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  #1  
Old 04-06-2010
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Timeline for cruising?

Hey all,

First off I want to say I've enjoyed reading the forum, oh, constantly, for the past few days.

I'm trying to put together a plan to get out of Tennessee and onto a boat somewhere south. 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.

Still have many questions, but I'm finding a LOT of info on most of them so far.
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Old 04-06-2010
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It depends... if you took some solid sailing courses, you could probably get there in a few months. But you really need to learn a lot to go cruising effectively—fiberglass skills, mechanical skills, plumbing skills, etc., are all really necessary to have to go long-term cruising. The better you know the boat and the more you can repair on it, the better off you'll be.

A good foundation to build your cruising skills on would include the ASA 101, 103, 104, 105 and 106 courses.

It would help if you had a boat after taking the courses so you could practice what you learn in them...

You might want to read Donna Lange's story, as she went from being a novice to circumnavigating in a relatively short period of time.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #3  
Old 04-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
It depends... if you took some solid sailing courses, you could probably get there in a few months. But you really need to learn a lot to go cruising effectively—fiberglass skills, mechanical skills, plumbing skills, etc., are all really necessary to have to go long-term cruising. The better you know the boat and the more you can repair on it, the better off you'll be.
Is this really true Dog? Some basic handyman skills yeah....but fiberglass? I think all this really depends on how much money one can throw at stuff that breaks.

If you have very little money...then yeah...you're going to have to fix anything and everything that breaks. But if you've got a few bucks...then I think you can probably cruise around for quite a while without knowing how to lay up a keel sump and survive it just fine.

Should someone know as much as possible before heading out? Sure. Can one "cruise effectively" without being all that? Sure.

Hey ut, welcome to SN dude. It's a great place with a lot of opinions! Pick and choose among them...but whatever you do...sail!
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  #4  
Old 04-06-2010
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Smacky—

Just tell me what you do if you happen to have a problem where there isn't a convenient boatyard or marina to hire to fix the problem. If you have the epoxy, fiberglass cloth, and the right skills... you can fix a lot of issues yourself.


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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Is this really true Dog? Some basic handyman skills yeah....but fiberglass? I think all this really depends on how much money one can throw at stuff that breaks.

If you have very little money...then yeah...you're going to have to fix anything and everything that breaks. But if you've got a few bucks...then I think you can probably cruise around for quite a while without knowing how to lay up a keel sump and survive it just fine.

Should someone know as much as possible before heading out? Sure. Can one "cruise effectively" without being all that? Sure.

Hey ut, welcome to SN dude. It's a great place with a lot of opinions! Pick and choose among them...but whatever you do...sail!
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #5  
Old 04-06-2010
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Smacky—

Just tell me what you do if you happen to have a problem where there isn't a convenient boatyard or marina to hire to fix the problem. If you have the epoxy, fiberglass cloth, and the right skills... you can fix a lot of issues yourself.
I guess that's my point though. How many cruisers out there are carrying enough fiberglass supplies to fix anything serious? Honestly.

Furthermore, assuming the problem is serious enough to need immediate repair by said cruising sailor, can he/she really do it in the water...assuming as you say that there's not boatyard or marina to help him/her out? And if it's not that serious, can't it wait until he/she makes it to port?

Same with plumbing, electrical, and margarita machine repair.

I'm just saying that these are great skills to know (especially the margarita machine repair thing) but, jeez, aren't you setting the bar a bit high to say that one can't "effectively cruise" without these skillz?
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  #6  
Old 04-06-2010
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Most long term cruisers I know have at least some fiberglass cloth and epoxy aboard the boat....even if it is only a kit of MarineTex.

There are epoxies that will set underwater to patch holes... and MarineTex is one of them IIRC.

Here's a story about a sailboat that was saved using such a product.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 04-06-2010
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smack---- being able to fix whatever goes wrong gives you a lot of confidence when you are 500 miles from land. i could easily pay someone to do repairs, but i would rather do them myself. each time you make a different repair it is a learning experience. right now i am installing a new gas spring in my profurl boom vang because they told me the vang was not repairable. i like a challenge.
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  #8  
Old 04-06-2010
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I'd point out that Maude Fontenoy broke her mast 200 nm from finishing her circumnavigation...... She didn't call for help...she jury-rigged the boat and told her shore team that she might be running a bit late...

I'm guessing that smacky would be pulling the trigger on the EPIRB in that situation...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 04-06-2010
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newbie to cruiser

I'm in the same boat as you! I've taken the ASA courses through coastal cruising, am studying to get my HAM license now, and getting out on a couple weekends a month to go sailing when weather is decent.

Our plan is to liveaboard at a marina for at least 3 months with as much sailing, fixing, learning as possible. We're blessed with good neighbors at the marina that are eager to teach too.

Our hope is to head out cruising at the end of hurricane season this year.

The first time I ever set foot on a sailboat was not quite 2 years ago. I'm amazed at what I've learned, but more so at what I have yet to learn. I just bought our cruising home - and spent 30 minutes trying to find the damn dipstick (hidden behind a extra tank of coolant that the former owner had installed!) That was frustrating - I mean how simple should it be? We took the boat out (Beneteau 423) for a couple hours - too windy for us to sail so just motored - and learned the landscape a bit -- even had one brief, soft grounding where the chart said we had 7 feet - but found only 3 1/2 feet of water. So even the first day had lots of learning for us.
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Old 04-06-2010
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smack---- being able to fix whatever goes wrong gives you a lot of confidence when you are 500 miles from land. i could easily pay someone to do repairs, but i would rather do them myself. each time you make a different repair it is a learning experience. right now i am installing a new gas spring in my profurl boom vang because they told me the vang was not repairable. i like a challenge.
Totally agree cap - it does give you a lot of confidence. And I'm personally learning everything I can (I just started a thread about trying to wire my C27 for A/C - knowing very little about it at this point).

I'm just saying that putting these kinds of things as a pre-requisite to cruising is taking it a little far I think. Knowing how to sail/navigate/etc. is obviously critical. But knowing how to overhaul a Perkins shouldn't hold somebody back from hopping the BVIs for a few months, right?
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 04-07-2010 at 12:04 AM.
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