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Old 22-02-2020, 07:59   #1
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Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Hi Everybody!

I am new to the forum and excited to join the community and share experiences and information with others that have a passion for sailing.

My wife and I are 100% new to sailing but have an understanding of the ocean (as a scuba dive instructor / with watersports, etc.) We are in our late 20s.

We would like to consider buying a sailboat/catamaran around September / October to begin living abroad on a boat beginning with Southeast Asia. Or at a later date if we need more experience.

We want to research and understand as much as possible so we are 100% safe and have enough experience to get started around that time. We understand the costs associated with it and will be working online.

Here are my questions if any experienced sailors could offer helpful advice.

1. How many nautical miles should I have on my belt before I might have the experience to purchase my own boat? Should I bother spending $2.5K pp on ASA 101/103 etc. or should I look into joining a captain's personal boat for the experience without ASA training in exchange for help?

2. What do I need to know to have the internet on a boat?

3. What are other resources/communities you recommend for this research phase?


**We are currently on Little Corn Island in Nicaragua and would be able to begin some training in May in the Carribean before we head back to Colorado in June for a month (and then head off to Indonesia).**

Thank you so much!!!!
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Old 22-02-2020, 10:53   #2
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, sawneemountain.
You should have 1,127 nautical miles on (under) your belt, before you might have the experience to purchase your own boat.
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Old 22-02-2020, 11:05   #3
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

I would just look to crew for someone, maybe local racing. Or you can join a local sailing club for a year and learn. But hmmm... Colorado...
To have internet on the boat you will need to be close to a wifi signal.
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Old 22-02-2020, 11:48   #4
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Everyone has their own way of getting experience. Some do the classes, some don't. It depends at least partly on your learning style and risk tolerance. My suggestion, as your home base seems to be the US, would be to do some crewing on various types of boats to establish what you need/want, and then find a boat on the US East Coast. Get it ready to go and then jump over to the Bahamas to shake things down before heading further afield.

You can buy wifi and cell boosters that can extend your range while at anchor. In our travels thru the Bahamas and Western Caribbean, we've found it's by and large easy to stay connected if you want to, and easy to get lost if you want to.

I'm 36 and my GF is 29. We've met a number of young boats the last few years here in the W Caribbean with couples hailing from CO. Most, but not all, of the young boats writ large cruise part time over the winter and find a good place to store the boat over the storm season. Most have smaller monohulls that are more affordable to buy/store/maintain.

Good luck in the quest!
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Old 22-02-2020, 12:05   #5
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, sawneemountain.
You should have 1,127 nautical miles on (under) your belt, before you might have the experience to purchase your own boat.
Oh Gord, come now, everyone knows it is 1,128 nautical miles! How could you get that so wrong??

Seriously you can buy a boat any time but you will be a much wiser shopper after you have gotten some of the training. Iíd say go for the classes and if you can afford it, get a little boat to practice in. Talk to lots folks in the local marina, tell them your plans and ask lots of questions. We all love to talk about our boats!
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Old 22-02-2020, 12:53   #6
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Do some reading , internet searches and make you mind up through good analysis of what you read , you must be prepared to scythe of the dross and come up with a small number of boats that meet your need in size. price point and ability to sail short handed, get your boat anytime you want and either go on a course or bring an instructor onto the boat and learn first hand , then get your self out in sheltered waters and sail and learn , it is the best way,
I have never crewed on anyone's boat , nor took formal training , and my first boat to me was 42 ft.
Still going strong !!
Internet access out at sea and away from any hot spots are generally very slow, Iridium Go is a cruisers favourite but poor internet , then you can go up to sailor Iridium , with Iridium's new constellation of satellites up there might be a change in speed.
You are a young couple , no doubt fitter than most and got some determination , go for it and learn on the upward curve , sailing is not hard , nor complicated , and can easily be done with the right mind set , after that it is just experience and time.
good luck have fun and stay safe
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Old 22-02-2020, 21:15   #7
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Take the ASA classes. Well worth it. Thats what my wife and I did.
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Old 23-02-2020, 11:35   #8
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, sawneemountain.
You should have 1,127 nautical miles on (under) your belt, before you might have the experience to purchase your own boat.
1,127 really? I'd have thought it would be more but at least now I have a workable number
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Old 23-02-2020, 11:39   #9
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Sawnee:

Don't get overwhelmed by something so simple as sailing a boat :-)! Seriously!

Sit down and do some systematic thinking. What do you do to make a boat turn left? What do you do to make a boat turn right? You don't need to spend money on classes to understand that! Now put some "embroidery" on it: What will the sails do when you turn left? What will the sails do when you turn right? Yes, exactly - it's that simple! Right-oh then: What do you do to get the most, or at least acceptable, "drive" out of the sails? Again you don't need to spend money to learn something so simple. There are lots of YouTube clips that will show you how. So much for the "brute force" side of sailing.

