SailNet Community - View Single Post - Intermediate sailor seeks advice re: liveaboard pocket cruisers
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post #22 of Old 03-26-2008
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Buckeye, Arizona
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Sailing in General

Libby - I don't know what your sailing experience is, so I'm just sharing information - not trying to tell you what to do. I've owned and sailed three sailboats (SB) in the San Francisco bay and local areas over the years (one with tiller, two with wheel steering - up to 35'). The only action I ever took was to buy "Sailing for Dummies" to learn sailboat nomenclature and how to sail. As an owner of your own boat - you're the Captain and are not required to take lessons from anyone. Having said that - I've owned a number of power boats in past and any SB with a motor is a powerboat first - so nothing new to learn there except handling characteristics while motoring. I'm extremely independent and after watching others take lessons (at schools for + $1,500 a pop) I felt I could do as well on my own. Frankly, there is absolutely no substitute for hands-on experience. I tore my mailsail twice putting it up full in too-heavy air - BUT - I learned how to remove it from the mast, have it repaired, and put back on again without assistance (and double check wind speed forecasts in future). In SF, repair shops are pretty inexpensive if you bring the sail in yourself - which should hold true just about anywhere. That's the only real problem I ever encountered. Well, there was that time the gib halyard broke, and I had to go forward while underway and haul the gib down by hand and stuff it in the forward hatch - but that was a learning experience as well. Study the rules of the road and you're on your way. I would encourage you to go online and start reading "Latitude38" ( It's the premier magazie (free) for sailing world-wide. It has a planet-wide following and is an absolute hoot to read the 'Letters' section as there are no holds (or opinions) barred there. Tons of practical tips and good bargins on used items. Best advice - watch other SB's and talk to other SB owners - never be shy to ask questions. Best tip on doing things to your boat? - Walk around the marina and see what others have already done to theirs - pick up a lot of pointers that way. Another item - have your boat "Coast Guard Documented" rather than register it thru the state (you can download the info and application). If you plan to cruise outside the U.S. - other countries view the CG Doc as a better indicator than a state issued number - and you don't have to buy or paint numbers / alphas on the bow. You'll be issued a "running" letter from the CG and keep that onboard. After years of manhandling 35' boats (9,000lbs +) - I've decided I no longer need to entertain parties of 7 or more people, and I'm shopping for a pocket cruiser myself - I've found a nice 24' that I like a lot. The reasons: Trailerable (store on the hard - not in the water), NO: inboard motor, filters, oil changes, repair and maintence, transmission, prop, prop shaft, stuffing box, zincs, generators, starter motors and batteries, constant bottom cleaning, and that's just my short list. Most marinas in CA have storage for your boat with free crane (work it yourself) or ramp launch, with free rinse for the boat and OB motor + free use of all of their facilities. There are any number of excellent coastal sailing references published by those who sailed the water before you. Ensure you always carry applicable charts for the area you're sailing and you should be OK. If you haven't done so, you might want to consider an inexpensive navigation lesson - but I'll bet there are any number of SB owners in any marina that would be willing to teach you for nothing more than an exchange of good conversation. Now I'll shut up and you can go sailing !! John
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