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JustMeUC 06-05-2007 06:28 PM

I've Lost My Cotten-Picking Mind!!
That's what I was told today anyway when I told someone my dream/plan!!!

Let me tell my story, then I'll ask for the general consensus as to my mental health....

I am a single female who desires to buy a sailboat and cruise the Caribbean for a year or two or more? with my German Shepherd.

I love the Caribbean and snorkeling and I head down there every chance I get. I don't like the Bahama's much, the waters too cold for my taste but love the Virgin Islands and further south. Anyway, my last trip down to T&C I was invited out on a sailboat for an afternoon sail and boy oh boy oh boy was that a mistake.... I LOVED IT!!! ABSOLUTELY INDESCRIBABLE!! I want to do this! I have to do this!

OK, Here's the thing: I have never sailed a boat before, ever, but everybody's gotta start somewhere right???

I am NOT interested in hooking up with a man or sailing with another woman either really. I would prefer to sail alone quite honestly. Please don't burst my bubble by telling me that being a woman I can't physically do it alone. I am pretty strong, I hit the gym 4-5 times a week doing the crosstrainer and weights. Is it physically challenging? OK, I want the truth.

I have a modest inheritance in the mid 6-figures and a paid for house which I could rent out so the money thing isn't a big issue for awhile at least. I don't plan on buying a fancy big boat but an older small boat?? I am very frugal, some call me cheap (I drive a 92' Camry and buy my clothes 75% off at the end of the season sales, etc etc) and will continue to be that way. However, I don't mind spending money on the important things.

I plan to buy a small sailboat, maybe an older Catalina 22?? and dock it on my local lake for a couple years to practice on. I want to take sailing lessons?? and maybe even take an offshore?? course in the next year or two?? Then take the plunge and buy a boat for down there and just do it.

I have been reading this board and other internet sites for weeks but just don't see anything much about single women cruising.... Am I wrong?

OK, Give it to me, I can take it.......:(

* edited to say that I can't believe I spelled cotton wrong and being the title I can't go back and change it*

sailhog 06-05-2007 06:34 PM

Why do you think you're out of your mind? Sounds like a great idea. However, that big ol' dog of yours is going to **** all over your world. I love dogs, so I hesitate to even bring up the subject. A single friend of mine who also loves sailing wants to date you. Maybe if you'd just make out with him for a while he'd behave. Yuk, yuk.

Gene T 06-05-2007 06:43 PM

No problem, good plan, have fun. I would recommend some sailing lessons however.

JohnRPollard 06-05-2007 06:46 PM

Nothing wrong with your dream. The dog is tricky but there are ways to make it work.

As far as learning to sail, I would suggest a sailing course in something smaller than a Catalina 22 to begin with. Find a program sponsored by the Red Cross or US Sailing, one that puts you in an open daysailor with one or two other students and an instructor. After completing the course, rent similar boats as often as possible in a variety of conditions and locations to improve your skills. Once you're competant and confident with open daysailors, then you can look for a small cruiser with a cabin.

I would suggest something a bit more substantial than the Catalina 22, which you might outgrow too quickly and which may not give you enough of a "big boat" feel to prepare you for the boat you'd take to the Carib. Something in the 24-27 ft range. A boat this size will be very challenging at first but you'll learn quickly. A boat this size also teaches you about onboard systems (propane, water, fuel, engine, electrical, etc), which you will not get in the bare-bones Catalina 22. Good luck.

sailingdog 06-05-2007 06:48 PM

Well, I'd recommend a few books for you to read.

The Complete Sailor, by David Seidman, is a good educational resource for new sailors. Covers a lot of material, but is well written and very readable.

Twenty Small Sailboats To Take You Anywhere, by John Vigor. A good primer for possible sailboats for you to pick from.

Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach to Cruising
, by Casey, et al. and

There Be No Dragons, by Reese Palley.

Both of these last two books talk about cruising in a very down-to-earth, no-nonsense, cut-the-crap kind of way. It doesn't take a rich person to do it, and I don't think you're crazy for wanting to learn how to sail or try to do it.

I would say get a couple of ASA week-long courses under your belt... get a small boat, the Catalina 22 is a good choice, and get as much time in sailing as you can. However, you will want to get your "real" boat at least a few months before you intend to leave on your long-term cruise. This is so you can familiarize yourself with her and her idiosyncracies. It will also give you the time you need to repair, re-fit or upgrade whatever you find you need to change, replace or modify.

Most cruisers are usually couples... with single-handers being a bit less common, and women single-handers a bit less common than that.

You don't need a big boat... you don't need all the fancy electronics.... you do need to do it... :D

I hope you go... and if you do, I hope to see you out on the water... since I'm planning on leaving for a while later this year or early next.

JustMeUC 06-05-2007 06:55 PM

There seems to be several schools here in NC that I could go to so I will start checking that out.

Perhaps I will wait to buy a boat till next spring and just take lessons and such this year?

I guess I was planning on only buying a 28' - 31' boat for the Caribbean, easier to handle I assume and less $$ spend on initial purchase and upkeep? Is that TOO small to be safe, I guess I assume that the Caribbean just requires and nice "coastal cruiser" type of boat? I don't mind small living quarters, I lived in a teeny tiny apt in NYC that couldn't be much bigger than your average boat for awhile plus on the boat I assume I will be on top of or out of the boat more than inside anyway.

So, are there any other women cruising the Caribbean Solo?? Just not posting here maybe?

sailingdog 06-05-2007 07:02 PM

It really depends on what kind of sailing you want to do... and where.

Donna Lange just completed a circumnavigation in a Southern Cross 28, which she sailed through storms and weather that put larger boats to shame. In fact, not too far back, she was one of the boats responding to a distress call from a 44' sailboat, being sailed by a guy named Ken Barnes, who bailed on his boat and scuttled it in the end.

An acquaintance of mine is looking to buy a Contessa 26 to liveaboard in the Caribbean. The Contessa 26 is the same boat that Tania Aebi sailed around the world in, which is documented in her book Maiden Voyage.

Another woman I know is sailing around the Sea of Cortez in a Westerley Nomad, which is about 23' long.

I'd also recommend the books by Larry and Lin Pardey, who post on Sailnet from time to time. Particularly of interest to you will be the book Self-Sufficient Sailor.

JustMeUC 06-05-2007 07:09 PM

Thanks, I LOVE to read so will order the recommended books.

I seriously doubt that I will go beyond the Caribbean. Probably head down to the southern parts for the summers and Virgin Islands for the winters. I will of course need to get my dog into BVI which I think I have an understanding of for the most part. I don't know much about the Southern islands and their Rabies requirements but can find out.

Thanks for the help and advice everyone.

sailingdog 06-05-2007 07:14 PM

Glad to help out... keep us posted... and let us know how things are going.

cardiacpaul 06-05-2007 07:45 PM

I don't think you're a nutjob. I envy you. go forth and phospher!!!

I really love dawgs too, gawd I do, but havin' em on a boat for anymore than a day or two will drive you, and the dawg batty. (not to mention the sometimes draconian laws of other places)

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