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kimby 05-18-2004 03:35 PM

help with lifes dream
My husband I and our three kids want to sail from Duncan bc not to far from victora bc. To the Caribbean and were the wind takes us we will be sailing at our own pace. We will be home schooling we are both going to be taking alot of sailing courses my husband knows more about sailing then I do. we will be living on our sail boat. this is not something we are doing right away but we have been doing alot of research. I have found sailnet and it is great. We seem to think we will need a big sail boat. we need help what kinds of boats would you pick there are alot of things we need to do before we do anything will we be able to sail a big sail boat just the two of us our kids will be 14 10 and 9. And if there is anything anyone would like to say to help us with this lifes dream feel free.

Tom3 05-18-2004 04:29 PM

help with lifes dream
Charter something for a weekend

If you like that charter something else for a week

At this point getting out on the water will do you a world of good. Theory is very helpful and I read everything I can but you have to go to know.

If you still love sailing after chumming the fish a few times then your on your way.

onojmai 05-18-2004 04:39 PM

help with lifes dream
agreed, charter a boat. get out on the water.

magnusmurphy 05-18-2004 07:47 PM

help with lifes dream
I know exactly where Duncan is and can tell you that you are in one of the most spectacular cruising areas in the world. You have every opportunity to learn to sail right at your doorstep.

Your first priority will be to obtain the new Canadian operator certificate without which you cannot even operate a motorized dinghy anymore.

Then contact one of the sailing schools in your area (there are ISPA schools in Sydney and in Comox). I don''t agree with the advise to go charter. It appears that you don''t have ANY experience..? You will need to take some courses for sure. I recommend talking to Chris or Cathy Parry at Island Cruising in Sydney. (250 656 7070). They can help set you up to obtain the necessary qualifications to point you in the right direction.

You can tell them I sent you. I know them from about five years of doing every course in the book...

However there are many schools. Just open the phone book and you will find them.
Magnus Murphy

splitmind 05-18-2004 08:02 PM

help with lifes dream
I second the comment on island cruising in Sydney. We chartered for the first time with them in 2000 and found the yacht and all the staff top rate. I have fellow Toronto friends that have used Cooper, Island C and others but all seem happiest with Island Cruising.

SailVicEC 05-18-2004 10:18 PM

help with lifes dream
Go for it! I am at the start of the skill building process myself for an eventual world cruise with child but I am on the EC (or will be in a couple of months). As you will be sailing with 3 children take a look at a catamaran to see if it might meet your needs better than a mono hull. They offer lots of advantages and the newer models may even be safer than a comprable monohull in bad weather from what I have read.

Jeff_H 05-19-2004 04:08 AM

help with lifes dream
The dream of voyaging under sail can be a powerful one. Pretty much several times a month I receive an email requesting advice from someone who is considering doing just what you are proposing. I have watched literally dozens of folks go through this. Some are successful in getting ''out there'', some discover that they really enjoy sailing and find that they really have no need to ''go out there’; some have discovered that the sailing life is just not for them, and others have not even gotten past the dreaming stage.

From what I have seen, the most successful (especially when children are involved) have been the ones who have been somewhat systematic about going. There is a lot to learn before one can safely venture offshore. No one would assume that they could buy a jet airliner take a few lessons and be able to fly around the world. I think most rational people would expect to start with a small plane and work their way up. But for some reason people assume that they can just go out and buy a big boat, take a couple lessons, read a few books, and then go safely cruising.

While there are people who literally taken a few lessons, read a few books and went out cruising, those that were successful going that route are far more rare than those who have done some kind of apprenticeship. Learning to sail and learning to cruise involves a lot of knowledge and no matter how much you know, there will always be more to learn, but I suggest that you at least take the time to learn the basics, and that just about can’t happen if you buy ‘a big sailboat’ and move your family aboard.

I find myself saying this a lot lately but here I go again. We all come to sailing with our own specific needs, our own specific goals and our own specific capabilities. The neat thing about sailing is that we all don’t have to agree that there is only one right way to go sailing. There is no more truth in expecting that there is one universally right answer about many aspects of sailing than there is in trying to prove that vanilla ice cream is universally better than strawberry ice cream. One area of sailing for which there is no one universally right answer involves the amount of knowledge one needs to go sailing.

