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Old 13-05-2024, 13:41   #16
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

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Originally Posted by trswem View Post
I don't know what I don't know.
This understanding puts you way ahead of most people with similar aspirations.

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... on a large local lake
Which lake(s), just out of curiousity. I'm from your area - grew up in Deer Park.

I will say that sailing around Pend d'Oreille, Coeur d'Alene, etc. - that is a GREAT place to gain the skills you need. Winds are squirelly, requiring you to pay attention to what the wind is doing, but without having tides, currents, and waves to deal with. You can really learn sailing without having to deal with all of the other things involved in cruising.

And, that's a good boat for it. It is kind of half-way between a sailing dinghy and a keelboat. So, it is small enough to feel the effects of your decisions quickly, but big enough to give you a sense of what having some weight is like.

So, believe it or not, you are in a great incubator for your first steps. Best thing you can do now is sail, sail, sail. Being trailerable, you might not have a lot of reason to do docking maneuvers, but you should practice this, as well. Honestly, maneuvering a bigger, heavier boat at low speeds under power around other people's boats - that is the most stressful part of sailing.

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The next logical step is a bareboat charter and get in blue water, probably the San Juan's considering where we live.
I'm in Bellingham. The San Juan's are not blue water. But, we are a good next step from lake sailing. Everything here is coastal, but it is also one of the most complex areas in terms of tide, current, and wind. Tide swings 10 feet, routinely. Currents commonly exceed 5 knots (frequently 7+ in places), and they change from minute to minute. Tucked behind the Olympic Peninsula, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island, and the Frasier River Valley - weather is pretty variable.

And, from here, you can venture north into the Northern Inside Passage. Still not offshore, but starting to get a bit more remote and with the potential for some more intense conditions than typically seen in the San Juans west of the Strait of Georgia.

Then, a GREAT first offshore adventure is to circumnavigate Vancouver Island. After that, you should really have a good idea of what you know and don't know.

As for timeline ... hard to say. If you approach this as a series of courses and charters, then it is a long road. (My opinion is that you probably can't really get prepared this way, but it really depends on the specifics, your background/personality, etc.) If you buy a bluewater boat and sail it in salt every day for a summer, that will cut years off the path.

Come over to Bellingham and we'll cruise around.
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Old 13-05-2024, 13:52   #17
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

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Like much about your approach EXCEPT taking lessons and then teaching wife…..many pitfalls in that approach. Better for you to take kids and her off to own lessons including docking boat without you - huge confidence boost
We'll make a best attempt for sure. We have to travel for lessons, which would include over night stays, and she owns her own business. In many ways, I'm more of a single handed sailor with a dedicated passenger list. But I totally appreciate the importance of her education as well, we just have to fit it within the practical limitations of our lives right now.
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Old 13-05-2024, 14:09   #18
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

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Originally Posted by Foswick View Post
Which lake(s), just out of curiousity. I'm from your area - grew up in Deer Park.

I will say that sailing around Pend d'Oreille, Coeur d'Alene, etc. - that is a GREAT place to gain the skills you need. Winds are squirelly, requiring you to pay attention to what the wind is doing, but without having tides, currents, and waves to deal with. You can really learn sailing without having to deal with all of the other things involved in cruising.
We're on Pend Oreille indeed! There are definitely days we've found challenging, those mountains will let you see wind from every point on the compass in as little as a quarter of nautical mile.

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Being trailerable, you might not have a lot of reason to do docking maneuvers, but you should practice this, as well.
Stopping at marinas for burgers and ice cream cones has proven to be a pretty compelling reason to dock up

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Originally Posted by Foswick View Post
As for timeline ... hard to say. If you approach this as a series of courses and charters, then it is a long road. (My opinion is that you probably can't really get prepared this way, but it really depends on the specifics, your background/personality, etc.) If you buy a bluewater boat and sail it in salt every day for a summer, that will cut years off the path.

