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Old 22-05-2013, 03:00   #1
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Sailing for dummies and kids

Hi, I'm new.

Can I ask some seriously naive, inexperienced and most likely dumb to a lot of you...questions here ?

Please feel free to move this thread if there is a better location for such innocence.

I am thinking about a life of sailing, but I have no experience.

I am 50, have kids, retired at 40 odd and looking to move on to another adventure...maybe.

It is a mind boggling challenge.

Anyway, I have lots and lots of questions, just wondering if I can ask them here, if not, please let me know where.

Cheers.
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Old 22-05-2013, 04:43   #2
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

go ahead and ask

I recommend that you find a way to go on a few sails to see if if really is something you want to do before spending a bunch of time "thinking" about it
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Old 22-05-2013, 04:48   #3
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by samsiam View Post
Hi, I'm new.

Can I ask some seriously naive, inexperienced and most likely dumb to a lot of you...questions here ?

Please feel free to move this thread if there is a better location for such innocence.

I am thinking about a life of sailing, but I have no experience.

I am 50, have kids, retired at 40 odd and looking to move on to another adventure...maybe.

It is a mind boggling challenge.

Anyway, I have lots and lots of questions, just wondering if I can ask them here, if not, please let me know where.

Cheers.
Don suggestion is good. Go down to your local Sailin g Club and ask if someone will take you out on their boat and show you a bit a bout sailing - there is always someone.

After a few sails,. you'll begin to figure out if you want to do this.
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Old 22-05-2013, 05:32   #4
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

If you want to search this forum, there are already answers to almost any conceivable question .... but it's not always that easy to find them.

The trick is to use Google, because the forum's built-in search capability is frankly incapable.

To search for, say "how do I jibe safely" :

type the search string into Google like this: (from the word "site", you have to get it exactly the same as I've shown, no extra spaces or typos)

how do I jibe safely site:cruisersforum.com

This will restrict the results to include this site only, which doesn't mean you can believe everything you read, but by frequenting one site, you'll eventually work out who to take notice of on which topics.

It's still hard for a newcomer to ask good questions or come up with good search strategies, because sailing terms are so specific and unless you can come up with the right question, it can be hard to find the right answer.
An added complication in some cases: taking for example the word "jibe", there are two correct spellings (the other is "gybe" which is common in Brit English speaking countries), and many incorrect ones...
Most libraries have great books to get you over the initial knowledge vacuum hurdle, and leave you with at least some basis to ask questions from.

Diagrams are much better than words, especially words written by people who may not understand your question, may not actually know the answer, of may just not be very good at explaining that particular thing at that particular moment.

It's made worse by many questions from newcomers being impossible to answer, because they are based on faulty ideas and assumptions about how the basics work.

Whereas newbies who have taken the trouble to glean some information can often usefully and efficiently fill in the gaps at a venue like this, by asking comprehensible (and interesting) questions about the things they are having trouble understanding, or putting into a real context, from a couple of good 'how to' books.


Even well-crafted questions won't ALWAYS get good answers, but they usually will.

Confused or confusing questions almost never will ... or the good answers will be buried in dross.
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Old 22-05-2013, 05:41   #5
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

If you have money and time I would recommend seeing the best and worst of sailing before you commit.

1. Experience a "Budweiser Moment" - Hire a skippered bareboat somewhere warm and beautiful like Croatia and "sail" for a couple of weeks. Its not really sailing - but it is one aspect of it.

2. Experience a difficult sail - Hop on as "paying/unskilled" crew on a post season delivery from Caribbean back to Europe. Might be easy, might not - but you will also see more realities of cruising including likely boredom and a bit of fear

Still interested? Great now you have a bit of experience and can decide what you want to do and learn.

Books are great, experience is better - but combining those two with on the water education and training from a good instructor/mentor is the fastest and best way to move forward.
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Old 22-05-2013, 06:03   #6
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

Thanks for the replies.

I shall pop up some questions shortly and maybe this thread could just plod along as a Q & A type thing for newbies.

