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  #31  
Old 04-07-2010
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If you are prepared to go simple, go small and you have good common sense then buy a boat and go sailing with a teacher for the first week [ maybe 2 ]and you should be good to go for the easier areas of the world.

I did and if you are still sail Jack may you have fair winds! He took us across the English channel and down to Camaret and that set us up to go on down the coasts of France and Spain and acroos the Atlantic.

GPS has allowed cruisers to go in safety without all the arcane knowledge that used to be required. But please always keep a running plot on a paper chart if it is not local eyeball sailing. Easy access to weather forecasts allows you to choose only good weather to make passage.

As far as maintenance is concerned make sure that you can change a fan belt, the raw water impellor, the fuel filter and bleed the injector system. Buy a boat that has easy access to these items.

Also you should be able to patch a torn sail and cope with a lost halyiard. A spare spi halyiard is fine IMHO not many of us would go up the mast at sea.

Get the books by Pardey, Casey and Calder and read them and refer to them. If you are in trouble in a anchorage somewhere and need some help fixing something a call on the VHF will often bring help. Have a look at the boat he or she comes from if you have a choice go with the one from the rust streaked, wind vane carrying, custom home made awning sporting boat with the faded ensign.

Carry essential spares including a bottle screw, some rigging wire with an eye in one end bulldog clips and a short lenght of chain with some shackles. IMHO a small qty of marine tex should be carried but I see no reason to carry large amounts of epoxy and cloth as if you need to make that sort of repair it is hard to envisage being in a place that would allow you to make the repair without also being able to buy the materials.

I would never say don't carry a comprehensive set of spares but FedEx is world wide and fast.

Make absolutely sure that your tool kit allows you to do the above,
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  #32  
Old 04-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
Get the books by Pardey, Casey and Calder and read them and refer to them.
And I just spent my gift cards on Travis McGee and Doc Ford books.

Thanks for the references. I've got a list of books and resources together from other threads.

Again, thanks for all the opinions and input.
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  #33  
Old 04-07-2010
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Originally Posted by utchuckd View Post
My first question is how long would it take to go from being a complete novice (one learn to sail course 10 years ago) to being able to go on long weekend or full week trips (or longer)? Could I get there in months? Years? I should be able to spend a lot of time working on it, I just don't know how much time I'm going to have to invest.
We've actually been documenting that same process on our blog. You might find some answers there:

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  #34  
Old 04-07-2010
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Originally Posted by utchuckd View Post
My first question is how long would it take to go from being a complete novice (one learn to sail course 10 years ago) to being able to go on long weekend or full week trips (or longer)?
Today is only Wednesday- you still have time to get ready to leave this weekend.
Seriously.
You can spend months reading and learning and preparing and taking course after course and getting certification after certification and, and and, and...
Just go sailing! It isn't rocket science!
Learning to sail WELL, on the other hand... now THAT will take the rest of your life. You can take lessons if you want, but it is not like flying- it is not a requirement. In fact, I will posit, and some will vehemently disagree, that heading out on your own, in inland waters, in moderate breezes will be more beneficial to you before signing up for lessons, as then you will know what you don't know, know what i mean?


I would venture that the vast majority of us here are self-taught, and we have all survived.

Now, for long-term cruising, off a mooring with a tight budget and no economic safety net? Then learn how to fix what you break before you break it.
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  #35  
Old 04-07-2010
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Interesting topic...it has been my experience that one should be prepared for anything at any time...what I mean by that is what happens if you don't have a glass patch kit and u need one, what do you use? fan belt breaks, electrical outages...things break at bad times, what is YOUR plan? Even if you have the repair materials, can u take time off the helm to effect them? Have u tried to roll up a mattress or cushion, buttress it to a bulkhead? in the dark?What do you use for braces? the table? does it come off easily etc?? It is the plan that makes the preparation successful, it is confidence that makes the plan work. Sooooo imho, you will never have all the things you need on the boat for every contingency, but you need to have a plan, practice that plan and prepare. You should take all the comments to heart, learn your boat, practice problems and get out there...welcome to the blue water, no better place to be!
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  #36  
Old 04-07-2010
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Originally Posted by utchuckd View Post
And I just spent my gift cards on ... Doc Ford books.

.
I think that if you focus on Tomlinson's adventures, it almost qualifies as a cruising guide.

Seriously, R W White is one of my favourite authors- he knows the Keys and it shows.
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Old 04-07-2010
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And I just spent my gift cards on Travis McGee and Doc Ford books.

Thanks for the references. I've got a list of books and resources together from other threads.

Again, thanks for all the opinions and input.
Dude! Travis McGee rocks! Hanging out on "Busted Flush", drinking Boodles, solving crazy crimes with his buddy Meyers, and scoring more booday than any man in history? Perfect research for cruising ut.
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  #38  
Old 04-07-2010
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I've been reading the McGee series for a good decade, pick up one or 2 a year. Got a few more to go, but can see the end from here. (Btw, named my new puppy McGee back in the fall when I got him.)

I picked up a Doc Ford novel on a whim at the bookstore and was hooked immediately. Part of it is because the learn to sail course I did was on Captiva, so I was like 'Hey! I know where Sanibel is!'
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Old 04-08-2010
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Watch for a good 7 day weather window and sail from Fort Myers to Captiva to Sanibel and then head South to Key West and then West to Dry Tortuga. You will learn so much between that and the return passage. If you don't wreck the boat you will learn what you don't know and why you need to know more. Carry the recomended ASA emergency equipment including a submersable hand held vhf radio. If you do wreck the boat you are still in safe range of USCG rescue. There is no Someday. Everything breaks and in the end the ocean will win. Good luck and fair winds.
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Originally Posted by bljones View Post
Today is only Wednesday- you still have time to get ready to leave this weekend.
Seriously.
Sounds great, but how do I go about it? I assume you can rent a boat for a day? Do I also rent somebody to go out and show me the basics too? How expensive is a small boat daysail rental? Right now it may be a pretty good option as I can get very cheap airfare and hopping down every couple/few weeks would give me a good jump start I think.
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