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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
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  #21  
Old 12-12-2009
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The sailing courses are great but not necessarily required... like many have said, commonsense and caution will get you started.

If you had to pick one course I'd go for the Power and Sail squadron's basic boating course. Good emphasis on charting and piloting, you'll learn how to use/read charts, what the symbols mean and how to recognize the meaning of all the navigations buoys (may save you a tow off the mud at some point).

If you are a cautious self starter, I'd tend to suggest you take that course after a little bit of experience - you'll have a better frame of reference. But taking it beforehand is helpful too. I've known people that had sailed for several years finally take the course and get a lot out of it.

As a bonus, many insurance carriers will give credit for having taken these courses and lower your rates a bit.

We did as many did, got introduced to sailing by some friends; liked what we saw, went out a bought a small boat, figured things out, and eventually moved up in size (and now back down) We did take the CPSS course as well, but after a season or two.

And, as others have also said, nearly 30 years later we're still learning.....
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  #22  
Old 12-12-2009
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Crew for experience

My husband and I had the basics covered and pretty much learned as we went. By Basics I mean how to sail, how to anchor, navigate, and repair stuff (which is a daily activity no matter how new your boat is).
We took 4 months to prepare our 26 foot boat working 24 7 we were in our late 20's and had lots of energy.
Our 50 foot boat we spent a year getting ready and you are never really ready. We installed a lot of stuff as we went along. I have met several cruisers that took over 5 years to get ready and ask themselves why they waited so long. You really don't need a lot of stuff.
I met a lot of cruisers in Mexico that gave up after one season. They are stuck in boat yards ( good place to buy a boat)
Rough weather, breakdowns, fear and close quarters is a real test on relationships.
Which is too bad because when you get to Panama it's a whole new world.
One nasty bout of seasickness can really change your perspective on the cruising dream.
Cruising life is amazing, it's the people you meet along the way that make it such a wonderful life. ( it's a small community)
I have met several cruisers with boats I would not cross a pond in but they are out there just "doing it" and cruisers are always up for helping each other live the dream. It makes me smile when I see all the guys with their heads together trying to trouble shoot for each other.
I have cruised in a 26 foot boat with no refrigeration and a 50 foot boat with all the bells and whistles. The more you have the more there is to go wrong and there is no end of $$$$ that can be put into your craft. There were plenty of times I wished for a simpler boat but that another story.
I would crew on a few boats before buying anything.
I have experienced few mishaps sailing like getting stuck by lightning and broaching and I have learned that the boat can certainly take more than I can.
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  #23  
Old 12-12-2009
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I started sailing in 1976 at the Annapolis sailing School. My girl friend at the time and I bought a Cal2-27 that Fall and we have been together on a sailboat since. We moved aboard about 6 years ago on our Taswell 58AS. Our first real off shore excursion was on that boat that we took from Annapolis to Tortola as our maden voyage. We had done off-shore passages before that trip and had spent the Summer in New England on our previous boat but that was our first big pasage. Now 25-30k miles later, health reasons are forcing us to give it up. We still have the boat, but it is for sale and we live in a condo in Oyster Pond in St. Maarten after 30+ years with a sailboat.
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  #24  
Old 12-14-2009
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My wife and I had no experience when we decided to buy a sailboat to live on. We gained experience checking out boats. We always kept a bottle of wine on hand just in case someone asked us to go for a sail. We finally found a boat and moved aboard. Then we found problems. We moved ashore while we recored the deck. Arduous task to say the least. We are back on the water now, but still doing a ton of work to get her ready to sail. We love living on the water and have made some great friends that see to it we go sailing to keep learning. Hopefully we'll check out the harbor next year, then the year after that cast away down the east coast. I play original music and hope to figure out how to entertain the many many sailors out there to buy the veggies. LIVE YOUR DREAM while you still can.
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  #25  
Old 12-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianseamonkey View Post
We had zero experience, but no fear. ......
I like this attitude, but I must admit to being more of a "Know fear" sailor than a "No fear" sailor. I learned sailing as a pre-teen, but started a methodical plan to live aboard as a teenager; moved aboard at 24 and my wife and I have been fulltime live aboard cruisers for almost forty years. The cruising life can work for the spontaneous free spirits, but it also works for the meticulous planners that are accused of being "anal retentive". 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 12-15-2009
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Almost 1 year ago exactly my wife and I took Offshore Sailing School's "Fast Track to Cruising Course." Prior to that time neither of us had any sailing experience. We took the course not only to learn but mostly to confirm that the two of us would actually enjoy the whole sailing thing. Fortunately we did, and 6 months later we purchased our first boat. We lived on it until it was too cold to do so (having sold our house and most of our stuff earlier in the year). Next year we plan to head off cruising. If we can do it, anyone can, so go for it!

Mike
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  #27  
Old 12-19-2009
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I think you'll find the sailing to be the easiest part of what you are contemplating. Most complex is buying and maintaining the boat. Second is piloting any boat, power or sail. Third is sailing. It's relatively easy although as some have said doing it well is not always easy. Give yourself time to research the purchase, then give yourself a year to get used to the boat and to sailing. Take the Power Squadron courses to learn all the basics of seamanship.
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Old 12-23-2009
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Sailing since I was 7 and am now 43. Everything came naturally and earned me the name Popeye and the best helmsman (boy) on Lake Ontario back in the day. ha ha
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  #29  
Old 12-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
If you had to pick one course I'd go for the Power and Sail squadron's basic boating course. Good emphasis on charting and piloting, you'll learn how to use/read charts, what the symbols mean and how to recognize the meaning of all the navigations buoys (may save you a tow off the mud at some point).

If you are a cautious self starter, I'd tend to suggest you take that course after a little bit of experience - you'll have a better frame of reference. But taking it beforehand is helpful too. I've known people that had sailed for several years finally take the course and get a lot out of it.
Great advice there, I say practically the same thing when advising potential students who want to enroll in our hospitality program.
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  #30  
Old 12-23-2009
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After reading each post, I think that I can summarize by saying that sailing is a lifestyle and a journey for which you're never fully prepared. Taking lessons is a good starting point from which to really learn. Talk, read, experiment, and use commonsense. As with anything in life, don't dream. Plan to make the dream a reality. But do it.

I'd add my own twist - there are many, many ways to experience the sailing lifestyle. Liveaboard cruising is only one of them. My own situation is one of many - I sail my boat, do some overnight racing, some 2 week cruises, and work on the water to a degree that I have about 14,000 sea miles on ships and boats. There are many other very valid ways to experience the water.

It's not about titles ("I'm a racer", "I'm a cruiser"), it's about enjoying what you're doing.
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