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Old 04-19-2013
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Re: US Navy Veteran_New to Sailboats_Need your Honest Knowledge and Experience_Thanks

Aly, you probably need to spend a week reading. Online and after a talk with your local reference librarian. All of your questions are well-answered but the answers are long and complex.

It should take about ten seconds online to find out there are 3, 12, and 200 mile limits established on coastal waters as well as thousand-yard exclusion zones and others. Most or all of which are charted, and if you don't know how to get that information from charts and coast pilots, you're nowhere near ready to go.

Similarly you should be reading the cruising guides, which you can labor through online, or buy used, or borrow from a library loan. There are major stretches of the east coast, arguably most of the east coast, where there is simply no place feasible to "anchor out" offshore. And limited options once you run the available inlets.

By all means pursue the dream, there are plenty of full-time cruisers out there, but most rely on their boats to get from one landfall to the next. Remaining out in international waters for extended periods? More likely to just get you bashed up and spat out by the weather gods. A 40' sailboat is very different from a warship.
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