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Old 01-08-2017, 13:11   #16
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

Lots of great advice. And yes - thank you for your service!

I don't really agree with the "get on other people's boats and learn everything first". Personally, I think there;s no better way to learn than to jump in the deep end, and no better motivation that "I have to fix it myself". You just need to know enough to be safe and not make a big financial mistake. I would recommend the first 3 ASA courses - up to basic bareboat chartering. Take time to figure out what boat you want...or need. I would suggest a mono-hull over muti. With a fixed income your expenses will be much less on a mono in terms of maintenance, dockage etc.

Go for it!

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Old 01-08-2017, 13:29   #17

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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

My main reason for the informal approach to getting on Other People's Boats, is getting into a community, and secondarily hands-on with the many different styles at very low or no cost.

And even if you don't need the money, actually make a career of it, getting **competent enough** to get hired as crew, has got to happen at some point anyway! IMO, before spending down the nest eggs is better than after, but at least start that journey on OPB.

By all means take courses as well, charter if you can afford it.

But getting hooked in to a group in place already, making close friendships with very experienced sailors, owners, workers in the game already, all that will pay off in spades, in many ways not even mentioned, beyond saving heaps of precious hard-earned savings.

I literally camped on Brewer's Bay, got over 100 days at sea, some liveaboard, some racing, went on deliveries, helped with maintenance jobs, etc

Whole six months cost me less than my land-based S&B life did for just a few weeks.

And doing it in Paradise. . .
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Old 01-08-2017, 13:36   #18
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

Just do it ! You might not like it and lose a little money , so what ! We ran away from home in the mid seventies and sailed for fifteen or so years , Now in an RV > Losing money ain't no big deal but losing time is terrible ! Do it , you ain't gonna get out of this world alive anyway .
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Old 01-08-2017, 14:10   #19
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

Take the basic ADA bareboat charter courses in the Caribbean or Florida. Charter a cat off season for a couple of weeks to see if you like being on a rocking cork. If you still love it, go for it. Fair winds. Welcome to the group.
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Old 01-08-2017, 18:28   #20
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

I like Jess & Ryan's videos, they have a lot of good knowledge to share. (Well, I say knowledge with tongue in cheek... they certainly aren't the salts that reside on this forum!)

Here's a good video from them about Cats, and why you should probably just go shopping...

Cats vs Monohulls?

The point here is, consider your budgets, your knowledge, and what really would work for you. You CAN make it work sooner than later, but ultimately, get out there, get some sailing under your belt, and this will all make more sense in the long run.

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Old 01-08-2017, 19:22   #21

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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

I agree if getting out on the water is not putting a big dent in your old-age security "go for it" becomes more appropriate.

But for those in/past middle age and unlikely to regenerate another million if needed, I advise caution, doing the early learning phases on the cheap.
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Old 01-08-2017, 22:37   #22
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

Second the BVI.
Lease a cat for a few months and hire an instructor until you feel comfortable.
Learning to sail is the easy part. Navigation and boat handling around the docks is key.
BVI is sheltered and easy place to learn. Not cheap.
Get your USCG Masters License. Not that hard. Buy "Get Your Captain's license" (or something like that). Has CD with tests.
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I would look at Voyage Charters in BVI. Good people. Nice boats.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:02   #23
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

Originally Posted by Jhahn View Post
Ok, I'll state what my hopes are, and I’ll let you guys tell me it’s unrealistic or not a good idea.
Me (50) and my girlfriend (42) of 5 years, who are both divorced, her once me three times (financial suicide), are thinking about taking a break from the US (possibly forever) to head south in search of warmer waters, and less politics and the everyday chaos. I retired from the Army in 2011 and work briefly for the federal government after that, we have no bills, and own our two cars (one of which will be sold). We have a monthly income without working and after paying my ex’s (see note above) and taxes, of around $4500. We have also put aside some savings for a down payment on whatever we decide on getting.
Neither one of us sail or have sailing experience, although as a Special Forces Combat Diver in the Army I do understand how to navigate, read charts, operate a radio, SAT phone, and electronic navigation systems. We have lived together in our Motorcoach which is 40ft, for 9 months straight after selling our houses and enjoyed the experience (selling everything we didn’t need) and the simplicity of it. I also briefly lived aboard a 30ft sport yacht in a slip at the end of my second marriage before being forced to sell it. We both love the ocean, and being in the water (diving, paddle boarding), we had talked about moving to Belize and renting, as well as doing some diving/work, but now feel that a boat may be a better fit for us.
Thank you for hanging in there until I reached my question….
We are leaning towards a Catamaran, we don’t have any plans on leaving the Caribbean/gulf, we believe this would provide us ample space while allowing our adult kids to visit and stay for short periods of time, we could also use the motors if needed as we get more comfortable with the sailing part. Currently looking at boats from 37ft to 47ft. We have just started looking with the hopes of departing the beginning of next year. The thought was that we would spend a year or two living on the boat while visiting different places until we either decide to put down roots, or continue the life afloat.
So what would be the recommendations from those that have done this, on how to proceed (type and size of boat), how to make a safe purchase, route/location to start from or head to? Classes to take, licensing if needed, as well as general thoughts/suggestions. I’m the type to jump in with both feet, but I don’t want to end up in over my head.
I appreciate any input as well as “If it was me, I would …..”
First, let me ask forgiveness from the multihullists for answering a question in their forum, for I am a died in the wool monohullist. Therefore, I have decided to not respond to the choice of vessel, not because I have nothing to say, but to spare hard feelings.

