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Old 08-01-2014, 07:41   #1
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What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

So I don't get it folks. I've read many threads here on CF with folks looking down their noses at the idea of the "zero to hero" sailing schools and am a bit confused. While I'm sure there might actually be folks who think that they really are qualified to go anywhere and do anything once they've completed a bareboat charter class, but lets assume that's the expection to the rule. For the sake of this thread, let's assume we're talking about someone like my wife and I who really just wants to kill two birds with 1 stone. The idea of a nice vacation in the BVIs while also increasing our sailing knowledge, experience and also starting to get a feel for what it's like to liveaboard a small boat.

We bought a little Catalina 22 this summer and have spend a good deal of time sailing it as often as possible. I've spent a great deal of time reading about how to sail and general vocabulary and theory, so being able to put that into practice on our own boat has been great. We've crewed at several local races to get a feel for other boats but honestly have found it much more convenient to sail on our own schedule, with no hurry so we can take plenty of time sorting through the process and enjoying the process as we go. So the next step on the journey to cruiserdom is to start building our formal knowledge as well as some ocean experience, since all our sailing so far has been in an inland lake. So, a week in BVI living on the boat and taking ASA 103 and 104, while living aboard a Bene 42. To me this seems like a great way to learn and has the added benefit of meaning we can know begin to schedule trips where we charter a boat and have the option to set our own agenda for each trip as our skills and confidence grows. I like the fact that most places you can pay a little extra and get a local captain to join you and likely this would be the case the first couple times, but the important part to us is the ability to live aboard and get a feel for what it's like to live on the boat, before we take the huge step of buying a cruising boat of our very own.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on the subject but I'm curious to hear what y'all think. What are the negatives in this approach? Why is their such a stigma associated with it here on CF? Is there another route you'd recommend and if so, why?

Thanks,
EB
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Old 08-01-2014, 07:54   #2
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

I wouldn’t think there’s any stigma attached to your approach, given your expectations. Every form of learning has it’s benefits; and you appear to be utilizing several sources to increase your knowledge, skills, and experience.

However, some might look down their noses at the idea of the "zero to hero" approach, where the student intends to take a short course, and expects to become an instant expert.
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:01   #3
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

Doesn't sound to me like you're aiming to be a hero after 4 weeks on a course. Sounds to me like you're choosing a sensible way of gaining experience of different boats, cruising grounds and sailing styles. Just don't take it all as gospel, take what you like, and tell them when you disagree with what they're teaching you, and why...
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:06   #4
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pirate Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

Nothing wrong with your idea in the slightest.. go for it
One could say my approach was zero to hero... learnt to sail in the mid 60's in the Navy where there were 6-7 people to a boat.. each had a specific role and we rotated..
Then after a 20yr break from sailing bought a hulk.. restored it and went to sea.. mainly solo or with a female with nil experience.
Been sailing ever since and have sailed well over 100K miles..
Only advice is.. stay within your own limits... and don't follow other boats anywhere unless you KNOW how deep their keel is..
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:13   #5
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

I don't see anything wrong with your plan. We started with a Precision 21 for two years, then bought a Newport 28 in 1999 with the idea to gain experience with a little bigger boat handling, diesel operation and maintenance, furling, etc., with the plan to move up to a 35'-38 cruiser. The Admiral's health issues have prevented moving up again, but we had no trouble bareboat chartering (just the two of us) in the BVI's one year after we bought the 28. Six total BVI bareboat charters since. The only course I took other than the basic boating safety course was an Advanced Navigation Course. We did sail the heck out of the 21, including trailering it to the Keys and living on it for two weeks, sailing to islands, etc., plus sailing the 28 an average of 40 weekends a year. Suggest your try to crew on bigger boats and learn all you can. Your sailing resume becomes part of the bareboat contract, so don't embellish. In my experience, the charter companies wanted to know if we could read a chart and depthfinder, had anchoring experience, could replace a belt on the diesel, check the oil & coolant, understood battery usage and charging issues, managing the head, knew our way around the deck and if our credit card was good. I found BVI navigation mostly line of sight and pretty simple, paying particular attention to reefs and learning to read the water colors. Enjoy the learning journey, it's half the fun, especially when you get to put it into practice.
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:34   #6
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

Zero to Hero courses sometime have people looking down their noses. But all practical courses are in effect zero to Hero. My speciality is RYA courses , so for example a new bid coming in an doing a 7 day residential Day skipper course, does go away with a reasonable knowledge set.

Equally somebody doing a 18 week Yachtmaster Fasttrack will have done some serious virtually continuos sailing in almost all conditions, night and day, will have experience all weathers, tidal port entrances, etc etc

This is fact could be more experience that a lot of "gnarly old salts" have had in a lifetime. Just as its not to cleave to over-value training on its own, equally its important not to attach too much value to " experience"

IN fact often we confuse age with experience, There are people with 2 years sailing experience, that have immeasurably more experience then some people with 20 years. It all depends of the nature and most importantly the diversity of that experience.

Ive met many a "experienced sailor" who wouldn't attempt certification , primarily when you boil it down , they were afraid they wouldn't pass!!.
dave
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:39   #7
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Zero to Hero courses sometime have people looking down their noses. But all practical courses are in effect zero to Hero. My speciality is RYA courses , so for example a new bid coming in an doing a 7 day residential Day skipper course, does go away with a reasonable knowledge set.

