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post #1 of 11 Old 08-13-2008 Thread Starter
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Am I dreaming?

Hi everyone, I'm new to this site and this is my first post. I'm not sure if this is even the right area to post this in, but I just wanted to get some honest opinions about my current plans before I go getting myself into a big mess. With that being said forgive me if I get a little long-winded here.
I'm a 23 year old single male, in the Navy, and stationed at Whidbey Island Washington. I've got a year of my enlistment left and am going on detachment. When I get back in 2-3 months I'm going to be homeless for a while and I was thinking about buying a boat to live aboard.
I don't really have a large sum of money saved up, but I've got good credit and I'm hoping to save a little while I'm on detachment since I won't have any rent due. I've been looking at 30-40' cruisers on yachtworld and the decent ones seem to be going for about $60-90K with ones that I think would suit me going for as low as around $40k. I'm going to be out of the Navy next year so I don't want to get stuck with a huge loan payment.
If I do buy one I want something that I'll be able to single hand reasonably. Also, I want to be able to sail down to California or Mexico when I get out of the Navy next August. Maybe even out to Hawaii or Australia a few years down the road(if I can get the experience to make a trip like that) . I don't really have any experience sailing except on lasers and 15' hunters. If I do end up buying a boat I plan on taking one of those week long ASA courses that goes through to bareboat chartering. So I guess I've got 3 main questions
*What kind of boats should I be looking at, any suggestions on specific styles or models?
*What is the likely hood that I'll be able to find/buy a boat when I get back?
*Is my plan of single-handing down to CA or Mexico in a year even remotely possible given my lack of experience?
Thanks in advance for any input on my situation.
-Hesseroni
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-13-2008
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Do it!

Can't answer your specific questions. I don't think you will have much problem finding an appropriate boat.

My real advice is to do it. You are at a great point in life to take the leap, I don't think it gets any easier as you get older. I debated buying a 30+ ft sailboat to live aboard in the SF Bay area when I was 23. Job change took me to Germany before I moved on the idea. 13 years later I still don't have my own boat and wonder what would have been if I had made a different choice back then...

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post #3 of 11 Old 08-13-2008
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Dreams make the world go around. Nothing would be accomplished without dreamers. No man on the moon, no America's discovered, and the list goes on.

Yachworld.com is a great place for comparison shopping. I myself had sailed on other people's boats a half dozen times. I took ASA classes through coastal cruising. Within 3 months I had bought a 30ft. Columbia. Within 18 months I had left S.F. Ca. alone on my way to Mexico.

From my experience I would say you are on a life changing course......BEST WISHES
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-13-2008
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Making a thousand-mile offshore passage off what is often a lee shore with no safe harbor, as your first trip after a week's class, could be a bit much. Maybe an adventure, maybe a disaster.

You may have heard the phrase "there are old sailors and bold sailors but no old bold sailors" ?

It is easy to lose a lot by buying the wrong boat, or a boat, and then deciding you need to bail out of it "now". A resale can take six months to a year, more often than 60 days. So one might advise caution. Get some experience messing around with boats, get some experience sailing by workin gup from daytrips to weekends to a week here and there, and see if it suits you. Living aboard can be a lot like living out of a trailer--the kind that you tow behind your car, not a 40 foot trailer park trailer.

Can you do make a sudden jump & do it successfully? Yes, with some luck and skills. But your best bet is to try getting some sailing experience--even if that means just chasing down a sailing lesson here or there while you are on liberty in port--or at least, renting a place to live when you return, and then working your way up before you make that major investment in a boat.

If $40k is going to be "everything", make Real Sure you want to tie it up in boat, and that you'll be able to safely captain that boat, before you do. Boats also have a way of surprising you, in terms of what they need for ongoing maintenance, and surprises. Never owned a boat before, and plan to voyage in it? Marinas may require insurance, and insurers may charge you dearly for being a newbie who is voyaging. Little things like that--and being unfamiliar with the ongoing maintenance costs of the boat--can add up.

One thing you can do even while deployed, is to read up, on and off the web, there are plenty of articles & forum threads covering these things. By all means, go for the dream! Just send some scouts out ahead of you.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-13-2008
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Yes you are dreaming. You can be a liveaboard on anything. You can BECOME a sailor but it takes time. Going down the west coast in anything less than a completely seaworthy and WELL equipped boat with a very experienced captain at the helm is foolhardy and dangerous.
Hello sailor gives good advice. By all means...go for your dream...but make a realistic plan to get there.

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post #6 of 11 Old 08-13-2008
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Good advice from Hello--- Go for it, but with caution. If you want to singlehand, most anything over 40 feet requires assistance, like Autohelm, roller furling, electric windlass, maybe even electric winches. These are expensive options, and if that 40K boat doesn't have them, it quickly becomes 45 or more. Most of the "buying a boat" advice I have seen here says one should figure the new buyer needs to buget near 50% more for upgrades, maintenance, etc. It is easier to get into the cruising lifestyle when you are single, you don't have to convince your spouse! Best of luck to you, wish I had done it 40 years ago!

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post #7 of 11 Old 08-13-2008 Thread Starter
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wow

Wow, i didn't really expect so many prompt replies. Thank you all for the advice. I think I will probably end up renting a small apartment when I get back, so I can take my time building up some experience and make an informed decision. I'm just afraid that if I don't buy one now, I might not ever.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-14-2008
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Given your budget and relative lack of experience, I'd highly recommend you start with something a bit smaller and more manageable, on the 30-35' size rather than the 35-40' size. Also, given the same budget, a smaller boat will generally be in better shape and require less in the way of on-going costs. Also, mistakes on a larger boat involve greater forces than those same mistakes on a smaller boat, and can be much more dangerous. Beth Leonard, author of The Voyager's Handbook, wrote about the differences in their two boats, which are only 10' or so apart in LOA. She said that mistakes made on the smaller boat were often correctable via brute force, and that the larger boat required a greater degree of seamanship, since the forces involved were often too great to control via brute force. Also, she mentioned that even though there are modern tools to help on a larger boat, they do little to help haul a larger, heavier sail or anchor out of a locker, or with coiling larger, thicker dock lines.

Learning to sail isn't all that difficult, but learning to become a good sailor and a good seaman are a bit more involved. There was a recent post about a boat that had a MOB situation in a race, and while the captain and crew were very experienced sailors, IMHO, the were lousy seamen...

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post #9 of 11 Old 08-14-2008
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AS once said, Dreams are what will take you over the horizon. But if you do not have the skills, Poseidon will push you right back on shore. I echo every thing above. Go small to start, go often to get your skills, but go now with no regrets!!!!!!!! Learn to sail and sail to learn!
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-14-2008
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I want to say Anacortes yacht charters?!?!!? or some such name has rentals and lessons IIRC. In skyline marina not too far from you. If you want to make it down to Seattle, then there are two places there, and one in Everett next to the naval base.

Otherwise, this area has LOTS of sailing one can do to get the experience before heading south!

Marty

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I drives me dinghy!
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