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Old 23-09-2021, 23:47   #1
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How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

One of my goals is to get to a point where I can confidently charter and skipper a 40' boat. Ideally by my 40th birthday next September.

I own a 27' cruiser and recently skippered a 33' charter in the Gulf Islands. Other than that the only experience I have is a long-weekend skippering a friend's dad's 37'…but that was just motoring around the San Juans. Chartering is very expensive and I don't think they'd allow me to jump up to a 40' given my level of experience. One local charter company I spoke with told me they allow moves of only 1' up at a time…which seems ridiculous.
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Old 23-09-2021, 23:56   #2
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

Personally I don’t think there is much difference skippering a 27 foot or 40’foot boat. It may actually be easier on the 40 footer since it is more likely to have all the toys (bow thrusters). Join a club if you really feel you need to.
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Old 24-09-2021, 00:16   #3
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

Do yacht deliveries as crew.

To be honest, motoring specially inside marina, docking and undocking is where the skill of the skipper shows most. For sailing, the loads just get bigger and you have to stop believing you can correct things by hand. Just take it slower and correct things going awry the proper way.

I went from 27' to 44' (both solo) and this realisation was enough for me. Learn to dock / undock your 27' with the engine, rudder and fenders alone, without having to use you body to push the boat around or without hectic running around. Whenever something needs to be done away from the wheel, walk there leisurely. This will be sufficient skill even if you add another 30' to the length of the boat.
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Old 24-09-2021, 08:20   #4
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

I use to club charter 25 to 27 ft range and did not find any difference when I bought a 36. Recently bought a 41...same story. Frankly I think sailing got easier with electric winches.
The biggest change for me was spacial perception when going into a slip...
Do not know what to tell you about how to get experien e to make the charter companies happy.
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Old 24-09-2021, 08:59   #5
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bernk View Post
.........One local charter company I spoke with told me they allow moves of only 1' up at a time…which seems ridiculous.
Go ahead and get qualified 1' at a time (before you know it you will be chartering 50' sailboat), find another charter company, join a yacht club and make friend's with 40+ sailboats OR join a sailing club with a fleet of larger sailboats you can get qualified to sail like VSC Sailing Club Membership
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Old 24-09-2021, 09:40   #6
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

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Originally Posted by Joh.Ghurt View Post
Do yacht deliveries as crew.

To be honest, motoring specially inside marina, docking and undocking is where the skill of the skipper shows most. For sailing, the loads just get bigger and you have to stop believing you can correct things by hand. Just take it slower and correct things going awry the proper way.

I went from 27' to 44' (both solo) and this realisation was enough for me. Learn to dock / undock your 27' with the engine, rudder and fenders alone, without having to use you body to push the boat around or without hectic running around. Whenever something needs to be done away from the wheel, walk there leisurely. This will be sufficient skill even if you add another 30' to the length of the boat.
John is spot on. Where length comes into play is in maneuvering in the marina and docking/undocking. What takes time (arguably, you never end learning) is to master the fundamental skills of docking under power. Once you have those skills, every boat is different, but those skills apply and serve you well to handle boats of any length.
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Old 24-09-2021, 09:54   #7
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

Go down to the local club and get on a racing boat try different ones, most clubs race on Wednesdays and the weekend. They are always looking for crew, be honest about your experience and objectives keep trying until you find a good fit.
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Old 24-09-2021, 10:24   #8
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

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Originally Posted by Wayne hoath View Post
Personally I don’t think there is much difference skippering a 27 foot or 40’foot boat. It may actually be easier on the 40 footer since it is more likely to have all the toys (bow thrusters). Join a club if you really feel you need to.
I am with Wayne on this. We went from our 25 footer to our 40 footer with some trepidation but, after the first couple of dockings, we were perfectly comfortable. You will especially not see much difference between the 33 or 37 and the 40. Once you get past the point where you cannot muscle it in by hand, they are pretty much all the same.
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Old 24-09-2021, 10:33   #9
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

1 foot at a time sounds crazy.


Local club in Seattle has, generally, 2 classes, "keel boats" and "cruisers".


Keel boats are all under 30 foot, 22 & 27, mostly outboard powered, tiller steered. Generally small enough to muscle sails, docking, etc.


"Cruisers" are mostly between 30 and 40 feet. Inboard diesel, wheel steered. One or two are smaller than 30, a couple are larger than 40 (47' and a 40' catamaran) and require an additional checkout. You can't push them off the dock, or raise a sail w/o a winch.



Having been on many of their boats, I don't see much difference between 30' and 40', it's more space on the dock and more importantly more mass. That 35' island packet and it's full keel that wouldn't back up in any predictable direction was usually a lot harder to manage than the 47' hanse with a bow thruster.


