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post #4 of Old 08-27-2001
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Location: Purcellville VA
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Advice for novice on coastal cruising

Given the excellent advice of the previous respondents, and given that you follow it: don''t let these folks drag you down. I found from experience that people will predict YOU cannot do something because THEY are incapable of doing it. I made this mistake and I''m still digging myself out. Not only were my friends and family stunned that a girl would undertake such a venture, but after I purchased my first boat last October, I spent the winter reading tomes on offshore seamanship and basically scared the crap out of myself unnecessarily (I currently sail weekends on the Chesapeake in predicted good weather, but I know how to Med moor--isn''t that useful). I had just a little more experience than you when I launched my boat for the first time last May, and although the responsibility was daunting at first, I had a blast. I did a five-day trial-by-fire for my very first outing.

Think practical safety at all times, never take unnecessary risks, and remember that keeping to a schedule should never take precedence over safety. Follow the advice of the previous postings and go for it. If there is a cruising guide and/or coast pilot for where you are going, read it. Also read your charts several times in advance for every course and place you intend to go. If you have the time and inclination, read the charts for places you DON''T intend to go but could conceivably end up. Even more importantly, and as previously noted, always know where you are.

Fair winds and have a great time!

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