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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2008
LarryandSusanMacDonald's Avatar
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All very informed answers. You will always continue learning. However, how will you know when you have become competent?

When you stop yelling at your crew. It is then you know that you must think ahead to what is going to happen before it happens. This takes experience. Up until then, you yell when something happens that you didn't expect.

Your crew, often your wife, has to learn with you. Has to share in all of the experiences. You have to be a team - and each has to know the others strengths and weaknesses, and compensate for them. You must learn to communicate - often wordlessly - because sometimes you can't be heard above the din of the wind and waves and snapping sails.

Saltwater Suzi and I have worked out hand signals for many situations. Watch a couple when they anchor or raft up with another boat or attempt to bring the boat into a slip. The experienced ones are signaling each other and everything operates (relatively) smoothly. The inexperienced are yelling.


Guaranteed, you're gonna screw up. It has happened to all of us - on a real regular basis. When it does, try not to yell. And afterwards, over wine and cheese, try to talk it out calmly and figure out what you could have done better. Then try it next time. Each time, you will find it easier.

Take the courses - get the book learnin'. Applying it is the hard part. It's all well and good to pass your Power Squadron Advanced Piloting Course with flying colors, but at two o'clock in the morning, when crossing the gulf stream and oddball lights are coming at you and it's difficult to hold a course because you can't see, and the waves are bouncing the boat around so much that the compass is swinging back and forth, this is the time you need to count on each other, remain calm, apply what you know and figure out what you don't know.

Before you reach that point, you need to get your experience little by little - baby steps. Learn by the book and then learn by doing.

Sometimes you're going to be scared. That's when you need to have courage, to remain calm. You can go nutso later. That is when your boat, and nature, and circumstances are ganging up on you. You will learn a lot about yourself and each other in those times. And you'll survive and learn and grow closer together.

Cruising has been defined as 99% boredom and 1% panic. I see the point, but disagree. Only boring people get bored. And only the cowards panic.


Read, study, learn, ask, apply, practice. What more is there to almost everything in life? Well, that and the occasional rum.
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"A sailboat is a fickle mistress. Youíve got to buy her things. Youíve got to understand everything about her. What you donít know sheíll use against you." -Captain Larry


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  #12  
Old 05-02-2008
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Win,

Welcome.

I really mean that. Welcome to the forum and more importantly welcome to a wonderfully fulfilling lifestyle. I get the tone of your post and I think you're very well placed to be cruising ready faster than most.

First I'll answer your question: about two years is the short answer. Three to five years to go offshore. Now with that comes a bunch of caveats. How much you sail, what friends you make, and how many books you read are the big factors.

I bought a 31ft wooden sloop, not knowing how to sail, and I hooked up with a good captain to race with and devoured every book I could from the library. I also lived aboard and thus was always talking with boat people and learned a lot from their experience. After that I took off on a 4 month trip up the inside passage of Vanouver island.

Was I ready? Ask anybody and the answer would be usually be HELL NO! But it depends on who you ask. EVERYONE I have ever talked to who has sailed for more than 6 months at a stretch has offered the same advice they all say "go and go now. If you stay at the dock you'll never leave."

I'm not advocating you go now, there's a little work to be done first but most people will tell you that you need to learn more, you need a better boat, and you need LOTS more gear before you can go. When you hear this take note of who the advice comes from. Are they still at the dock? Or do they have significant experience?


I suggest this:

SAIL as much as possible. If it means joining a club or buying a boat do it. Race, you will learn a great deal about sail trim and, in racing you will find yourself in situations that you would never voluntarily put yourself in (such as having a spinnaker up in 30kts of wind) but you have to get out of. There is much to be learned from racing.

Check out every single book on boating from the library and read as many as you can. You'll see many different opinions and you'll find where in the spectrum you sit.

Buy a couple books. "Chapman's piloting" and "the complete sailor" by David Seidman. If you learn what's in chapman's and follow it to the letter I can (as close as you can) guarantee that no harm will come to you. The complete sailor is the best book to teach the sailing part.

In your learning concentrate on two things above all else. STAY ONBOARD AND KEEP THE BOAT OFF THE ROCKS. The more you do to make sure these two things are looked after, the better off you'll be. The rest is gravy. This means being mindful and humble when on board and really LEARNING navigation and CURRENT.

I've probably already said too much but it's a start. If you stay coastal you can do it for 20K (marine swap meets are your friend) and you can do it soon. If you want to go offshore you are really looking at more like 40K.

PM me if you want me to rant further.

Medsailor

PS One last thing, the Coronado 25 is a fine boat that I've seen many time for just under $4,000. My parents learned to sail on one in SF bay...
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I have a sauna on my boat, therefore I win.
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2008
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IMHO, you never learn enough, and you never stop learning.

Basic skills you can learn by doing, either by yourself or with an instructor, but these basic skills don't cover all situations you may find yourself in, and only by experiencing them can you learn.

I've sailed since I was 7, a long, long time ago. But, I still do the dumb things of a novice, to re-teach me the things I've forgotten or become overconfident in their practice.

Sailing is easy, seamanship takes a long time to develop.
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  #14  
Old 05-03-2008
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Welcome....A good book for you to read would be Ellen MacArthur's book.

You will find her fast track, an interesting read..IIRC she was 15 when she sailed around Great Britain..a couple years later did the mini transit..

She lived and breathed sailing 24/7 though
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Old 05-03-2008
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Some people drive cars well from the start, some never get to do it right.

Cruising, voyaging, whatever you want to call it, is no different. Some people can do it immediately, some people will spend their lives screwing up and not getting it right. More than anything, it depends on your acumen, competence to deal with the unexpected and the balls to take a chance.

I agree with one post above and say that sailing is only one fundumental element of cruising and a person who can win the Olympics sailing a Tornado is not necessarily equipped to cruise. It's all the other things that keep you safe and they all really distill down to one word - seamanship.

And that brings me back to the opening paragraph - if you have it, you can go in months - if you don't have it you may never be really ready.

Only you will know that and no amount of clever postulating can provide you with the answer.

Andre
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Old 05-03-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
Some people drive cars well from the start, some never get to do it right.

Cruising, voyaging, whatever you want to call it, is no different. Some people can do it immediately, some people will spend their lives screwing up and not getting it right. More than anything, it depends on your acumen, competence to deal with the unexpected and the balls to take a chance.
Ain't that the truth!
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  #17  
Old 05-03-2008
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Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond. I defiantly have a better idea of how long it will take now. A long time, give or take a while. No seriously it looks like this would have to be a 2 year or more plan. Once again thanks everybody
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Old 05-03-2008
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A 2-year plan?

A 2-year plan? I'd say make it a life-time plan! You never stop learning - and when you do its time to swallow the anchor.

That's the great thing about it!
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  #19  
Old 05-03-2008
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I say make it a "today" plan. You're confident in you monetary resources, so buy the boat and start cruising.

Remember this: If you wait until you're ready, you'll never leave the dock.

Some will say that my response is short-sighted and impulsive. I say that you need to take advantage of the passion while it's there. It's true that you'll learn for the rest of your life while you're on the water, but that shouldn't keep you at the dock.
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Last edited by kwaltersmi; 05-03-2008 at 06:25 PM.
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  #20  
Old 05-03-2008
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You won't start until you do.

However, you might not like it.

So joining a club, maybe a dinghy sailing club to start to learn how to sail, is good advice. Not only because you will learn quickly to handle a small boat (it's actually rather easy) but also if you like getting seriously wet while being bounced about.

With your sailing ambitions (shared by many here) some of it will involve being bounced about in awful weather while your bow throws waves over you - and that for hours, even days long, and no peace when you try to sleep either. It is not quality time, those bits, in fact its near torture.

Having developed a sufficient level of masochism to go back for more - your ready.

But seriously, the most difficult part of sailing is parking the boat, in front of a large, knowledgeable and critical audience of fellow sailors.
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