Given that both you and your good lady love the water, and that at least one (if not both of you) like to solve problems with your hands and thoughts, then most of what you will need to learn won't deal with mechanics [responds to simple logic], but sailing (a) safely and (b) fun.

Imo, the beginnings of what you need to know can be obtained by, crewing on OPBs, absorbing the knowledge in daily bits, and crewing for a number of skippers--that's really informative!; via lessons; and the "jumping in the deep end and learning as you go" method. Advantages of the first method include a comfortable pace, and someone else pays the bills; of the second, although costly in dollars, may make a short cut for both of you, depends a lot on how you learn; the third, if you do it wisely, will not be expensive (you start with a trailer sailer or a very small keel boat, and sail the pants off it, start to learn what you like and don't, and what kinds of motion appeals to you. Some people's bodies don't like jerky motion. If you learn that about yourselves, then maybe a cat isn't for you, but maybe you could acclimatize. Susceptibility to mal de mer is highly individualistic. (There's threads here on CF about it if you're interested.)

All boats are compromises. It will take a lot of time for you guys to learn about, and best to be learning about sailing on the sea in the meantime.

In my mind, there's no reason not to try it, but thinking about how to go about the initial learning so that it fits for both of you will clarify things.

You're new here, [and Welcome aboardto both of you. Jim and I have been cruising together since roughly 1980, 47 yrs. We have been ocean crossing sailors since 1983, with a SF to HI round trip in a 30' mono. This response to you has been informed by all those years, and listening to many people, not all of whom were successful cruisers. Not on my high horse, just that everyone's path is different. I started out crewing for others when there weren't many multis on SF Bay, and Jim started with his own boats well before I met him.


Try reading the thread about the Leopard 46 that went on the reef at Huahine, some multihull solutions are hit upon in that thread, as well as newbie navigation naive thinking.
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 03-08-2017, 06:20   #24
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

The couple who did that cat versus mono video crack me up. A few videos later they posted their "first dinghy ride" video. Complete noobs making instructional videos is an oxymoron.

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Old 03-08-2017, 08:04   #25
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

As a die hard, monohull enthusiast I will say that cats in the Caribbean are the way to go.
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Old 03-08-2017, 15:23   #26
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

Best way to learn is if you move aboard on your own boat in a busy Marina where various folks will help you along. I believe it is important to have your own boat vs. learning via crewing on others' boats.

So, my rec is get a boat and move on board. Finding the right boat may look daunting but actually it is quite fun. Note the following truisms:

- Most boats will do fine, i.e. you can't go wrong unless you get a lemon, so use a surveyor.

- Some boats are better at one thing, i.e. racing, others are more comfortable for cruising. Others are better built and thus more expensive. None of this is crucial.

- Find a boat that you love, that you have a connection to. Sit inside and ask yourself the question, is this our boat? The rest will be obvious.

If you are buying a cat, then get any cat you can afford. Clearly a Catana is better than a Lagoon but they will all do fine.

If getting a mono, stay fin keel, 38-47 ft range is fine, make sure you have two separate cabins and heads as you will have guests.

Good luck.
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Old 03-08-2017, 17:52   #27
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

I see everyone is eager to discuss monohull sailboat vs multihull sailboat... as usual :-)

But nobody has touched on a more fundamental question:

Motorboat or Sailboat?

The OP has never done any sailing, and does not intend to cross oceans anyway....

Hence an obvios option is to go with a motoryacht or trawler in the first instance.

This will be far easier to learn and operate, while getting to grips with the whole living at sea thing... Arguably also safer.

You'd be able to afford a bigger boat overall, since sails and rigging are expensive upfront... and you can start sooner, since less training will be required.

A motorboat is more similar to a rolling motor home. Hence an easy transition for the OP and the gf.

For the next boat, a few years down the line perhaps, move on and get a sailboat if the wind is really still calling :-)
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Old 03-08-2017, 18:41   #28

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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

Sounds practical, but to me stinkpots just take all the dream out of the dream. . .
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:43   #29
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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Sounds practical, but to me stinkpots just take all the dream out of the dream. . .
OK, I don't want to ruffle any feathers here, but for the edification of the OP, be aware that the majority of sailboats we (in a slow stinkpot) see offshore between ports are motoring.

Oh, there is plenty of day-sailing around the mouth of every harbor on any good weekend day. And we have sailing friends who love cruising for long periods with minimal motoring. I suspect that's the majority here, too.

But more often than not, what we see out there are what we call "motorboats with sticks." In other words, cruising sailboats motoring between ports. Sadly, we see this even in ideal wind conditions.

I suspect many of these cruisers just refuse to give up the dream, which I can certainly understand. But a "real" power boat offers some creature comforts such as interior space and light, and maybe an enclosed helm station.

For the record, we see just as many, if not more, power boaters who remain tied to the dock, at great expense and to the detriment of their deteriorating boats, but also refuse to give up the dream. That dream thing is a killer!
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:20   #30

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Re: Transitioning from Land to Sea

Well long as my definition of financial security isn't threatened, I'd rather spend the surplus on keeping the dream alive (if not perfectly reified) than other "stuff".

For me it isn't just the water or the mobility, certainly not comfort, it's the sensual pleasure of "silently" cruising long distances, knowing that requires no fuel, and goes back many thousands of years.

Pure romance.

For others, fancy restaurants, high-stakes poker, fine art or fast cars do it for them; these are all of course just personal preferences, not casting any judgment nor saying mine are "better" preferences.
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