Anyway, in relation to a couple of questions above...I had discussed this with the kids for some time and we decided last xmas to go and try it out, see if we like it. See if we like the type of boat I want and if we all like sailing, particulalry the kids.

I had been on a sail boat a few times before, the longest a few days. I also worked on a prawn trawler as a youngster at the tender age of 17ish.

So I found a boat for 5 days around Indonesia and we said lets go, if we like it great, lets research and think about it more seriously. If we do not like it, then its a no brainer, forget it.

We loved it, the kids loved it and had a great time and this was not a great boat, was a tad rough and it was in the wet season also, no great storms or anything, but it was wet.

So the decision was made to pursue it some more and we are going back there for 6 weeks in a month or so for some more, but only a few days sailing, the rest surfing and looking at boats.

I live in Thailand, my kids are half Thai and they are used to some adventure and certainly not a cushy life.

I am fortunate enough to have my own income from investments and such, so while not a mega fortune, still enough to be comfortable I would believe.

Anyway, more later.

Cheers.
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Old 22-05-2013, 06:14   #7
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

Hi Samsiam,

Welcome to the forum. Let me caution you that this may not be the best place for a completely unbiased answer since we are mostly crazed sailors and cruisers. That being said I agree with Don, find some way to go out and give it a go and see how you like it. I had never been on a sailboat in my life and just lucked into crewing a delivery to the Bahamas with a couple of college friends. I knew immediately I had found something I would love the rest of my life.

On the other hand, one of the friends I hired to crew for me on a delivery got sea sick at the dock and didn't get out of his bunk until we reached the first port where he immediately bailed out to the closest airport and flew home. Now this was just one out of a couple dozen crew I hired over the years so don't take this as an ominous prediction. Point is you should try it out to see how you fit in. If your retirement income allows maybe the best option is to do a one week charter with captain somewhere warm and beautiful. But be careful, you might come home, sell all your worldly goods and take off bumming around the tropics. Happened to me and I never regretted it.
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Old 22-05-2013, 06:58   #8
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

There was a diagram I saw once. It had a boat inside a circle. The wind was coming from the north (or the top of the page). The boat was shown in maybe 45 degrees radials around the entire 360 degrees.

As the boat headed off the wind (or away from the wind) the sails would come out a little further the more the boat came away from pointing to the top of the page.

As it came back closer to the wind, the sails came in.

That's the basics! You can learn the rest by doing.

The best way is with a small boat (very small like a 16' Hobie Cat or Sunfish) so that when you pull a " string" you will see the affect on the boat immediately. If you are on say a 3 ton Columbia 28 or 4.5 ton Cape Dory you will not see the change for a while from whatever you did.

Couple this learning on a small boat with your reading and you will learn quckly BUT,

If you don't learn well from reading and doing it yourself and many people do not, then take a course or go out with someone and learn that way.
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Old 22-05-2013, 23:11   #9
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

Hi, thanks for the feedback so far.

Let me start with a few questions, not about 'how to sail', but all the other stuff associated with the lifestyle and such.

I am a commercial helicopter pilot, or I was, I have not flown for some time now. So I have a similar way to view and respect the elements as such. I spent 7 years or so flying and 3 of those years in one of the most pristine and remote ocean environments available on earth, tropical area, not Antarctica.

My biggest concern in all of this is for my kids, their safety, security and education.

Can you advise what you lot do for medical insurance, I mean most insurance companies I have had to deal with have excluded such things adventurous and particularly remote area. Couple this with the global travel, it would not I guess, be suitable to get local area coverage such as we currently have for Asia.

While on the insurance evil subject, how about boat insurance ?
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Old 22-05-2013, 23:35   #10
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

If you're concerned for your safety I'd focus on skill development, sound basis for decision making, team training, good communications and buy-in within the family, and the best ground tackle (and rig and sails)

I'm trying to make an unpopular point so I guess once I've pressed "Post" I'll have to pull my horns in and take my knocks, but things like electronics and engines come a bit further down the list in my view.

Liferafts are poorly named.