Come over to Bellingham and we'll cruise around.
It's becoming clear that we need to plan on investing some time one the west side of the state! That you for the info!
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Old 13-05-2024, 14:47   #19
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

Here's one example of what you need to be able to do when cruising. My wife and I were in Beaufort, NC, in the supermarket when we decided to head to Bermuda instead of down the ICW like we had originally planned. We immediately shifted into offshore provisioning mode and split up in the supermarket with me doing longterm, non-perishables and my wife doing the perishables, which we planned on for possibly up to two weeks. We arrived at the checkout with 4 carts of stores, proceeded to our boat and spent the rest of the day storing everything, then left the next day with a favorable weather window. You don't learn how to do that without cruising for awhile on the actual boat you plan on cruising on. Between the two of us we knew exactly in our minds the spaces where we could store stuff, how to store it, and how long those supplies would last. And, we could do it in a day.
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Old 13-05-2024, 15:05   #20
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

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Originally Posted by trswem View Post
Howdy folks. I'm a novice sailor and I don't know what I don't know. We're two seasons in now and really having an amazing time taking our young family on short two or three day trips in our trailer sailor on a large local lake. This has led to aspirations of sailing the south pacific islands, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, etc.. I will be taking ASA 101-104 this summer, and I plan on crewing on the local beer races this summer as time permits. The next logical step is a bareboat charter and get in blue water, probably the San Juan's considering where we live.

Once I've done all that, what's the next step in progressing the skill sets that are required for blue water cruising? How far away am I, a couple more years of learning? A decade? We have a lot of enthusiasm right now, and would financially be able to begin this in earnest in the next few years. But I don't know what I don't know, and obviously refuse to set off with loved ones until I have been properly educated and have the experience necessary to do these things safely.

Bonus question if you're still reading and so inclined: What's a good destination for a first cruise? I'm not counting the San Juans because they're so close. I'm thinkin bareboat out of Florida and go to The Bahamas or Turks and Caicos? That seems "easiest" as it's a relatively short jump. Thanks everyone!
First spend a cruise or two in Puget Sound. It's great and you will hone your skills and learn more about what you need on your boat! Once you are away from the dock, you will have to solve recharging the batteries and recharging the food supply etc. How your dingy situation works. What works well and what is problematic.
The Bahamas are superb, but once you leave, there are far fewer places to get food etc. in the Bahamas than the US.
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Old 13-05-2024, 15:37   #21
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

My path after many years in day sailors and runabout power boats.
- Bareboat chartered in the BVI twice. It's a beautiful location and navigation is a breeze since you can always see islands. Didn't learn much regarding anchoring or "real" passage making, but it was a good start.
- Bought a strong monohull and began doing trips on the east coast. Began in the Chesapeake and then explored the east coast and eventually made trips to the Bahamas. Made lots of mistakes that were survivable. Anchoring skills increased.
- Moved the boat from the East coast to the West Coast through Panama and to the PNW. Found the west coast to be completely different from the east coast. Culture seemed less nautical and the north wind down the coast never seemed to stop. Also, not nearly as many protected places to take cover.

For the learning curve, I was fortunate to have an experienced friend on shore to help me with route planning, problem solving, and mechanical knowledge. An earlier post mentioned that repairing while underway is a primary part of passage making, I couldn't agree more. It's not will something break, it's WHAT will break and can I rig something as a solution.

I'm in the PNW now as you are. It's a beautiful location that has different challenges than others. Anchorages can be deep and the bottom is often rock instead of something soft. Currents and tides need your attention. If you're in the Pacific, the river bars can be quite unmanageable.

Considering it all, I'd certainly do it all again as much of the fun in passage making is overcoming problems and making a safe passage.
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Old 13-05-2024, 15:57   #22
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by trswem View Post
Howdy folks. I'm a novice sailor and I don't know what I don't know. We're two seasons in now and really having an amazing time taking our young family on short two or three day trips in our trailer sailor on a large local lake. This has led to aspirations of sailing the south pacific islands, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, etc.. I will be taking ASA 101-104 this summer, and I plan on crewing on the local beer races this summer as time permits. The next logical step is a bareboat charter and get in blue water, probably the San Juan's considering where we live.

