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Old 10-10-2018, 12:25   #1
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Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

Hi guys, I know I have been bugging some guys with maybe newbie questions so I thought I roll out the whole thought process as I’m sure most of you have gone through this or are going through it.

Qn: How do I get my technical skills ready for live-aboard and world sailing and how long does it take/what’s involved ?

I have ASA 101 and have owned my 27ft Catalina for about 2 years before my co owner passed away from cancer. I was hoping that we would get more sailing in and then I would upgrade to a larger liveaboard boat. However this never happened so I sold up being a single owner of the boat (my finances weren’t as strong as now).

My life has somewhat changed in the last couple of years and I am in a lot better position to make a transition to my dream lifestyle. I enjoy challenges and living life with those challenges (I’m not ready for armchair stay at home stuff!!). I love water sports, diving, kayaking etc and would like to setup a live-aboard with dive gear too.

So with that said I’d like to end up with a 42ft-ish ketch and get a crew to sail with me to exotic places. I know it’s a dream but many of you have done this. Maybe I’ll meet the perfect lady sailor/companion during the process (hey, strange things happen in this world of ours).

I’m in a good financial position (or what I think is good because a boat will always cost you more than you have !!). My health is good and I’m very active with sports. I’m currently 52yo if that matters.

My thoughts are: get crewing on coastal sailing. Learn from you guys and help out wherever I can. Do my ASA 103+104 courses (maybe before crewing - please advise ?). Then start figuring out buying a boat etc.

I’m in the SF Bay Area at the moment but if an opportunity presents itself for a great sailing experience I will up-and-off (probably early next year timeline). I have no ties and could actually go anywhere in the world!!


I’m sure a lot of you have has the anxiety/thoughts/self doubt bug you and a persistent “what-if” until you made the leap of faith, so I would really be greatful for you sharing your experience and the emotional roller coaster.

Again, I would put myself in the newbie category with low helm hours.

If you are in the SF Bay Area and would be willing to meet up with me over a beer/coffee/whatnot (even if you are in the same position as me wrt sailing) I’d love to hang out and discuss possibilities. PM me if so.

Fair sailing and safe passages to you.
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Old 13-10-2018, 12:54   #2
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

Hello Cruisingdog:
After nearly 30 years of teaching sailing and cruising, here are my two cents.

Sailing is the easy part. Keeping the boat functioning is the hard part. So... buy a boat that's easy to keep functioning. Start with as much new gear as possible, rigging and sails, for example. I think 35 feet is a good size for a solo sailor and the gear is not too expensive.

Diesels, for example, are not hard to keep in good running order if... and it is a big if... the fuel is clean. Clean the tank, have an excellent filtering system, and filter the fuel going into the tank from the dockside fuel pump.

I work in the Caribbean doing the typical ASA 103-104-105-106 programs. They will help you. Mostly, you get a lot of quality time with a knowledgeable instructor and see a lot of boats and sailors.

Keep in touch! It's gonna be fun.

Norman Martin
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Old 13-10-2018, 13:21   #3
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NormanMartin View Post

Diesels, for example, are not hard to keep in good running order if... and it is a big if... the fuel is clean. Clean the tank, have an excellent filtering system, and filter the fuel going into the tank from the dockside fuel pump.
Have you figured it a way of doing this at the same pace as the fuel delivery system?
Any of those Mr funnel, Baja filter type contraptions I have used can't keep up with the flow.
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Old 13-10-2018, 13:33   #4
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

Hi:
I usually just fuel sailboats with slow fill so not a problem.

A voyaging friend of mine has a cool system. He has a two stage filter between engine and tank plus an independant fuel polishing system that runs whenever engine is operating. It may also be operated while engine is off.

Clean fuel rocks!
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Old 13-10-2018, 13:41   #5
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

Like Norman, I would say something mid 30s would be an excellent choice, I wouldn't go with a ketch but that's just my personal preference but, they sure are pretty. Go get yourself some more helm time with some experienced people ASA courses are a great option, and make sure you can take almost everything apart and put it back together again, things do tend to break when you least want them to, and carry spare parts especially filters.
After you get your boat ready, have a blast doing boat maintenance in exotic places, with as many umbrella drinks and bikinis as you can find.
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Old 13-10-2018, 13:42   #6
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

Yeah, we have no issue getting clean fuel from tank to engine (sumps and drains in tanks, 1000fgx2 + additional filters on engine) but I am keen on something to ensure clean fuel to tank.
And so as not to overstay my welcome, it would have to be full flow as we take 2000 gallons to fill
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Old 13-10-2018, 14:00   #7
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

I know a guy who runs 2 tanks, one that holds the bulk of the fuel and a "day tank" of sorts that feeds the engine. The fuel is transferred as needed after passing a pair of filters. I'll have to talk with him next time I see him to have him show me the nuts and bolts of his system so I can explain it better.

As for me I don't often venture far from fuel I can trust, and adding a few coffee filters to the spout of the can seems to do me ok, and being religious about changing my racors.
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Old 13-10-2018, 14:05   #8
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

When teaching cruising full time I had a list of books and authors ready to pass along to new sailors. I can't find it, sadly.

Reading is one of the best ways to sort out the useful information from the chaff. Used bookstores are treasure troves. Have fun.

Lin and Larry Pardy: It is all good
Glen Damato's Breaking Seas will sober up the dream
Beth Leonard's Voyager's Handbook, etc.

Once you start the search it will go on and on in satisfying ways.
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Old 13-10-2018, 14:14   #9
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

OK, OK... I promise to stop. After this.

There are some really good blogs about cruising. Start here:
https://www.aboutcruising.com/

These guys have done an amazing job of starting sailing, rebuilding a boat and voyaging. She also writes some very entertaining books about it all, too.
https://havewindwilltravel.com/

Norm
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Old 13-10-2018, 14:18   #10
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

Hi, cruisingdog,

Well, imo, there are only a few skills about living aboard, you mostly live as you did on land; and if you're in a marina, you don't have to figure in tide cycles before making appointments! However, back when we started, neither of us had any formal training, and learned as we went.

Relative to fuel, Jim has it set up so that we can change which filter we're on. Coming across the Pacific, we always used the lesser Baja filter, and yes, you take up a little more time, but capturing the grit and water before introducing it into your tanks is worth it, to us.

For the sailing part, ocean experience is very worthwhile. To that end, ocean racing in the MORA (midget ocean racing association) and ASH (since then, came together to the SSS--singlehanded sailing society) provided such background for me and Jim. What this low level club racing provides is the motivation to go out in all conditions, and then come home to a warm shower. What you learn forms the basis of your comfort and self confidence at sea. And, it will make a better sailor of you.

Should you decide you want to live a long term cruising lifestyle, that's when you'll benefit most from understanding all your major systems, so you can clobber together a fix out of whatever's on hand, when you are far from services. You will need to have these skills. All of this takes time, it is an interactive process, and it will be interesting in the doing, just be patient with yourself, there will be times when you will feel frustrated, and others, when you may feel afraid, and you'll learn to cope with that, too.

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Old 13-10-2018, 15:58   #11
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Re: Live aboard and cruising -how to achieve?

Howdy CruisingDog.

I used to live in San Francisco for years, and very much enjoyed sailing there and up and down the California coast too. You are in a very good place to learn sailing and increase your skills.

Since you are asking about how to start I have a few recommendations:

1. Take some lessons from Club Nautique (2 locations in SF Bay Area). I consider it the best sailing school in the area, and it has been ranked as one of the best in the USA.

2. Volunteer to crew on boats. Especially those that go offshore (out the Golden Gate).

3. Put your name on the Baja Ha Ha list and take a trip down Baja California.

Before doing any of those things, I suggest reading as preparation and for knowledge building.

I have created 20+ free Illustrated Guides you can read online, and each is intended to help Newbies and Intermediate sailors (and Old Salts on some topics). One is “the Best Book for Learning Sailing” and another is “The Best Books for Circumnavigation” and another is “The Best Books for Boat Maintenance.” Start reading all of those, then take the lessons, then crew. I think that is the best order. It is best to know stuff before you jump on a race crew, and best to take some lessons too, IMHO.

Here is a link to one of the Illustrated Guides. Notice that it includes some of the books used in ASA sailing classes too, so you can get a head start on study for the courses.

Best Books to Learn Sailing for Beginners and Newbies – GlobalAdvisor


I hope that helps you (and others).
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