The vessel is your liferaft: launching that glorified condom thingy is an admission that life is no longer a sure bet.

- - - - -

Insurance is (to my mind) right at or below the bottom of any list of factors enhancing safety.

Increasingly, judging by discussions on this forum, it's a distraction from, and even a contrary influence on good decision making.

In sailing, tough decisions can be a REAL test of character.

The last thing you need in that situation is to have to pull back and try to fathom how some legalistic landbased claims adjuster, at some future time and distant place, will view your actions.

Sailing is not an activity carried out in standardised ways in a controlled environment.

It's much more like mountain climbing, than golf.

You make the rules up to suit the situation and your needs, so it very much doesn't gell will a 'loss adjuster' mentality.

The latter is all about standardising outcomes on a probabilistic statistical basis.


The premium money you'll save by covering your own insurance?

I'd personally spend it on sails and ground tackle and a strong efficient rig and training.

Simple equipment, so you can sail instead of studying 'User manuals' which might as well have been written in Aramaic.
No solenoids !

You could hire an experienced skipper with the right background and teaching ability as 'personal trainer' for as long a series of master classes as it would take to jumpstart you in a major way, my guess would be for much less that a year's premium on a substantial vessel covered for all waters.

And to MUCH better effect: insurance is about financial safety, not safety.

There's certainly people on this forum who could do it, and possibly would, if you could persuade them.

And you can possibly tell from their posts who those people are, because they'll have to have a world view which is compatible with your priorities.
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Old 23-05-2013, 00:42   #11
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by samsiam View Post
Hi, thanks for the feedback so far.

Let me start with a few questions, not about 'how to sail', but all the other stuff associated with the lifestyle and such.

I am a commercial helicopter pilot, or I was, I have not flown for some time now. So I have a similar way to view and respect the elements as such. I spent 7 years or so flying and 3 of those years in one of the most pristine and remote ocean environments available on earth, tropical area, not Antarctica.

My biggest concern in all of this is for my kids, their safety, security and education.

Can you advise what you lot do for medical insurance, I mean most insurance companies I have had to deal with have excluded such things adventurous and particularly remote area. Couple this with the global travel, it would not I guess, be suitable to get local area coverage such as we currently have for Asia.

While on the insurance evil subject, how about boat insurance ?
Andrew makes some very good points. From your posts, you are not only planning to do the Coconut milk run, but want to get further afield.

Boat insurance is available. Liability is cheap, total coverage is expensive. I'll be circumnavigating starting 2015/6. I will not carry total coverage, only liability.


Medical insurance is also available, and surprisingly not all that expensive. If you go to google copy this in:

medical insurance while cruising site:cruisersforum.com

you will get a lot of links to the various threads that have been written regarding this over the years.

Let's face it - medical insurance premiums are heavily dependent on the amount of self-risk you opt in for and if you want repatriation back home.

I'll echo Andrews excellent advice - the best insurance is to learn how to sail extremely well. Take the boat out when it is blowing a storm - the more the merrier. Spend a couple of days out in the storm, day and night (and your family also).

How did you cope?

Andrews comments on electronics and engines falling far down the priority list......

He's right when looking at survival of the boat WHILE AT SEA (open ocean). Close to shore, I'd like to have a well functioning engine and also some electronics. Not that you can't sail without them - people did it for thousands of years, but they are a help and if used properly, not a hindrance

Good luck
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Old 23-05-2013, 01:07   #12
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

carstenb

Thanks for the unexpected backup.

I suspect we're even closer than you think: I did say

<<things like electronics and engines come a bit further down the list in my view>>, whereas you evidently read "far down the list"

I guess to tease out what was in the back of my mind when I made that comment, I now realise that my gut feeling is that on the legendary 'safest boat in the world', the skipper would view the engine(s) and electronics as convenience rather than safety features ...

whereas the ship's engineer and techhead would view them as precious and indispensable.
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Old 23-05-2013, 01:37   #13
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

At the risk of monopolising the thread, for which I apologise, something else just popped into my head.

