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Old 03-10-2007, 22:16   #1
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on the verge...

of becoming a cruiser.

Hi all,
This summer I did a bike tour (pedal bike cruising ) of the Pacific northwest and discovered that I want to learn how to sea kayak and sail. Eventually I'd like to cruise with the bike and kayak in tow. At this point, it looks like it will be a singlehanded affair. I know, I have a long way to go before that dream is in full effect, but hey, I gotta start somewhere; so here I am. This looks like the place on the web to get started learning the ropes from experienced cruisers, and I appreciate that a forum with so much participation is even available!

A month and a half ago I went to the library and checked out a pile of books related to sailing. I have browsed several general sailing books (beginning to learn terminology), read most of Jim Trefethen's book, 'The Cruising Life: A Commonsense Guide for the Would-Be Voyager', and hope to obtain a copy of Beth Leonard's book, 'The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising'. Aside from the more technical books about cruising, I'd like get into reading about other peoples' epic adventures. If you have any suggestions on good reading material please feel free to suggest them. I'm sure I'll find similar advice around the forums as well, so no pressure.

I'm thinking this winter will be dedicated to reading and studying more about sailing and when the ice thaws out in Michigan in 2008, I'll hopefully begin with some hands-on learning.

Anyway, enough blabbering. I'm gonna go read the forums. Cheers!

Brandon
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Old 04-10-2007, 00:11   #2
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Welcome aboard Brandon!

There are hundreds if not thousands of years of experience around here and tons of learning going on.

There are no dumb questions except the ones not asked...
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:20   #3
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Welcome! Cruising as a topic has a great deal of depth and breadth. After a reading for a few days straight you should start to see what I mean. There are a lot of great ways to make it all work but the right one for you takes a bit of effort to explore and try new things.

Having been a cyclist, canoeist, and mountaineer myself all your own touring experience adds to what you need to know about the world, about yourself, and about what cruising is all about. It's conditioning for your head. It's the hardest part to learn. You are well on your way. Boats are just like bikes - don't hit anything.
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:00   #4
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Welcome Brandon! "Living Aboard" by Libby Allcard is a great general book on the cruising life. Singlehanding will ultimately guide you to a specific boat, and will bring it's own limitations and restrictions, but it's own freedoms and scope also. Check the other "newbie" threads on the learning curve issue and getting the knowledge - there's already a great bank of opinion on this forum!! Some words of encouragement that are etched on a brass plate on my boat - you have a great adventure ahead!!
"If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble. If it happens to be an auxiliary cruising boat, it is without question the most compact and ingenious arrangement for living ever devised by the restless mind of man--a home that is stable without being stationary, shaped less like a box than like a fish or a girl, and in which the homeowner can remove his daily affairs as far from shore as he has the nerve to take them, close hauled or running free--parlor, bedroom, and bath, suspended and alive."
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:25   #5
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My Favorite Books

Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum
Around the World Single-Handed: The Cruise of the Islander by Harry Pidgeon
Desparate Voyage by John Caldwell
Cruising in Seraffyn by Lin and Larry Pardey
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Old 07-10-2007, 14:18   #6
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Thanks very much for the welcome and the suggestions, I'm finding this forum to be extremely educational.
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Old 17-05-2019, 21:46   #7
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Follow-up ... Re: on the verge...

12 years later, and the dream continues. Some key life events over the past 12 years:

- I met a woman.
- We bought a house in the midwest, got married, and lived in said house for 5 years.
- We sold the house and moved to Chicago.
- Wife and I divorced.
- I began sailing while in Chicago and I now have 1.5 seasons on Lake Michigan under my belt. I constantly long to go sailing.
- I'm currently boat sharing a Cape Dory 25 for the 2019 season with a couple friends. We're just getting started with the season and I'm as stoked as stoked can be. I'm racing on other boats, deckhanding for charter captains, and helping with deliveries too.
- I'm no longer all that tied down to a physical location and after working outdoors, daily, for the past 3 years (including the Chicago winters, this past one was particularly grueling) I am thinking I do not have many more Chicago winters in me; maybe 1 or 2.

I'm thinking the next move will be south and I'd like to earn some money deckhanding and gaining further experience until the point when I purchase a boat of my own and live aboard.

Are there any of you who work part of the year deckhanding or similar on sailing yachts and make enough money to cruise the rest of the year on your own boats?

What are some other ways you are able to make enough money to cruise and maintain your boat and body? The key for me is to be on the water as much as possible and if I can earn some coin doing so, all the better.

