I was you not too long ago, albeit with some sailing experience. I don't necessarily recommend making a "long passage" your first time sailing and learning
how to sail that way. I teach sailing on small boats and big boats, and commonly have adventurous people like yourself come on week-long charters - being their first time on a sailboat. What I've found is that folks new to the sport are quickly shocked by how un-glamorous sailing really is. The actual sailing is the best part, don't get me wrong, but cruising over long distances requires you to be more than just a sailor. You need to be a diesel mechanic
repairman, cook, cleaner, navigator, weatherman, plumber (more frequently than not in my experience), rigger,...and then you're a sailor.
I'm not saying don't do what you're doing - because I love your willingness to step right up to the challenge and learn. But you might consider seeking out an ASA sailing school
and taking the 101 and 103 courses on basic keelboat sailing and coastal cruising. Those classes
are very comprehensive and a lot of people benefit from them immensely. Additionally, I would start with a shorter passage
for your first time, and possibly some bay sailing or coastal sailing before getting too deep into offshore
There are tons of post on here very regularly from owners/skippers who are willing to take new sailors
and teach them along the way. With that being said, these opportunities present themselves from all over the world. Being 18 (and assuming you're from the States), you might reconsider flying to the somewhere like the Philippines
or somewhere waayyyy off to be your first sailing experience, unless your goal is to travel extensively in that region too. I'm 22, so I can relate....and I want you to spend oodles of money
getting somewhere only to find out that sailing isn't for you.
So I recommend starting small, and locally, perhaps at a sailing club or marina nearby to talk to the sailors there. I can almost guarantee you will find a local sailor who will offer to introduce you to the sport if you talk to some at your local club.
Alternatively, (and sorry CF if I'm breaking a rule
by pitching my own little business here) I have two charters going out of Key Largo
cruising the FL Keys March 15 - 21 and 22 - 28 which are taking primarily non-sailor friends out for a week of island hopping the Keys, and could get you onboard either one of them. The sailing is moderate for the first week - 4 or 5 hours each morning to our next destination
then snorkeling, kayaking, spearfishing, paddleboarding, beach, exploring, bars, etc in the afternoon. The second week has more longer-distances trips between days and an overnight. If you are keen, the cost is $600 per person for the entire week (including food
, dockage, and the water
toys) and I'm already planning on doing some sailing instruction for the group anyway so you could get an introduction
to sailing that way. Just an idea. Website: Windswept Adventures - Home
Feel free to email
me if you have any questions about sailing or anything - I'm all about getting new, young sailors into cruising.