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Old 13-03-2021, 19:20   #1
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Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

Hello guys,

My first post on this forum with a lot of questions. I did my research but would like to get a bit more advice from all of you, experienced sailors.

A bit of info about myself:

My name is Michael, and I am 36 years old. I currently live in Sydney with the plan to moving to Melbourne around October 2021 for a year or two. I have always been very interested in sailing (read books about sailing, watched many movies) but never really got to it and have no knowledge of how to sail and no experience either.

The Plan:

After long and hard thinking about everything, me and my wife, we have decided to abandon city life in the future and go live and sail around the world, maybe occasionally returning to Australia or maybe not. The reason why we made this decision is that we both like to travel, like being outside in the bush, like diving, snorkelling, kite surfing and don't really like the city rush. We don't have kids or anything else that make us stay put. Over the last few years, we lived in Western Australia, NSW and now going to spend a few years in Melbourne.
So, the plan is to buy a 5-7 years old, 12-14meters catamaran in mid or end of 2024 and start sailing around Australia in mid-2025. Most likely starting from Sydney, going anti-clockwise for about a year. Them perhaps sail to French Polynesia for a few years, or maybe sail around Philipines.

Questions:

We want to be prepared as much as possible for the journey, and because we both lack experience with boating and sailing, I would like to get as much advice as possible.

Sailing Experience

How can I get experience in sailing before buying the boat? At the moment, I have booked 5 days of liveaboard training to get a day skipper license. It seems like a good start to get an idea about sailing, wind, boat etc.
- But what can I do to get more practical experience later on?
- How can and where can I volunteer for the crew positions?
- Does it matter much if I'm going to be getting experience on a mono-hull boat, or it is better to get catamaran experience because mono would not be relevant?
- Any other advice here?

Maintenance Experience:

From the reading and watching YouTubes, I understand how vital boat maintenance is and the ability to do repairs yourself. I am pretty good with doing car repairs myself, and I understand well how the engine, electronics, transmission, drivetrain works (on cars). On top of that, we both are very hands-on people. (We renovated our house by ourselves without hiring anyone). However:
- Is there a way to somehow get hands-on maintenance experience without owning a boat?
- Any other tips here?

The Pets:

We have 3 very small dogs. One will probably be too old to sail (he will be 15 y.o in 2025), but the other 2 will be 4 and 5 years old.
- Is it a good idea to take them with us?
- Any tips from people who sail with their doggos?

The Internet:

This is a very important question for us. For work purposes, we will have to have internet everywhere while we are making the trip. Not only when we are anchored next to a town etc. We have driven from WA to NSW a few times and know that even on the land, Telstra reception doesn't exist in some part (Nullabor, for example). So, I guess the satellite is our only option? We would like to be able to send emails, remote connect to other computers and hold a few zoom meetings from the boat.
- Is that even possible?
- Can anyone point me in the right direction to do my research?
- Any other tips here?

Misc questions:

- Perhaps it's a good idea for both of us to do some sort of first aid course?
- What licenses do we need to hold to be able to pull this cruise off?
- What insurances are good to have?
- Any other thing I might be missing to be better prepared?

Silly questions:

Its probably very simple, but I'm very curious about how these things work. Let's say we have sailed to the Newcastle NSW area (or any other small-ish town for the sake of the exercise), and we want to spend the night here (but sleep on the boat), get some supplies and fuel.

- How does anchoring work? Do we just anchor anywhere? Do we need to pay for it?
- We take the dinghy to the shore and then plan to go to the shops. What do we do with the dinghy? How to make sure it will not get stolen or something?
- While we are away shopping or having dinner, is it safe to just leave the boat anchored somewhere? Does it often happen when something gets stolen from the boat like that?
- Is it a good idea to have a safe in the boat to keep laptops, documents in it or is it just better to take those with you onshore?

I think this is it for now. I hope you had enough stamina to read the whole thing till the end, and cant wait to see your replies.
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Old 13-03-2021, 21:22   #2
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

1 You'll need to learn the rules of the road and get a boat drivers license.

2 Get a boat and learn to drive it in protected waters then to sail it.

3 read lots of sailing books. Sort of immerse yourself in the subject.