Now comes the good part: To cruise safely and enjoyably there is a LIFETIME of learning you have to have. All that learning has been compressed into books. Going back literally centuries. You learn to be a good skipper by gobbling up all that compressed experience and then applying it - in step with your learning it - in your own boat. Most people are capable of learning from their OWN experience. Wise mean learn from the experience of OTHERS. That's why we have Marine Academies. And books!

So have at it! Get yourself a simple little "disposable" boat. Say a 27 footer that you can buy for the price of the pp cost of ASA101. Take 'er out into a little patch of safe water on a day when the weather is safe, and start climbing the learning curve. Keep a copy of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) tucked under your pillow at night and osmose what's in it. Do the same with a good text on weather forecasting. And on ship stability. And on diesel engine repair and maintenance. And on designing and installing 12V electrical systems. And on anchoring. And on anything else that you can identify as a "module" of knowledge that a skipper has to have.

Navigation, broken down into coast-wise navigation, called "Pilotage" by the cognoscenti, which is Grade X high school trigonometry and not much of it, and "Navigation" which is what you do when you are out of sight of land. Navigation LOOKS fearsome on the surface of it, but in actuality it's been reduced to a rather simple (if somewhat error prone) procedure, and that procedure was laid down in books centuries ago so that people of little formal education could employ it. Again it's not ASA that will see you through, but PRACTICE, beginning with taking "noon shots" from your very own rooftop and doing the "reduction" on a "worksheet" . If you get excited, you could, of course, do it from your 27-footer, just to get accustomed to doing it while rolling and pitching :-)

There are a few fields of enquiry that you cannot learn only from books. IMO First Aid is one such. It's worth paying money for that.

Remember, that as a skipper, ANYTHING that goes wrong is YOUR responsibility. So skippering is not something you learn via ASA. It is a mindset you either have innately or have to develop. That mindset comes from KNOWING that you know what you know, And even more from knowing what it is you DON'T know.

Since you are a diver, you already know the importance of keeping warm feet and a cool head :-)

Cheers

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Old 23-02-2020, 12:17   #10
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by sawneemountain View Post
Hi Everybody!

I am new to the forum and excited to join the community and share experiences and information with others that have a passion for sailing.

My wife and I are 100% new to sailing but have an understanding of the ocean (as a scuba dive instructor / with watersports, etc.) We are in our late 20s.

We would like to consider buying a sailboat/catamaran around September / October to begin living abroad on a boat beginning with Southeast Asia. Or at a later date if we need more experience.

We want to research and understand as much as possible so we are 100% safe and have enough experience to get started around that time. We understand the costs associated with it and will be working online.

Here are my questions if any experienced sailors could offer helpful advice.

1. How many nautical miles should I have on my belt before I might have the experience to purchase my own boat? Should I bother spending $2.5K pp on ASA 101/103 etc. or should I look into joining a captain's personal boat for the experience without ASA training in exchange for help?

2. What do I need to know to have the internet on a boat?

3. What are other resources/communities you recommend for this research phase?


**We are currently on Little Corn Island in Nicaragua and would be able to begin some training in May in the Carribean before we head back to Colorado in June for a month (and then head off to Indonesia).**

Thank you so much!!!!
You sound like a young couple with a dream...you now need to create a plan around the time/moving schedule you have outlined.

Given your location and short timeframe before moving twice, training sounds like the best option for you. I don't know what is available at your location but I learned without any formal training...just reading and then going out and making mistakes along the way on my own 22 foot sailboat. The basics are not that difficult these days with available books, magazines, and youtube videos...I still use all types. You just need to immerse yourself in the subject and then get on the water and practice, practice, practice...its FUN! Its a use it or lose it kind of learning.

Sailing is a subject you can't really learn without truly being on a boat and being responsible and in control...it is a three dimensional environment that affects everyone differently; its that inner ear thing that first gets your attention...you either learn to live with it or just pick another sport.

Small boats are not that complicated and the best place to start. Larger boats can get very complicated depending on your desires and budget. I moved from a 22' to a 28' to a 42' and the latter is much more complicated...a couple systems I still haven't dealt with.

Your inner desire to sail and budget will tell you when you are ready to buy a boat and when it is time to move up to one you can live on...that is by itself. Again, just immerse yourself in the sport/lifestyle.

Good Luck.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
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Old 23-02-2020, 12:33   #11
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by sawneemountain View Post
Hi Everybody!

I am new to the forum and excited to join the community and share experiences and information with others that have a passion for sailing.

My wife and I are 100% new to sailing but have an understanding of the ocean (as a scuba dive instructor / with watersports, etc.) We are in our late 20s.

We would like to consider buying a sailboat/catamaran around September / October to begin living abroad on a boat beginning with Southeast Asia. Or at a later date if we need more experience.

We want to research and understand as much as possible so we are 100% safe and have enough experience to get started around that time. We understand the costs associated with it and will be working online.

