Originally Posted by orthomartin
Cruisingdad has it right. People get excited about the idea and start thinking non-stop about it. Truth is it's not as complicated as we make it. Past 5 years we are now over 30,000nm and leaving Puerto Rico now for Colombia and then South Pacific. We departed Lk Mi out the St Lawrence in 08 with little planning and have not looked back. You learn most as you go but... a couple suggestions
I think one of the most important aspects is to learn as much as possible about the mechanics and electrical systems first. Personally I am not so "mechanical" but in the past 5 years I have learned a lot, usually with the help of other cruisers. The way things breakdown in a never ending fashion can be most frustrating. I am very careful about maintenance, even to a fault, but still there is no stopping the crap from failing.
Understand your diesel, the alternator and the charging/inverting system. Actually as I am typing I realize I could go on and on. Bottom line learn everything you can during this "wait Period" about your boat and it's systems. Being a good troubleshooter and fixer guy will do more for your cruising life then you can currently imagine. Welcome to the "club"!
Learn to do your own repairs. Learn your systems. Maintain your standing rigging and bilge pumps. Invest in a solar panel.