4 On the engine thing. A lot of people seem to be able to get by with just knowing where to top the oil and coolant up but having a good knowledge of the electrical and fuel systems will allow you to get by unless there is a workshop problem in which case you need proximity to civilization anyway.

5 I've anchored in practically every anchorage between Busseltown in WA and north around to Sydney for the last 20 years and never had to ask permission or pay a cent. Buy Allen Lucas's NSW and QLD cruising guides.

6 I only ever lock my boat if I am going away more than over night and in twenty years have never had anything stolen.

7 I do have a wire strop and lock on my dingy and use them in places I'm not very familiar with. It's not a matter of concern about thieves as much as not being able to get to and from my boat if the dingy goes missing. Drunks have been known to just take a dingy and set it free rather than being stranded ashore.

8 The biggest problem I have had with computers is that the lithium batteries don't like being charged in the day time in tropics. Charge them in the cool of the night. I have lost a couple of phones from being knocked over when going ashore in a surf and in tropical deluges so I now have them in a zip lok bag. Consequently drowning of electronics is probably more of a risk than theft.

9 Nothing arouses the interests of folks with poorly developed respect for other peoples property rights faster than having a safe on the premises. Find or build yourself a good hiding place with quick access for documents and cash.

10 The really important thing with living a dream is making a start.

8
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Old 13-03-2021, 22:00   #3
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

Your original post is "Newbie to circumnavigate". My first advise would be, [B]forget about Australia[B]. Conditions you find in Australia, NZ, USA and perhaps Europe (already a perhaps, you may find in other countries, you nay not.

As of your question of sailing? I prepaired myself long years assisting as sailhandler on Ocean raceboats. It was a help but I learned underway. I waasnīt prepared for the storms, for the conditions I found underway and my first advise I did not follow, was the reason my first boat sunk. I learned the hard way!

You talk about dogs? Make sure by having 2-3 dogs, that you are capable to come up with all the pet control at Custom and Sanitation. Dogs are carriers of Corona and the countries become like crazy with that stuff. As human I am vaccinated and at the moment stuck, because sailing with all the Pandemic stuff is getting crazy. Besides, in the Marinas Iīve had already some pet poisoning stuff, since the pets are becoming the childrens people donīt have and inside the showers and toilets they are a real pain in the a...! But you talk to the owners and they just kill you ass animal hater. Although I had dogs and love them. But dogs and cats in my opinion are no water animals and I havenīt gound another Selkie than my boat so far. Iīd love to have a seal, but the Vet cost and than, the Environmenalist probably would go crazy against me.

Talking of maintenance! Donīt go to fancy. Offshore, internationally you probbaly hang out a long time waiting for spare parts, the fancier the engine. An older equipment is easier for some countries mechanics.

The licenses you need for sailing depend on 2 issues. The first One is, where you register your boat. In the USA, no license needed but you have to be resident. In Netherland the same (NL, B, closed the door of registering business income) Poland and you can buy the license in the very same way you buy the register. But make sure! Wherever you cheat, you will pay the price underway. Whatever not preparation you have, you will miss it the moment you need. Donīt spare on sailing experience!

Generally your question of "how things work"? There are a few websites, like www.noonsite.com (tells you worldwide, how it works). Weatherwise www.passageweather.com Navigationwise www.opencpn.org (Software to download. Includes sites for free but good charts. Beside of that, all the Navys in the world have their websites with "hidden" information for entrances into ports and anchoring. In Europe, you can geet aboarded easily by the CoastGuards and be fined. Iīve never had the trouble so far, but know of people paying lots of money for "wrong" anchoring.

Most sensible issue in my opinion are the regulations and the weather. I just read a very interesting article as a result of the year 2018. Prediction is, the wweather is getting more and more unstable and for a race like GGR - without any modern devices - it is imperative to be prepared for harsher and more dangerous storms.