The financial aspect seems to be my main hang-up. My goal is to figure this next phase out. I am going to do this, it's just a matter of how and when.

Tips and insight are very much appreciated. I'll be referring to the forums as well.

Cheers all!
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Old 18-05-2019, 03:50   #8
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Re: on the verge...

Well, to tie this back to your original post... Webb Chiles and his concept if independent poverty have been a major inspiration for me - you might want to check out some of his writing if you aren't familiar with him.

Finances are much a personal value system issue. It gives me chuckle when folks joke about sailing being expensive - the same folks who pay hundreds of dollars each month to watch football games on their TVs, or thousands bringing their family to Disney for a week. If your end goal is to sail modestly for as long as possible, that's a pretty attainable goal. If your end goal is to do that while still socking away money into a retirement account... Well that's when things get complicated.

Webb Chiles wants little from this world besides a boat and the open sea, and he's managed to do that on pretty short change for his entire life. Not to say that he is a model for us all, but I think it's a useful perspective.
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Old 18-05-2019, 05:20   #9
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Re: on the verge...

Yesss, this is the stuff I'm talking about dnbchrd. Thanks for pointing Webb out to me. I'll be looking into his stuff. I'm not someone who needs much. I'm continually working to improve my minimalist lifestyle. A couple other books I have and are helpful include Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere and Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach : A Philosophic and Practical Approach to Cruising

This is cool too: https://youtu.be/6jGO8Z29H2c

I'd love to be able to jump on this beauty but I'm just not quite ready yet...

Tarka - A 1973 Albin Vega
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Old 13-11-2020, 22:07   #10
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Re: on the verge...

Well, I went ahead and did it, and I'm not sorry one bit! It was my best Halloween to date.



We arrived at the boat yard around 0930 hrs and proceeded to wait for the crew to put the little beauty in the water. She hit the water and looked fantastic! For me, it all came down to the engine and whether it ran well or not.







After being on the hard for the past year, she easily started on the first try. Our forward and reverse test at the dock proved to go very well. Paper was exchanged and handshakes and pictures taken.



We had to shove off so the crew could keep working. Off to downtown Chicago we went!









Through the Chicago Lock...



and downstream to JuJu's winter home...








The photo album
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Old 13-11-2020, 22:15   #11
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Re: on the verge...

Beautiful! Congratulations! And what a thread recovery!
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Old 13-11-2020, 22:23   #12
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Re: on the verge...

Haha, thanks Don C L! The dream is still alive and kickin!
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Old 15-11-2020, 03:05   #13
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Re: on the verge...

Well done! Looks like you'll hit the ground running in the spring.
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Old 15-11-2020, 06:44   #14
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Re: on the verge...

Congrats! I really admire your 12 years of perseverance! We've found fellow youngish cruisers are more often than not part timing it, often keeping a home base to go back to and work seasonal jobs while taking winters off to cruise. Others do it for a year or three as more of a sabbatical. Relatively few (young) cruisers we've met have been full timing it for long periods. Everyone's approach is slightly different though.

I had a job doing web development for most of the time I was full time on the boat. It paid good but kept me tied down to a computer more than I would have liked. Something that's project based is usually ideal.. you work and make some money, then cast off the lines for a while without concern for schedules and obligations.

Some of our cruiser friends work for cruise ships and found that to be a good source of project-based income. Some recently started selling stuff on Amazon, outsourcing the logistics. Others are landlords who cover some of their costs with rental income. Yet others live much more hand-to-mouth.

Good luck! You might find a few years of roving the seas is enough to satiate your needs, so the only advise I'd give is don't tie yourself up in knots right away making sure you've got a long term plan that's sustainable. Make sure you budget in just getting out there and having some fun. If it's something you want to keep doing long-term, the people you meet along the way will present you with good opportunities if you've got the right attitude.
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Old 15-11-2020, 13:03   #15
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Re: on the verge...

Well done, mate! Looks like a nicely kept boat, one that can indeed fulfil your needs.

Now, get the hell outta Chicago (as I did in 1955) and go somewhere a bit more climatically suitable for a live aboard/sailing life. With the sticktoit capability that you have already demonstrated, I am confident that you will work out a viable plan to live the life you want. But it is nigh unto impossible in your current location, so shake the dust (and snow and ice) from your boots and get ye hence!

good luck... the life afloat is a good one.

Jim
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