Equally somebody doing a 18 week Yachtmaster Fasttrack will have done some serious virtually continuos sailing in almost all conditions, night and day, will have experience all weathers, tidal port entrances, etc etc

This is fact could be more experience that a lot of "gnarly old salts" have had in a lifetime. Just as its not to cleave to over-value training on its own, equally its important not to attach too much value to " experience"

IN fact often we confuse age with experience, There are people with 2 years sailing experience, that have immeasurably more experience then some people with 20 years. It all depends of the nature and most importantly the diversity of that experience.

Ive met many a "experienced sailor" who wouldn't attempt certification , primarily when you boil it down , they were afraid they wouldn't pass!!.
dave
Very well said.
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:47   #8
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

Now for the unabashed real news.

You've gone astray using the term 'cruising' while describing your runs to and fro across a lake. Further, taking a boat ride in the BVI for a week is hardly to be considered living aboard. That t'weren't much more 'living aboard' than a berth on the Costa Concordia.

Just to put it in perspective, living aboard means you own everything. Something breaks, you own it. You make do, you limp into the next hell hole with or without a machine shop.

You lost me when you said, "Catalina 22" for the summer. I really grated my teeth when you said you 'lived aboard' during your vaca in the BVI.

Could you do it? Indubitably. You seem to have the spirit. But what you have so far experienced is nothing other than to kindle a dream. To that end I say go and explore your dream. Let the others ply you with poppycock.

To tell where I'm coming from...I'm more familiar with the 'zero to hero' as it relates to ab initio flight training where the starry eyed victim, er, student progresses from nothing to first officer for a regional (formerly commuter) feeder airline via a bridge program through a flight school. Dare I say the largest impact upon the airlines (USA domestic) these days is a Congressional act which mandates a higher number of flight hours for each required flight crew in the aftermath of several high profile accidents which resulted from pilot error arising from relatively low time pilots. The summary is go get some time on the water, sans 'the school', and learn. Take what they have given you and go apply it in your own time, in your own way. Develop correlation. When you truly understand why you do what you do then you may make your decision. Until then, continue to learn on your lil ol boat on your lil ol spot of water. I guess I do sound dismissive but you need to put the rubber to the road and that is not done by asking questions on the innerwebz. Nothing wrong with asking but do not let that supplant the true learning which is what you seek.

Now back to your regularly tuned broadcasting.....
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:50   #9
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Zero to Hero courses sometime have people looking down their noses. But all practical courses are in effect zero to Hero. My speciality is RYA courses , so for example a new bid coming in an doing a 7 day residential Day skipper course, does go away with a reasonable knowledge set.

Equally somebody doing a 18 week Yachtmaster Fasttrack will have done some serious virtually continuos sailing in almost all conditions, night and day, will have experience all weathers, tidal port entrances, etc etc

This is fact could be more experience that a lot of "gnarly old salts" have had in a lifetime. Just as its not to cleave to over-value training on its own, equally its important not to attach too much value to " experience"

IN fact often we confuse age with experience, There are people with 2 years sailing experience, that have immeasurably more experience then some people with 20 years. It all depends of the nature and most importantly the diversity of that experience.

Ive met many a "experienced sailor" who wouldn't attempt certification , primarily when you boil it down , they were afraid they wouldn't pass!!.
dave
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An old saw which comes out of aviating is, is it 1,000 hours or is it one hour repeated 1,000 times?
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:00   #10
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pirate Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

One thing I picked up in my RYA classes for 'Papers to go Foreign' was... learn it 'Parrot Fashion'... instructors don't like smart asses with hands on experience giving alternatives.. it disturbs their equilibrium..
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:35   #11
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

We have thought about doing that hen we retire. However to charter/teach a captains license is required, the boat has to be certified, and a charter business has to be started a business to collect/pay state taxes. . Then there is the added risk of liability if some one gets hurt. So unless you are going to really do it full time its not worth the time, expense and the hassle.


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Old 08-01-2014, 11:00   #12
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

Quote:
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One thing I picked up in my RYA classes for 'Papers to go Foreign' was... learn it 'Parrot Fashion'... instructors don't like smart asses with hands on experience giving alternatives.. it disturbs their equilibrium..

Yes but the RYA Examiners, are not tied to the course and have no problem with people with hands on experience, and they are thrones that give you the ticket. Instructors ( well bad ones) like to teach an orderly course, often have several different levels of ability and learning speed on board and can testy with a " smart-aleck" if you see my drift.

Its the exam that counts not the course, ( you actually don't even need to do a course )

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Old 08-01-2014, 11:01   #13
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

Not sure what you are expecting to hear, EB. You aren't starting out anywhere NEAR "zero." You already have a boat. You've already done a good bit of sailing. You are way, WAAAAY ahead of someone who is truly starting at zero. So what you're asking about doesn't really apply to you in any way.

Someone starting out from a point where they have never even set foot in a small boat before, and expecting to be a fully-competent captain after a week of lessons... That's a whole different discussion.
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:03   #14
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

Quote:
and expecting to be a fully-competent captain after a week of lessons
Ive never met anyone that does believe they are.

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Old 08-01-2014, 11:08   #15
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Re: What's wrong with liveaboard sailing schools?

I think there may be some confusion with your term "zero to hero" which to me implies taking a crash course and passing the exams required for charter without any prior sailing experience.

Someone such as yourself who owns and sails his own boat has a basic foundation to build upon and the knowledge to ask intelligent questions about things of which you are uncertain or need additional clarification.

Very different situation than someone whose first time on a sailboat is to spend one week in the BVI getting all the certifications required to charter a boat without necessarily getting the experience to be a confident and competent skipper.
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