Here are my questions if any experienced sailors could offer helpful advice.

1. How many nautical miles should I have on my belt before I might have the experience to purchase my own boat? Should I bother spending $2.5K pp on ASA 101/103 etc. or should I look into joining a captain's personal boat for the experience without ASA training in exchange for help?

2. What do I need to know to have the internet on a boat?

3. What are other resources/communities you recommend for this research phase?


**We are currently on Little Corn Island in Nicaragua and would be able to begin some training in May in the Carribean before we head back to Colorado in June for a month (and then head off to Indonesia).**

Thank you so much!!!!


Greetings. I donít really think there is a set number of days or years before anyone should get a boat or move up. Everyone learns differently. Some people learn faster/slower.

I started sailing 6 years ago, and so far have owned 3 boats 21-25í, and just purchased an Alberg 35 to get around more comfortably. I have had a few sailing dinghies here and there too.

I suggest hanging out at a local yacht club and crewing for a couple months and see if you actually enjoy sailing. It looks beautiful from a distance, but really can be a ton of work. Even more as a newbie with your own boat. OPB is a great way to learn. There are a lot of sailors out there wanting to teach/take people out sailing!

Nothing replaces real life experience! Just get out there and do it. A smaller boat would probably be best to learn on though.
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Old 23-02-2020, 13:28   #12
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

I have been where you are, but I have had some sailing experience with my ex, about 30 years ago. I have missed sailing so I decided to take the courses, because I decided that there was no reason I couldn’t buy and sail my own boat. So I took the courses this summer. It was great! The work required to even begin the practical courses in the boat was fairly rigorous and extensive. It covered everything and even navigation... which didn’t involve anything electronic. The cost was well worth what I gained. It gave me confidence to be more assured that a) being on a boat is a fantastic way to live ( and my course was 5 people on a 30 ft boat for two weeks... can you say sardines/ can??) and reinforced my dormant skills. I have so much more to learn... but that’s ok... it’s a sensible start. Now that I have my partner who also sails and took the courses and is mechanical, buying a boat was the next logical step. If it was a bad choice, I sure had fun messing up!!
Just my two cents.
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Old 23-02-2020, 15:05   #13
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

You seem to be in a hurry, so to me that says you should get trained. But training isnít enough to be safe (and by the way, 100% safe is never an option).

The training will teach you how to navigate, follow the rules and it may help you get insurance. On that subject, bear in mind that no insurance company will cover you crossing oceans without bluewater experienced sailors onboard.

Also bear in mind that unless you have lots of money, you need to learn a lot more than just how to sail. You need to learn how to maintain a diesel engine, boat electrics and electronics, how to antifoul your boat, how to operate a watermaker (which youíll need where youíre going) and a hundred other jobs which constantly arise. Owning a boat is a big maintenance job if you want to be safe. You also should get trained in first aid, get a VHF license and get trained how to operate a radar (once again, essential where you are going).

I learned with the RYA and they require 2,500 nm experience before theyíll give you an offshore ticket good for up to 150nm from shore.

I hope this helps.
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Old 23-02-2020, 15:32   #14
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

If you have the funds to buy a boat you can afford to take a basic sail training course and to charter a boat before buying. Get enough training to allow the Moorings to rent you a boat for a week, with a captain for a few days if needed. That should get you going and show you what you know and what you don’t know. Then do what it takes to fill in your weak areas with knowledge and skills.

Decent shore based WiFi is far and few between, at least it is if you want any sort of speed and capacity. Also it is only available at marinas, the days of finding unlocked WiFi are long gone. Most folks use some sort of cellular data system to feed their phones or pads. You can buy “unlimited” phone plans, but they all throttle at around 20gb and using a phone as a hotspot cuts off at 15gb. We have a cellular modem that is truly unlimited for $100 a month , that feeds our smart tv and phones and pads. Currently in the Bahamas we have from 3.5 to 11 mbps depending on how many others are using the tower. You can also get a prepaid local SIM card for voice and data. Currently our BTC Bahamas Sim gives us 43mbps.
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Old 23-02-2020, 15:40   #15
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Re: Advice for 100% Beginner Please

I would definitely take the ASA courses. When you finish them, You can then charter a boat, letís say in The BVIs with Sunsail for a week or two and really see if you want to spend that much time together on a boat. Also, you get some first hand experience sailing a variety of boats and you can see if you like a monohull or a catermeran. Their flotillas are a great way to go with the benefit of having someone there to help if you get into trouble. I was on a Sunsail flotilla in Greece, and the transmission failed half way though the charter. They replaced the transmission that night and we did not miss a day of the charter! It takes a lot of stress out of the sailing adventure, until you get more experience. If I were younger, I would do what you are planing, but for now I have charter in the best sailing places in the world without a long ocean voyage or having to own or maintain a boat. Good Luck!
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