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Old 10-02-2018, 15:20   #1
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Single cruisers, a basic look?

As a single guy turning 41, I'm looking at learning to sail myself over the next year or two, sailing some rentals for a few years, and buying a boat to sail/dive on in early retirement. As such, there are a ton of things I just don't know, so I figured this is a good place to ask questions. Some of the one's I've thought of so far (and I'm sure these don't cover 1/2 of what I don't know) are"

Are there boats that you can't sail by yourself (too big to handle alone or something)?

Things you just can't do or need to hire/find a crew for?

Easy/difficult to find others to come along for a while (without having hundreds of thousands of Youtube subscribers anyway... Delos etc certainly could get free crew whenever they'd like)?

Easy/hard to find people to hang out with when moored/docked?

Right now I'm leaning toward a single-hull (to keep costs down), with at least 2 separate cabins (door to sleeping area so guests/crew have some privacy). I'm leaning towards cruising mostly the Caribbean, so as I understand it that means a shallow draft is better... but not too shallow....

I do plan on having/installing a watermaker and some sort of dive setup (even though it may not be cost effective, though it may be... the debates on that subject seem to be very heated so let's avoid talking about that...).

Other questions I should be asking?
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Old 10-02-2018, 16:16   #2
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

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Originally Posted by jlcnuke View Post

Are there boats that you can't sail by yourself (too big to handle alone or something)?

Sure, but if you are staying under 50' and away from pure racing boats, most boats can be easily single handed.

Things you just can't do or need to hire/find a crew for?

No. But it always helps to have extra hands for watch standing, storms, and someone to talk with.

Easy/difficult to find others to come along for a while (without having hundreds of thousands of Youtube subscribers anyway... Delos etc certainly could get free crew whenever they'd like)?

Usually easy once you are no longer a novice. Moderate as a novice.

Easy/hard to find people to hang out with when moored/docked?

Very easy, unless you have anti-social behaviors.

Right now I'm leaning toward a single-hull (to keep costs down), with at least 2 separate cabins (door to sleeping area so guests/crew have some privacy). I'm leaning towards cruising mostly the Caribbean, so as I understand it that means a shallow draft is better... but not too shallow....

Keep it under 7'. As a novice, 4' draft is quite forgiving, but not necessary.

I do plan on having/installing a watermaker and some sort of dive setup (even though it may not be cost effective, though it may be... the debates on that subject seem to be very heated so let's avoid talking about that...).

Nice to have.

Other questions I should be asking?
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Old 10-02-2018, 16:40   #3
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

Hi JLC and welcome to cruisers forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlcnuke View Post
As a single guy turning 41, I'm looking at learning to sail myself over the next year or two, sailing some rentals for a few years, and buying a boat to sail/dive on in early retirement. As such, there are a ton of things I just don't know, so I figured this is a good place to ask questions. Some of the one's I've thought of so far (and I'm sure these don't cover 1/2 of what I don't know) are"

Actually this is a great place to ask questions.

Are there boats that you can't sail by yourself (too big to handle alone or something)?

For a reference point, several years ago a French sailor raced a 235' sailboat single handed across the Atlantic. Of course that would be a bit much for cruising but the point is, with the proper winches and setup, which can be done to almost any sailboat, a good sized sailboat can be managed by one person. The limitation is more the skills of the sailor than the boat. For me the limit is mid 40' range. This is the boat size that I can still lift and carry the sails by myself

Things you just can't do or need to hire/find a crew for?

My opinion it's a lot easier making a long passage with crew. The problem for me is getting sleep while still keep watch.

Easy/difficult to find others to come along for a while (without having hundreds of thousands of Youtube subscribers anyway... Delos etc certainly could get free crew whenever they'd like)?

Usually not too difficult to find help for a trip. Depending on the trip you might need to offer to pay travel expenses.

Easy/hard to find people to hang out with when moored/docked?

Depends on where you are, but generally the boating community is very open.

Right now I'm leaning toward a single-hull (to keep costs down), with at least 2 separate cabins (door to sleeping area so guests/crew have some privacy). I'm leaning towards cruising mostly the Caribbean, so as I understand it that means a shallow draft is better... but not too shallow....

Caribbean deep draft is fine, it's the Bahamas where you might have a problem. In the Bahamas 5' is pretty good, 6' is OK,
7' might be a bit limiting on where you can go.


I do plan on having/installing a watermaker and some sort of dive setup (even though it may not be cost effective, though it may be... the debates on that subject seem to be very heated so let's avoid talking about that...).

Other questions I should be asking?

This is a good start. However, let me recommend you spend some time reading old discussions on the forum, try the search function. For example your question about a boat to sail short handed or single handed is probably in the top five most common and you will probably find dozens if not hundreds of previous comments on the subject.
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Old 10-02-2018, 17:24   #4
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

There is a guide to tips and hints by Andrew Evans in the Library that you can download and have a read of which might be helpful.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...hp?do=cat&id=2

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Old 11-02-2018, 10:10   #5
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

Get yourself up to Lake Lanier on the weekends and volunteer to crew for races.

You’ll learn a ton fast.

You’ll meet a lot of sailors.

You’ll find out if the sailing reality meets the dream.

You’ll have time to think on the drive home and if you invite a friend you may also find a good future sailing partner.

The social component to racing is big. The repetition and being forced to deal with real stuff real fast invaluable when you find yourself in the inevitable pickle like sailing through John’s Pass at 8:45pm with a light fog :-)

All the other stuff you mention will work itself out over time but not on the internet.

Good luck!
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:24   #6
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

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Originally Posted by akprb View Post
Get yourself up to Lake Lanier on the weekends and volunteer to crew for races.
You’ll learn a ton fast.

You’ll meet a lot of sailors.

You’ll find out if the sailing reality meets the dream."

I disagree with the last sentence in the quoted portion of the post. The original post seemed to indicate cruising as the objective. While there is cross-over, sailing on a lake is a different reality, and is mentally and physically different than the open ocean or even coastal cruising. Still, it is a great idea.
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:44   #7
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

[QUOTE=buzzstar;2574453]
Quote:
Originally Posted by akprb View Post
Get yourself up to Lake Lanier on the weekends and volunteer to crew for races.

You’ll learn a ton fast.

You’ll meet a lot of sailors.

You’ll find out if the sailing reality meets the dream."

I disagree with the last sentence in the quoted portion of the post. The original post seemed to indicate cruising as the objective. While there is cross-over, sailing on a lake is a different reality, and is mentally and physically different than the open ocean or even coastal cruising. Still, it is a great idea.
Yea. When I wrote that last line knew I was pushing it :-) Not so much because of lake v ocean (although when I was coming up an old timer told me “if you can sail the Hudson you can sail anywhere”) but because racers are a different breed.

That being said if he finds the “cruising class” (meaning not the psychopathic A fleet) he’ll meet more casual crews and learn a ton.

I raced the Lindenburg North Americans there in 81, that’s the only sailing I know of in Central Georgia as a side note.

From the tone of his post he is starting from ground zero and whenever I hear that I think skill him up quick.

Cruising offshore or nearshore is real business and the dream fades quickly if the foundation is not solid.
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Old 11-02-2018, 13:24   #8
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

jl-
You're asking the right questions, looking before you leap, so you've already got the right start. I'd suggest a USPS or USCGAux boating safety course to start. Inexpensive, comprehensive, and the boating safety certificate you get may be required in many states. Take some formal courses with "ASA 101" and further ratings, not because they are the only thing out there, but they will teach you a recognized and standard way to do things. And the ASA certifications will help you with rentals and charters. All of those certificates may also lower your eventual boating insurance costs.
When and if you can take it, look for a "Safety at Sea" course. Expensive, especially if you take the 2-day course, but very extensive serious learning, day 2 being hands-on. (And if you get seriously into racing, having THAT certificate is required for part of the crew in major races, so having it makes you more valuable.)
Look into racing even if yu have no interest in it. Especially if you have no interest in it. Because one day, you will be saying "Damn, I'd like to arrive before sunset while there's still an open dock, how can I tweak out some more speed?" and the racing skills pay off.(G) Also, racers always need pick-up crew, so you get the chance to sail with a variety of screaming lunatics, ergh, avid sailors, and learn about a lot of boats and how to work them. You may find yourself being asked to help move boats, in which case you also find out hands-on just how much boat you can double-hand or single-hand, and how the options and setup choices make that easier, or not.
How to eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

And DO please wait for a good sale, if necessary, but buy yourself a good set of waterproof foul-weather gear, not the WalMart stuff. You'll find that once you have the ability to stay warm and dry despite whatever is happening around you, sailing becomes a whole lot more fun! Foulies, deck shoes, sailing gloves, sun protection...and it should all fit on your body or in a daypack, so you can travel fast and light. I'd also add an inflatable PFD with integrated harness, once you start trying to get rides on other people's boats. Sure, they'll have PFDs you can use, but that's like borrowing someone else's pajamas. I'd rather have MINE.(G) You won't need that right away, though.
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Old 11-02-2018, 13:29   #9
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

Quote:
Yea. When I wrote that last line knew I was pushing it :-) Not so much because of lake v ocean (although when I was coming up an old timer told me “if you can sail the Hudson you can sail anywhere”) but because racers are a different breed.
It's funny... we've heard similar statements nearly everywhere that we have cruised. Not quite sure what motivates these opinions, but they are very common.

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Old 11-02-2018, 14:26   #10
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

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It's funny... we've heard similar statements nearly everywhere that we have cruised. Not quite sure what motivates these opinions, but they are very common.

Jim
You talking about lake v ocean or racers being a different breed? :-)

As far as lake (or river for that matter) v ocean I’d say experience on the former can be exceptionally varied over a couple of hours. From catching the slightest lifts and headers (something the OP should come to understand, to dealing with the inevitable afternoon blow (on the Hudson at least). If racing all this with no engine of course.

That experience personally has gotten me out of a few pickles and if nothing else made for a lot more fun when things got “interesting” offshore.

In many respects ocean sailing I find easier for the most part. Out there it’s just dealing with gear failure like the time our triradial failed between Suvarow and Samoa and I didn’t notice for four hours (top panel simply folded down in front of the lowers, still kept doing 6 knots).

As to racers being a different breed? They are all nuts. I started when I was ten and spent formative years on a foredeck. Didn’t know any better. The cruising classes are calmer and I would steer newbies that way.

More to the point we get a lot of folks here who want to live the life but yet to understand why it’s attractive and difficult. The highs are high cause the lows are low. Knowing how to deal with the lows a step in the right direction for all.

Many only sail when conditions are perfect. That’s not how it goes when far afield. I decided to drive a ferry in Auckland just because you had to dock 38 times a shift regardless of wind and tide and had to do it on a schedule. Oh yea, and with 300 eyeballs waiting for me to mess up :-)

I’d like to see everyone who wants to “get out there” do it successfully and not end up like that young couple at John’s Pass which seems to be the other popular thread of the day.

��

(Can you tell I’m trying to avoid doing any real work today???)
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Old 11-02-2018, 15:04   #11
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

Quote:
You talking about lake v ocean or racers being a different breed? :-)
Neither! I was referring to the "If you can sail xxx (local waters), you can sail anywhere" statement about sailing on th Hudson river.

And of course racers are different. Used to be one... ain't one now.

Jim
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:42   #12
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

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Neither! I was referring to the "If you can sail xxx (local waters), you can sail anywhere" statement about sailing on th Hudson river.

And of course racers are different. Used to be one... ain't one now.

Jim
Hi Jim,
I am not sure if you have ever sailed on the Hudson, so I apologize if the following is already familiar to you. If so, perhaps others will find it interesting.

