I am a big fan of mentoring. That is to say, when it comes to longer distance ocean voyaging, crewing with experienced skippers is a great way to build your own experience levels. It doesn't have to be trial by fire -- sometimes the learning environment is more conducive when all the weight of command isn't on your shoulders.
In time you can take on that responsibility, but it will be a more rewarding experience if you're not simultaneously cutting your teeth on your first off-shore passage.
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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62
NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT