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Old 03-07-2004
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How do I start a sailing career?

Hello all,

I was hoping I could get some advice on an efficient plan for plotting out my sailing career.

First I will give my background to give an idea of where I am coming from. I was born and raised in the Midwest of the United States, in the geographical center of North America. Needless to say, I couldn''t have been farther from the ocean. To my luck, my family purchased a lake home in Minnesota, and my sailing interest grew from a sunfish and a 19'' Sparrow. While I loved puddle sailing, I realize that it is a completely different ballgame from ocean cruising. My family did spend one week in the Florida keys in a cruising sailboat, but that was long ago.

I am now currently enrolled in a yacht design course in Maine, and have a strong preference for designing sailing yachts. Unfortunately, sailboats are only 1/10 of the boating industry, and most design firms want true sailing experience before hiring someone on. So, in addition to expanding my resume, I am also young and single, which I feel is the best time in my life to begin a sailing career.

I have read on a few sites that the British Yachtmaster program is one of the best paths to take to become a successful sailor and skipper. If anyone has an opinion against that notion, please feel free to express it, I just want to get a feel for want the industry expectations are. Anyways, accepting that assumption for the time being, what would be your recommendations for acheiving that goal? Should I take one of the fast track programs, like Club Sail or Hamble School of Yachting offer, or should I try to beg my way into a novice crewing position on someone''s boat (is that even realistic?) I am sure there are other options that I am not even aware of, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I also posted this thread in the Learn to Sail forum, but then realized that it is supposed to be a place for beginners to meet other beginners. I apologize for the double-post, but felt that this might be a more appropriate location for it. Thanks for your interest, and I look forward to hearing from your perspectives, no matter what your experience level,

Garrick Solberg
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