I canīt talk about your domestic questions. I can only give you advise of international waters and specifically in countries, which are not very prepared, modern and fancy, but have incredible sites... do your homework in sailing and learning the weather. The rest? our planet will teach you... youīll never become a Master
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Old 13-03-2021, 22:24   #4
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

Michsn, I think you really need to get a small yacht and work some of these things out yourself. I think one thing you need to experience is a wet week anchored on a yacht with two dogs.
Technically you can anchor anywhere but the reality is the depth, wind and tide will rule out lots of places.
The dogs are going to have to get used to being onboard for long periods as at least here in Queensland they are not welcome in our national parks. So forget Fraser island etc.
Theft is the least of your problems on the water, the biggest issue is finding a place to leave your dinghy that is close to the shops.

Cheers

https://www.des.qld.gov.au/our-depar...dogs-and-fines
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Old 14-03-2021, 00:36   #5
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

troll ?

cheers,
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Old 14-03-2021, 00:49   #6
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

ChrisR you never know, I like to think he is genuine.
I get lots of interesting questions from boat buyers. The other week I happened to comment to a client that I hope they are flexible enough to get in and out of a dinghy. The client looked at me funny and said I assumed there would be a dock at all the anchorages and they could just tie up and walk ashore!
Don't get me started on one client who had no idea that a boat needed to come out of the water on a regular basis for antifouling. He just assumed that, actually I am not sure what he assumed. But slipping and maintenance was not something he had thought about.
Cheers
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Old 14-03-2021, 01:01   #7
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
ChrisR you never know, I like to think he is genuine.
I get lots of interesting questions from boat buyers. The other week I happened to comment to a client that I hope they are flexible enough to get in and out of a dinghy. The client looked at me funny and said I assumed there would be a dock at all the anchorages and they could just tie up and walk ashore!
Don't get me started on one client who had no idea that a boat needed to come out of the water on a regular basis for antifouling. He just assumed that, actually I am not sure what he assumed. But slipping and maintenance was not something he had thought about.
Cheers
I follow your statement! I am selling my Albin Vega 27 and have had 2 years of interesting dealing with customers, to whom I donīt sell the boat, because I am affraid the boat will rotten within a few weeks. Some of them thought, I was joking when telling them, the Vega is probably one of the safiest boats in its class. Others could not find the Vega on the Internet and proofed to be just as good Web surfers, as they were sailors.
I have learned sailing is the new "golfing". Since companies like Siemens, UBS Banking etc have Regata fleets and send their youngsters Managers as "weight", their wifes are competing in becoming the superstars in sailing and run around the world "chartering" aircraft carriers to meet their luxury standards. They wanna begin to sail on 60-foot and have not even a clue, how to tie up a boat on the receiption peer of a Marina.

I donīt go anymore into the Mediterranean, Greece or Turkey, since there your boat is in grave danger to be hit by some "experienced" sailor, who doesnīt even checks the anchors when leaving the charterers office... sites like San Blas, the Magellan straight or MagBay are thank God of their bucket list...
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Old 14-03-2021, 02:04   #8
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

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Originally Posted by chrisr View Post
troll ?

cheers,
Not a troll. I swear this is a genuine post, I'm just very keen to get started.

Thank you everyone for your answers so far. Someone above said to read a lot of sailing books. Any recommendations? There is a lot to choose from...
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Old 14-03-2021, 02:19   #9
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichSn View Post
Not a troll. I swear this is a genuine post, I'm just very keen to get started.

Thank you everyone for your answers so far. Someone above said to read a lot of sailing books. Any recommendations? There is a lot to choose from...
ISBN 9781882502219 Basic Keelboat
9781882502301 Bareboat cruising
9781882502271 Basic cruising
9780789423955 The Handbook of knots
9783613501379 Jimmy Cornell Skipper Tipps

Generally, I would read some Jimmy Cornell. Heīs pretty much the writer of the bible!