Once I've done all that, what's the next step in progressing the skill sets that are required for blue water cruising? How far away am I, a couple more years of learning? A decade? We have a lot of enthusiasm right now, and would financially be able to begin this in earnest in the next few years. But I don't know what I don't know, and obviously refuse to set off with loved ones until I have been properly educated and have the experience necessary to do these things safely.

Bonus question if you're still reading and so inclined: What's a good destination for a first cruise? I'm not counting the San Juans because they're so close. I'm thinkin bareboat out of Florida and go to The Bahamas or Turks and Caicos? That seems "easiest" as it's a relatively short jump. Thanks everyone!
ASA (American Sailing Assiciation) has good on-line webinars you may want to look into.

they are not expensive and cover different subjects.

For example, this week there is a webinar on "Docking & Maneuvering for Cruising Sailboats" . - 90 minute webinar on two nights Tuesday and Thursday.
$79 ($59 for ASA members). [ Some webinars (single day) were $39...]

Link: https://asa.com/online-class/docking...mpaign=docking

A few weeks ago they had Nigel Calder ((yes THE Nigel calder...) on how to maintian diesel engines.

They have had webinars on cruise planning, weather windows, preparing for a cruise etc.

My two cents.

Cheers
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Old 13-05-2024, 22:50   #23
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

My suggestion would be to buy a small boat, around 32 to 36 feet, an old Catalina or such, which would not be too expensive but would sail pretty well. Then keep it in a marina nearby and try and sail at least once per week, short trips at first, then longer and then overnighters. This will build your skills and give you confidence AND give you an idea what you will need and be experiencing on offshore trips.

People will probably hate me for saying this but I would avoid Hunters and Island Packets. The former because they IMHO are just too lightly built and I just do not care for them, and the later because they just do not sail well. I know… I have met people who have crossed the Atlantic in Hunters, but I just do not like them, and Island Packets are well built boats but they just do not sail well in wind under 20 kts.

Try to sail more and motor less, learn to reef and shake out reefs, play with the boat, and basically you will learn to sail and how to handle the equipment. Don’t be afraid to spend time on deck, get used to the boat and how to handle yourself on deck. And you will find out if you like sailing or not.

Good luck, and most of all have fun

M
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Old 14-05-2024, 07:26   #24
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

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Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
My suggestion would be to buy a small boat, around 32 to 36 feet, an old Catalina or such, which would not be too expensive but would sail pretty well. Then keep it in a marina nearby and try and sail at least once per week, short trips at first, then longer and then overnighters. This will build your skills and give you confidence AND give you an idea what you will need and be experiencing on offshore trips.

People will probably hate me for saying this but I would avoid Hunters and Island Packets. The former because they IMHO are just too lightly built and I just do not care for them, and the later because they just do not sail well. I know… I have met people who have crossed the Atlantic in Hunters, but I just do not like them, and Island Packets are well built boats but they just do not sail well in wind under 20 kts.

Try to sail more and motor less, learn to reef and shake out reefs, play with the boat, and basically you will learn to sail and how to handle the equipment. Don’t be afraid to spend time on deck, get used to the boat and how to handle yourself on deck. And you will find out if you like sailing or not.

Good luck, and most of all have fun

M
These are great points.
Hunters give u a lot of boat, but every used one I have seen at has stress cracks in the fiberglass.
Also:
Buy a boat that you don’t mind “banging up”.
“The smaller the boat the more the fun”
My two cents
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Old 16-05-2024, 07:33   #25
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Re: Setting realist expectations for cruise planning

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Originally Posted by trswem View Post
The next logical step is a bareboat charter and get in blue water, probably the San Juan's considering where we live.

Bonus question if you're still reading and so inclined: What's a good destination for a first cruise? I'm not counting the San Juans because they're so close.
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Originally Posted by trswem View Post
It's becoming clear that we need to plan on investing some time one the west side of the state! That you for the info!
I would not discount the San Juans and surrounding areas. The Broughtons, a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, or spending a few weeks/months in the Inside Passage to SE Alaska - all very good destinations and each will challenge you to develop more skills.

For inspiration, take a look at https://salishseapilot.com - a great amount of destinations and detailed instructions.

Sailors spend years anywhere from Puget Sound to Glacier Bay, and there's always something new to discover and more to learn.
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