I just recently heard from the Falklands that a friend had arrived, after sailing from NZ, solo. Having tried to track his progress, I was surprised as well as delighted.

I've known him since I spotted him and his brother using the bowsprit of the family sailboat as a jungle gym/climbing frame. They were hanging up side down under it when I saw them.

Admittedly over relatively shallow water - picture a big, uncompromising, whalebacked steel expedition sailing boat, lifting keel hence shallow draft, preparing for a trip to Antarctica in a mud wallow alongside a dilapidated wharf near my home.

He was two years old. Where were the parents?

Getting on with jobs in the boat, while the boys discovered the world.

The boys are still discovering the world, the older one runs the biggest charter vessel operating in the Antarctic and Patagonia region, and the one I know was so laconic by the standards of any age group, let alone his contemporaries of the Facebook and Twitter generation, that he omitted to mention it recently on his rudimentary substitute for a blog when he passed Cape Horn, solo.

Those boys were more safety conscious, in the true sense of the world, than any kids their age I'd met before or since.

They routinely did "dangerous" things, unsupervised, but they did them safely, because they'd always known from their own experience, intelligence and instinct, that they were potentially dangerous.

In today's world, those kids would have been removed from the care of their parents, who were clearly unfit.

- - - -

I struck up a sort of acquaintanceship, and did some engineering work on the boat, but one of my family befriended them or was befriended, and sailed with them to Antarctica, so I know a bit more of the backstory.

The skipper didn't even wear anything on his feet until about 52 South, let alone a harness, and probably still doesn't wear a harness thirty years later.

(In the interim, he's clocked up hundreds of thousands of miles in the deep south.)

If a halyard fouled on a steaming light he would go up the rig like a monkey, swarming hand over hand up a stay and back on deck before the person hauling the halyard had time to notice anything amiss. Not hooked on. At sea. In the Southern Ocean.

- - - - -

I'm not telling this story as a model for others to copy. It's so far from the norm that it can only serve as a sort of metaphor... or perhaps, a hyperbole, to help us question what safety is.

I've been mulling over this topic since I read the following story, from a comment on Lynn and Larry Pardey's excellent site (which I recommend to your attention, but once again, they're not a model, they're a metaphor: we don't necessarily want to emulate them, but they help us question our assumptions)

http://www.landlpardey.com/you-can%e...uy-safety.html

The bit on this page which most caught my imagination was this story from a commentor who posted under the name of 'sailroo':

<< I recently had an interesting encounter with the Coast Guard and it pretty much seems to sum up the mentality of today’s sailor.


The Coast Guard was walking the dock and offered a free safety inspection.


Sure I said.


Me ” Could I pull you up the mast to check my rigging”?
CG ” No we don't do that”


Me “Would you dive my hull and inspect my Pintles and gudgeons”?
CG ” No we don’t do that”


Me ” Can you come out and help me swing my compass”?
CG ” No we don’t do that”?


This went on for a while when I finally asked what they did do.


“We inspect your boat for safety stickers”.

“We make sure you have flares and fire extinguishers and a radio”



so when you have a disaster at sea we can save you


If you pass we give you a sticker that says you are Coast Guard approved safe.
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Old 23-05-2013, 01:47   #14
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post

..... on the legendary 'safest boat in the world', the skipper would view the engine(s) and electronics as convenience rather than safety features ...

whereas the ship's engineer and techhead would view them as precious and indispensable.


In the real world, real people who share my philosophy (if there are any) can only to aspire to be both that skipper and that engineer, in one person
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Old 23-05-2013, 01:56   #15
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Re: Sailing for dummies and kids

Insurance might be needed to satisfy marinas (particularly for longer-term slip rentals). For close-in cruising liability it should be cheap. Further afield, the insurance people may want to know more about your and your crew's experience.

The Coast Guard, and other rescue agencies have limited knowledge about cruisers, especially cruising sailboats, simply because they don't deal with them all that much. Twenty-foot/6 M-ish runabouts, jet skis, and occasional commercial craft furnish most of their trade in boating safety and rescue, which itself is just one little piece of all of their responsibilities.
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