Offshore trip planning? Surf following websites:
www.noonsite.com
www.passageweather.com
www.opencpn.org (for chart plotting software for free (free charts are on a page to download)
If you need a "pirated" copy of worldwide CM93, give me a PM

Besides, if you are looking for anchoring or Port entrances? If you look up the most websites from th different Navys, youīll find good description of currents, tipps for h/l tide and dangerous streams. Itīs some work to do, but reliable since Navys. For example, even do you have the newest charts, some waters in the Pacific have become unusuable unstable in the last 3 years due to eruptions which change the Ocena floor (Galapagos Island).

Thatīs pretty much what I call "Management Job for Skippers"...
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Old 14-03-2021, 02:30   #10
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albinvega27 View Post
ISBN 9781882502219 Basic Keelboat
9781882502301 Bareboat cruising
9781882502271 Basic cruising
9780789423955 The Handbook of knots
9783613501379 Jimmy Cornell Skipper Tipps

Generally, I would read some Jimmy Cornell. Heīs pretty much the writer of the bible!

Offshore trip planning? Surf following websites:
www.noonsite.com
www.passageweather.com
www.opencpn.org (for chart plotting software for free (free charts are on a page to download)
If you need a "pirated" copy of worldwide CM93, give me a PM

Besides, if you are looking for anchoring or Port entrances? If you look up the most websites from th different Navys, youīll find good description of currents, tipps for h/l tide and dangerous streams. Itīs some work to do, but reliable since Navys. For example, even do you have the newest charts, some waters in the Pacific have become unusuable unstable in the last 3 years due to eruptions which change the Ocena floor (Galapagos Island).

Thatīs pretty much what I call "Management Job for Skippers"...
Thank you so much. I will order those books today and start exploring those website you mentioned
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Old 14-03-2021, 02:42   #11
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

Michael,

only two things:

1. Go sailing. Melbourne and Sidney are both costal cities, join a sailing club and go out sailing every week-end. Dinghy-sailing is best, you might want / need to invest in a cheap used dinghy. Take part in the club-races. This will teach you more about sailing than anything else. You should be able to start this more or less immediately (I have no clue about what the season in like right now, so you might have to delay this because of the wearther)

1. Part 2: Go sailing. You and your wife should both start on your RYA certification. You may be able to combine this with Part 1 and Part 3 of the Go Sailing.

1. Part 3: Go sailing. Spend your vacations going sailing, either for training trips for your RYA certification or to get miles on other people boats. If you or your wife aren't thrilled by this or this becomes too complicated, be honest with yourself and file the project under pipe-dreams.

2. Get your finances in order to be able to afford the boat and cruising once you want to leave. This should also be started immediately and might delay your plans.

Everything else is for later.
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Old 14-03-2021, 03:38   #12
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichSn View Post
Not a troll. I swear this is a genuine post, I'm just very keen to get started.

Thank you everyone for your answers so far. Someone above said to read a lot of sailing books. Any recommendations? There is a lot to choose from...
michSn : in that case i humbly apologise . once you have hung around here for a while you will see why i said what i said

anyway - welcome

regarding your questions ;

experience : the best way to get experience is to join your local yacht club and get on a boat. you say you live in sydney ? whereabouts (i can point you towards the most suitable club)
you won't find many cats to sail on but once you've got some boat experience you can charter something either on pittwater or even the witsundays

maintenance : if you become part of a crew at a yacht club you will find you get all the hands on maintenance practice you need !

pets : we don't have any and my tip is DONT DO IT...but i recognise we are all different

satellite internet : is horrendously expensive. out of the reach of most but i don't know your budget. we find normal 4-5G is available most of the time and you can get signal boosters that help and with this you can do everything.

first aid : course is a good idea, depends on what experience you have

licence : requirements are state based and each state is different. qld is one that requires a licence..nsw does not...not sure abt vic. not many travellers bother about it

insurance : is required by any boatyard or marina in australia so you will need it. we use topsail who we find are as reasonable as can be hoped for

other : major yacht clubs run what is called sea safety survival courses and i strongly recommend you do one. i've been a professional & recreational seaman for nearly 60 years and i still found it gold.

anchoring : you can anchor anywhere it's safe so long as you are out of the way of other traffic (esp commercial). you pay nothing to do this.