The Hudson has some unique characteristics that are conducive to learning, and in some cases learning the hard way. Being that New York City is at the mouth of the Hudson River, also known as the North River, it is obviously busy in the same way that say Sydney Harbour, Hong Kong, the English Channel, etc. are. What is somewhat different is that all of the traffic is confined to a river that is perhaps a mile wide around Manhattan. Within this narrow space, you will have hundreds of ferries, massive cruise ships, party boats, kayaks, jet skis, power boats, bulk carriers, and many other vessels. The larger vessels are naturally constrained in their ability to maneuver and some of them have significant blind spots. In addition to these, there are huge numbers of tugs and barges, also constrained in their ability to maneuver and in their ability to see you. An added "feature" is that the very large mooring balls for the barges are not lit. A "benefit" to this is instant feedback on one's nocturnal observation abilities.

In addition to the traffic, there are both reasonably strong tides that can be over four knots and very variable winds. The winds can often be from different directions and of different strengths even in a matter of minutes of short distances. I've even seen different directions and strengths on opposite sides of the river. Much of this can be due to the skyscraper and their wind shadow.

Some of the tidal and normal currents of the Hudson have been amplified due to landfills expanding both NYC and the New Jersey side of the shoreline, thus narrowing the river. Many of the marinas on the river have limited or no sea wall protection, thus forcing one to either hone their docking skills, or to hone their gellcoat and GRP (fiberglass) repair skills, or both. Additionally, these currents also encourage one's ability to accurately read tide charts.

The wind can be very squirrelly due to the aforementioned wind shadows. The tallest buildings are in lower Manhattan and midtown, with lower areas in between the two and north of midtown. Sometimes these buildings will cause there to be almost no wind, and sometimes it will make it change direction often and constantly. This perhaps unsurprisingly encourages one to pay attention to sail trim. With all of this, one must often tack across the river while avoiding significant traffic.

I suspect that when they talk about sailing on the Hudson as good preparation, they are also including the upper NY bay and even the East River. Conditions are a little less crowded, but not by much.

I think of it as learning to fly at a controlled tower. Yes, you may spend a few minutes waiting for other traffic, but once you are used to dealing with traffic and the various controllers, it becomes much easier to deal with, as opposed to leaning at an uncontrolled airport and then trying to deal with complex conditions later.
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:00   #13
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

The poor OP’s head must be swimming after ArmyDaveNY post!

Brought back a lot of memories! I cruised down the east river just last year and out to Sandy Hook enroute to FL.

Great part of the world.
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:10   #14
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlcnuke View Post
Are there boats that you can't sail by yourself (too big to handle alone or something)?

Easy/difficult to find others to come along for a while (without having hundreds of thousands of Youtube subscribers anyway... Delos etc certainly could get free crew whenever they'd like)?

Right now I'm leaning toward a single-hull (to keep costs down), with at least 2 separate cabins (door to sleeping area so guests/crew have some privacy). I'm leaning towards cruising mostly the Caribbean, so as I understand it that means a shallow draft is better... but not too shallow....

Other questions I should be asking?
In addition to the excellent comments already posted, consider joining a yacht club. This will provide several benefits. It will allow you to sail with a number of different people and learn different styles and gain different insights. Additionally you will get the benefit of sailing on different boats with different rigs. It will help you get a feel for what you like, what you don't like, and help you find what size vessel you are comfortable with.

On top of this, you will see what those with some experience look for in crew. Be sure to bring a bottle for the skipper who is kind enough to bring you along!

Who knows, you may even find someone who is interested in selling their boat; a boat you will already have some experience with.

Good luck with your new quest!
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:23   #15
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Re: Single cruisers, a basic look?

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The poor OPs head must be swimming after ArmyDaveNY post!

Brought back a lot of memories! I cruised down the east river just last year and out to Sandy Hook enroute to FL.

Great part of the world.
LOL. Going down the coast is a great trip, both on the inside and the outside. It's especially nice when there are time constraints, and one is free to explore!
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