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  #61  
Old 09-25-2009
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Consider taking the Ocean Sailing Seminar offered by the Cruising Rally Association: Cruising Rally Association | Offshore sailing - Adventure, Camaraderie, Competition

For bluewater sailing experience you can volunteer to crew in the Caribbean 1500 or Atlantic Cup. I have done this every year since 2005 and have learned so much, and have also made life-long friends after spending 5 to 14 days together on an ocean passage. You can learn a lot by sailing with people who are more experienced.

Captain Gail
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  #62  
Old 09-25-2009
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You also asked about charting software to use on your PC. Most boats I have crewed for are using Nobeltec. If you get AIS (highly recommended in order to see shipping traffic) it will display on the Nobletec chart.
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Old 09-25-2009
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for a do it yourself kind of guy looking at

Seaclear and OpenCPN

are navigation programs with pretty robust features. Implementation to get up and running seems a bit tricky, but worth it I think.
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