dinghy : some folk chain their dink up...some do not. a lot depends on where you are and how long you are going to leave it. we never chain up ours unless we are leaving it on a public wharf over night. theft in aust is fortunately very rare

laptops etc : it's best not to cart them around in the dink more than you have to. most people just lock the boat when you go ashore. never heard of anybody having a safe onboard although some big boats might

happy to help with anything else

cheers,
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Old 14-03-2021, 03:48   #13
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisr View Post
michSn : in that case i humbly apologise . once you have hung around here for a while you will see why i said what i said

anyway - welcome

regarding your questions ;

experience : the best way to get experience is to join your local yacht club and get on a boat. you say you live in sydney ? whereabouts (i can point you towards the most suitable club)
you won't find many cats to sail on but once you've got some boat experience you can charter something either on pittwater or even the witsundays

maintenance : if you become part of a crew at a yacht club you will find you get all the hands on maintenance practice you need !

pets : we don't have any and my tip is DONT DO IT...but i recognise we are all different

satellite internet : is horrendously expensive. out of the reach of most but i don't know your budget. we find normal 4-5G is available most of the time and you can get signal boosters that help and with this you can do everything.

first aid : course is a good idea, depends on what experience you have

licence : requirements are state based and each state is different. qld is one that requires a licence..nsw does not...not sure abt vic. not many travellers bother about it

insurance : is required by any boatyard or marina in australia so you will need it. we use topsail who we find are as reasonable as can be hoped for

other : major yacht clubs run what is called sea safety survival courses and i strongly recommend you do one. i've been a professional & recreational seaman for nearly 60 years and i still found it gold.

anchoring : you can anchor anywhere it's safe so long as you are out of the way of other traffic (esp commercial). you pay nothing to do this.

dinghy : some folk chain their dink up...some do not. a lot depends on where you are and how long you are going to leave it. we never chain up ours unless we are leaving it on a public wharf over night. theft in aust is fortunately very rare

laptops etc : it's best not to cart them around in the dink more than you have to. most people just lock the boat when you go ashore. never heard of anybody having a safe onboard although some big boats might

happy to help with anything else

cheers,
Thank you so much for such a comprehensive answer. I feel kind of dumb now. I always thought Yacht Clubs are for people with the boat only. So what does joining the club gives?

Question regarding internet, do i have to be really close to the shore to get reception?

As for my location, i live in Waterloo (near Moore Park)
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Old 14-03-2021, 04:14   #14
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

MichSN, I am keeping an eagle eye on this thread and others that are similar as in a relatively similar situation but more about planning for some extended cruising as I enter early retirement in 6yrs.

The point on buying an old dinghy is a great one. I bought an old Shipman 16 trailer dinghy and it has helped an awful lot.

The constant themes I've picked on threads of this nature are:
- the costs can be prohibitive vs what folks expected
- Reading is good, courses are great but doing it is the best....start small to get appropriate experience
- do it...a lot of people talk (maybe me included) but not everyone jumps to it

Best of luck
G
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Old 14-03-2021, 04:23   #15
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Re: Newbie to circumnavigate Australia, looking for advice

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Originally Posted by gmallows View Post
MichSN, I am keeping an eagle eye on this thread and others that are similar as in a relatively similar situation but more about planning for some extended cruising as I enter early retirement in 6yrs.

The point on buying an old dinghy is a great one. I bought an old Shipman 16 trailer dinghy and it has helped an awful lot.

The constant themes I've picked on threads of this nature are:
- the costs can be prohibitive vs what folks expected
- Reading is good, courses are great but doing it is the best....start small to get appropriate experience
- do it...a lot of people talk (maybe me included) but not everyone jumps to it

Best of luck
G
Thanks, G! Unfortunately, buying and towing a dinghy doesn't look like an option for me just because i have nowhere to store it (i live in an apartment building with just 1 car spot).

As to do it, instead of talking. Couldn't agree more. I haven't told many people about the plan and most of those who know are very sceptical about the chances of this happening. However, this gives even more motivation to do it.
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