Away from the dock, more mass is more load. But I find people used to smaller boats get used to that in a hurry and often show a better understanding of sailing. Trimming changes are much more responsive on smaller boats, on big boats it's just laggy, and I think most people find it easier to adapt to that then learn from the beginning on it. Those 1" changes on a 22' can show a difference, that's just not as easy to see on a 40', but it's still happening.



And sail handling, you'll figure out that you need to use the winch fast enough on 40 foot boats. But I see people that've never been on smaller boats just never really even try and move thing without them.



But everything else about sail trim is the same. Traffic, right of way, navigation markers, etc., the only part that changes when the boat get bigger is draft.


I have noticed that above 35', manufactures skimping on HW becomes much more obvious. Undersized winches on a 30' aren't a big deal.. On 45' it's a major annoyance.


See if there's a sailing school around that does docking clinics. And find out how they pick the boat for it.
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Old 24-09-2021, 11:35   #10
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

Have a look at this. It's in Vancouver. The Jib Set has a long (VERY long!) and storied history.


https://www.cooperboating.com/community-and-clubs/


Also consider going down to one of the Yacht Clubs (False Creek, The Rowing Club, Burrard, etc.) and volunteering to crew with their racing program. If you can get on big enough boats that will teach you more in a big hurry than any other way. Also they sail all winter so you will have lots of opportunities - and there are usually boats looking for crew.
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Old 24-09-2021, 11:56   #11
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

I don't necessarily agree with people who say it is relatively easy to move up from say 27' to 40'. There are BIG differences that have to be learned. And maybe in Southern California most 40 footers have bow thrusters and electric winches - but around here they don't.

Boat sizes, weight, forces, etc. go up roughly as the CUBE of the length - so a 40 footer is approximately three times the "size" of a 27 footer.
1. It doesn't stop like a 27 footer. You can't just jump onto the dock and "catch" it when you are coming in.
2. If you hit something it will do REAL DAMAGE both to you and the other guy - something I have to be extraordinarily careful about as Scorpius is 18 tons of steel!
3. The various forces go up dramatically. Catch your fingers in a sheet winch of a 27 footer and it'll hurt like hell - but you'll recover. Catch them in a winch on a 40 footer and it will rip them right off. Same goes for anchor winches (usually non-existent on a 27 footer but ubiquitous on 40 footers).
4. For the same general design (light vs. heavy, fin keel vs. full keel, etc.) 40 footers tend to manoever MUCH slower than 27 footers. They don't necessarily go, turn, or stop, on a dime. That, plus considering the sheer size of the the boat, you have think things out much further ahead and make sure you have the time and space you need to do what you want to do.

One foot at a time seems a little pedantic but 2' at a time strikes me as not unreasonable. (What charter company has boats one foot apart all the way from 27' to 40' and beyond?).

But don't let me scare you off. It's a VERY worthwhile pursuit and learning experience - especially on this coast.
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Old 24-09-2021, 12:04   #12
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

After sailing other people’s boat for a while as crew I rented a 40 ft monohull and enjoyed it. Ended up buying a 46ft boat and as others have suggested, easier than smaller boats until you get to a dock. That’s a learning opportunity for sure. I found a good book on maneuvering sailboat under power. I think from Amazon. Lots of good advice and some practice exercises and all is well. Still a challenge at times but definitely understanding the forces involved help a lot.
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Old 24-09-2021, 16:03   #13
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

The major charter companies don't like to let you park their boats even if they have given you a check ride. Typically on of their guys acting as a pilot takes you out of the marina with a chase boat following. He jumps off on to the chase boat and goes back in. When returning the boat at the end of the charter they will have you call on the radio when you are close and a chase boat will bring out a pilot who will dock the boat.

After you've charted a few times you can as them to let you try to park her. You can gain experience by watching the pilot and asking him/her questions and maybe they will let you give it a try with them coaching you.

I'm sure they won't turn down your business with your current experience. They most likely will give your a short check ride, which if you are smart, you would want anyway. If they don't offer a check ride ask for one the first time or two.
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Old 24-09-2021, 16:52   #14
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

There lots of schools that offer bareboat charter classes. Take and pass one of these and present your certificate to any of the major charter companies (try the Virgin Islands first) and you are on your way.
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Old 24-09-2021, 21:43   #15
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Re: How can I gain more experience on larger boats (~40') without going broke?

I’ve been sailing since I was a kid. I made the jump straight from 20 feet to 42.

There were some bruises but no permanent or particularly expense damage.

In retrospect I think a bit of time crewing for a delivery skipper would have been valuable. Doing it again, that’s the path I’d follow.
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