to push yourself. You'll learn alot faster that way. Just make sure you've got plenty of food and water. So long as you keep it afloat, the boat will make landfall....somewhere
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Old 16-11-2010, 11:38   #25
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obey I'm just down the coast a bit from you. If you want to co-charter a boat and sail out of venice to the middle of the gulf somewhere give me a shout. Don't worry about getting back, I have extensive navigation experience on power boats.
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Old 16-11-2010, 15:01   #26
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So many things about sailing and bluewater are written to scare you, because that sells. Far as I'm concerned; unless you're just an idiot then just sailing a little out of you comfort zone teaches you most things. And the comfort zone gets bigger and bigger to the point where everyone is scared regardless of what they say. Then it becomes more about knowledge about options to take and that can be read up on. I think book learning is discounted too much and too many take the you have to experience it view point. Hell I hope I NEVER experience some of the stuff I've read up on!
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Old 22-11-2010, 20:08   #27
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I'll make the sailing school pitch. As a sailing instructor focusing on advanced level training, I have seen the positive results motivated students get by sailing with instructors. Start out with a weekend trip and increase the training cruise complexity. darn if you won't be pretty good in a few years.

Have fun!
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Old 23-11-2010, 06:24   #28
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I'll have to agree with Norman. I'm a beginning sailor, and the sailing school classes taught me alot. (no I'm not afiliated). The big advantage of a formal class as opposed to the school of hard knocks is. In a class the instructor has a list of things you need to know. When learning by trial and error there may be gaps in your knowledge you aren't aware of. Of course even on the water with an experienced sailing instructor won't teach you everything, (sorry norm). But it will give you a solid foundation for when you strike out on your own, (minus the hundreds of mistakes beginers usually make).
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Old 23-11-2010, 06:38   #29
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One of the aspects of sailing school (for lack of a better description) is that the instructor stimulates discussions by introducing situations and opportunities outside of the drills. How many times have we tied up somewhere, met other sailors and chatted? Many, many. As the instructor I could open those dockside discussion opportunities for amateurs easily.

Some of the learning experience is the lecture hall of sailors swopping stories. Some of the learning is in the lab, under way.
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