For some, all they need or want to know about sailing is just enough knowledge to safely leave the slip sail where they want and get back safely. There is nothing inherently wrong with that approach. But for others, like myself, there is much more to sailing than simply developing a rudimentary knowledge of sailing basics. If you fall into that camp, it is next to impossible to learn to sail really well on a boat as large as the one in question.

While I am in no way suggesting that this makes sense for everyone, for those who really want to learn to sail well, I strongly suggest that they start out owning a used 23 to 27 foot, responsive, light-weight, tiller steered, fin keel/spade rudder (ideally fractionally rigged) sloop (or if they are athletically inclined then a dinghy.) Boats like these provide the kind of feedback that is so necessary to teach a newcomer how to really sail well. Boats like these have small enough loads on lines and the helm that you and your children can all participate and learn together. Being able to learn and participate, the children will be more engaged and less likely to be bored and feel kidnapped.

By sailing well, I mean understanding the nuances of boat handling and sail trim in a way that cannot be learned on a larger boat. Used small boats generally hold their values quite well so that after a year or even few years or so of learning, you should be able to get most of your money out of the small boat and move on to a bigger boat actually knowing something about which specific desirable characteristics of a boat appeal to you as an experienced sailor rather than the preferences of some stranger on some Internet discussion group.

From the advice that you have already gotten you can tell that there will not be a consensus of opinion on how to go distance cruising. With all due respect to the EU gentlemen’s well-meaning advice, in my opinion it is exactly the wrong advice for what you are proposing to do. It is nearly impossible to learn to sail well on a catamaran that is large enough for a family of five, and without highly developed sailing skills, a cat that large is pretty dangerous offshore.

In any event, I think that you have the right idea about taking sailing lessons. If I were in your shoes, I would sit down and put together a list of all of the things that I would want to know before I set off voyaging such as:
Boat handling,
Boat husbandry, repair and maintenance
Diesel maintenance and repair
First aid
Financial management from offshore
Home education methods
Heavy weather tactics
Legal restrictions on leaving and entering foreign countries
Navigation, (Celestial, dead reckoning and electronic)
Radio operators license exam requirements
Safe and dangerous fish
Sail trim
Survival skills

Once you have what you thought was a complete list, I would suggest that you set up a schedule to try to develop those areas of skill that you felt you were currently lacking. As much as possible I would try to involve all those involved in as many of those aspects as each is capable of understanding. This process could take as little as a year, but more often takes two to three years. The process itself can be very rewarding. It can build the kind of family bonds that are required to be cast away on that oh-so-small island that a boat underway represents and may provide many of the kinds of wonderful experiences that you are venturing out there to enjoy.


capttb 05-19-2004 06:51 AM

help with lifes dream
Seconded, The learning curve is steep in dinghies & small boats. Get a small sailing dinghy or boat now for you & the kids to enjoy & learn on nice summer days.

kimby 05-19-2004 10:03 AM

help with lifes dream
This will be a four year plan of getting ready with taking sailing courses and all the thing you have talked about we will be get a smaller sail boat while we are in our home to learn and have fun on. then we will start looking for our dream boat we will live on it and let time slowly set us of to the wind this is not something we are jumping into I am a person that likes to know what I am doing I feel much better that way. We were thinking of getting a cat but my husband works with a boat builder and he was talking to his wife she said she would not sail it in a cat they both know how to sail and have done alot of offshore sailing.
what size of boat and makes would be good for us for offshore sailing. I would like to thankyou for your write up and everyone who took the time to write

maxcontax 05-19-2004 12:20 PM

help with lifes dream
you are living in one of the world''s primo sailing grounds, a great place to practice up for your adventure--also there is alot of local knowledge on sailing waiting for your questions. I gather you are new to all this: suggest you purchase a trainer boat like a Catalina 27 which you can buy in your area for about 12 to 14 thousand, and let the boat be your teacher. When you are ready to go, sell the boat for what you paid for it. you also have alot of resources with your sailing community in Duncan, once you get a trainer and get wet, so to speak, you will meet up with alot of experience.

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