Did I miss the boat?
Hello to everyone out there! My name is Rick, and I
have deveolped a very strong case of the
wannabe/gonnabe sailor blues. The trouble is, I am
starting this a bit late in life, it seems. I am 52,
and I am just a novice. I have a dinghy (bluejay)
that I have taken out just a few times in the last
month, and I have been reading a surfing voraciously
about cruising. I also have signed up with the Power
Squadron in my area, and am taking an engine
maintenance course now, and a seamanship course next
month (all that is available!). I've also crewed a
couple of times this fall, but I live in the northeast
and the season has come to a close.
The thing is, I have this dream to end up live and
cruising on a sailboat. It will prpbably take 4 years
as I have 2 children who live with me full-time and my
youngest is 4 years away from college. I will be 56
by then - and I wonder if I will be too old as my
plans now only include me, no partner. I have never
been offshore in a small boat, though am able, in good
shape, and resourceful. I have every intention of
learning all that I can - perhaps taking one of those
week-long liveaboard courses that ofer ASA
certificaiton. Certainly, from the armchair side, I
am a very good researcher, avid learner, and am
committed to learn all I can about systems,
engineering, structure, etc.
Any suggestions out there? Anyone in Connecticut,
where I live?
I got back into sailing 4 summers ago after having been away from it for almost 40 years. That was 2002, come November, I'll be heading out from Galveston Bay (where I bought the boat) after completing a refit/upgrade, for Florida for the winter, then up the East Coast with the seasons. I just turned 57, so I don't think you need to feel it is too late in life.
There are many good books on the "Recommended Reading List" in the General Discussion topic, about cruising, and all of them would be helpful in learning what's involved. Though most are more bluewater oriented, they are still good guides for any type of cruising.
The two things I would suggest you do at this point, aside from reading, are to save as much money as you can, and get as much sailing experience as possible. Of the two, money comes first, because if you can afford to not work, the experience can come as you go along.
Good luck with your plans,
Thank you for your response! It sounds like we will
have similar trajectories, as I have 4 years to get
some sea legs.
How did you gain experience since 2002? I could buy a
small baot now, and that will not affect my longer
term financial planning to any great degree, though I
am hesitant to jump right into it. I think I might
wait till next season, ginivng me more time tocheck
out a lot more boats. Should I talk to brokers?
Also, what kind of baot did you select, and why? What
were the options, and why Texas. it seems that you
are planning coastal cruising. My dream is to take a
boat into and throught he Caribbean/ Central
America/Mexico, and I am thinking toward the 34 foot
range whaen the time is right.
PBzeer has given good advice, may I add one? Work out and stay in shape. If you stay healthy, you can sail into your 80's. It was be terrible to have the time and money to sail, and not be able to.
Some say, don't spend money on a boat until you're ready to go. Other's say differently. Each way has it's merits. One thing to remember with boats though, is that you have to go with what feels right to you. In other words, don't do it because somebody else says do it, do it because it makes sense to you.
What I did, was buy a 20 footer for around $2500 to see if I still enjoyed sailing as much as when I was a kid. By August, I had a 26 footer that was roomy enough to weekend on. Being in Indiana and not on Lake Michigan, that was as big a boat as was practicable moneywise. What I learned from that boat was I was comfortable staying on one. That winter, I started doing my research on buying and living on one.
Boat choice is a function of realistic expectations of how and where you'll use it, cost, and space. For myself, being a singlehander, I wanted something in the 28-32 foot range. I did though look at some that were larger. The boat I ended up buying had been the kind that was at the top of my search list. The one I found that seemed the best deal, happened to be in Texas.
Though I had little first hand knowledge on keelboats, all my research pointed to this one. Fortunately, it proved to be the right boat. It has the storage and tankage for extended coastal cruising, handles well, and I feel comfortable on it, both at the dock, or under sail. And though I only plan to coastal cruise, I know it will go further if I decide to.
Now, whether that approach works for you, I can't say. It seems to work best if you take the good parts from any and all advice you get, and make a plan that works for you.
thak you, ISUSailing, for your thought!
PBeezer: I see from your signature that you have an Ontario 32 - they seem to have a good following. How do they differ from C&C's own designs? It looks like they might have upgraded interior craftsmanship, and perhaps better fitted for cruising.
They were designed as a ICW and Great Lakes friendly boat, well suited to coastal cruising. Though some don't like the absence of a rear berth (of any type), it does provide a lot of storage from the cockpit, as well as making things very accessible. They are very solidly built and the craftsmanship is a step above typical production levels. I believe C&C were more into perfomance/cruiser types, though they did try to be more cruiser oriented with their Landfall series.
Here's a link to some Canadian boats from the mid 70's to 80's.
I found it a useful comparsion tool, though it isn't that comprhensive about the individual boats.
Not too late!
Rick, for inspiration:
My husband comes from 5 generations of Kansas farmers -- NOT the environment where you would expect a sailor. His first ever time on a sailboat was an afternoon daysail on a Catalina 24, when he was 50 years old. 5 years later we live aboard fulltime, he *teaches* sailing at the Naval Academy, and we're planning to sail off 'somewhere south' in another 3 years.
Here's our personal trajectory; may not be right for everyone but worked for us. It included buying an inexpensive older boat right away (a then-25-year-old Erickson 27) that was big enough to weekend on and small enough to learn to sail on, and cheap enough that we could sell it for close to what we'd paid for it when it was time to move up. We also invested in a one-week liveaboard/learn-to-sail charter in the USVI/BVI, very intensive and focused, we learned a lot, and had lots of fun. Expensive but utterly worth it for newbies with a late start. We moved aboard as soon as it was practical. Even though we both have land jobs and sometimes our boat seems more floating condo than sailing vessel (due to time constraints) living aboard gave us the opportunity to learn & upgrade the systems, tap into the community, and save lots of $$, so when the time comes to retire & go, we'll be as ready as possible.
Best wishes, E.
I am also considering taking one of those liveaboard week-long courses, also in the USVI! What kind of boat do you now live on?
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