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Freshwater vs Saltwater boat; ASA courses
Hello out there.
I''m a committed but novice sailor. I''ve spent the summer learning to sail on a lake near Dallas aboard a friend''s Ericson 32-3. The plan is to find an older 30+ ft bluewater cruiser this fall, get some coastal/offshore experience out of Houston/Galveston, then go live the dream in the Carribean/S. America.
I''m 55, recently divorced, and on a budget. Since I''ll have to poor-boy it, I''m hoping to find an older, structurally-sound, bluewater cruiser. I don''t mind cosmetic imperfections (I''m fairly handy and have a lot of tools for DIY projects). I will likely be limited to less than $30K including required refit.
My primary questions at this point:
1. Freshwater vs saltwater boat -- would the lower corrosion factor typically justify the extra expense to transport a lake boat to saltwater (say $5-7K), all other factors equal?
2. I''m planning on taking the ASA series of courses (including passagemaking and celestial nav) to supplement my unstructured training this summer. Any good/bad experiences in the Houston/Kemah/Galveston area, and does it justify the cost? Should I delay buying a boat until after completing the courses?
Thanks for any help.