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  #1  
Old 08-27-2007
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An introduction

Greetings from landlocked Colorado. I've been reading the archives for about a month now and have finally created an ID. Sadly, my creative juices ran out after about 5 failed user name attempts so I created a bad one.

Anyway, what brought me to sailnet was my latest Walter Mitty fantasy of eventually escaping the corporate insanity, getting a sailboat, and sailing off into the sunset. After 20 years in the software industry, I'm kind of over this whole working thing.

I should mention that my sailing experience is extremely limited, although it's been very enjoyable. My first sailing experience was a 4 day excursion through the Whitsunday Islands on the Anaconda III. That's still my best vacation ever, the run out to the barrier reef under sail while bashing through 3-4 meter waves was definitely a highlight. Thank god for Qwells. I also did one of the Blackbeard 7-day liveaboard cruises from Miami to Bimini, which was more of a scuba trip than a sailing trip, but it was still great just being on the water.

These trips, along with screwing around on some hobie cats and a sunfish a couple of times, have whetted my appetite for sailing. Right now my ultimate goal is to eventually do some cruising in the Caribbean and live aboard a sailboat full time. We'll see if that ever happens, but they say the journey is more important than the destination.

My plan is to spend the next couple of years learning how to sail and banking some money, with a move to the ocean possibly in 2009 or 2010. So, what's the best way to learn? From what I've read, it sounds like a dinghy like a laser or a sunfish would be a great place to start. I've been looking for for a laser, but haven't found a complete one yet. I've also thought about buying something big enough to overnight in on the local lakes. Sort of camping at sea, well, camping at the lake at least. That seems like a slippery slope though as it would most likely entail getting a different vehicle than my Toyota Solara to tow the boat.

I also think this winter I'll take a vacation to either Florida, the Caribbean, or San Diego for an ASA class. A couple places look like they've got a week long liveaboard class that combines ASA 101, 103, and 104 after which you are "Bareboat Certified." Any recommendations of which schools to go to? I had found a couple that looked promising, but would like to hear from people who have done these classes. Are these certifications worthwhile? Do the places in the Bahamas let you bareboat if this is all you've really sailed?

Do any of you have any links to interesting cruising/liveaboard blogs? I've combed through the archives of Bill Dietrich's site which is both fascinating and mundane. I've also read Sleeping With Oars, which is a more about living aboard a boat than cruising. (sorry, had to delete the links 'cause I'm a newb). I'd love to read some stories about people who have made the break and whether they are glad the did or not.

I'd also be interested to hear how people who cut their ties to the corporate world make a living. That's something else I'd need to figure out.

If I do ever get to the point of moving to the ocean, I've got a couple of issues. The first is pets, as I have a dog and a cat. I've read a few interesting threads about pets on board (and part of why I'd like to get something at least worthy of overnighting on Colorado lakes would be to see how the dog would do on a boat). The second is height. I'm 6'5" and it seems like other than Catalinas, most sailboats are pretty short in the headroom department. I've got plenty of time to sort that out, I suppose.

Anyway, that's enough rambling for now (if you made it this far, I'm impressed). Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

- Bob
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Old 08-27-2007
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Welcome Bob. Sounds like you've got some good ideas going. Just to start, take the lessons, anywhere you can, then getting a little boat you can sail around the lake. You will learn a lot and have a great time without spending a lot of money right off the bat. Take your time to learn all the things you will need to know to follow your dreams.
Good luck,
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Old 08-27-2007
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Welcome Bob, sounds like a good plan. Get a sunfish laser etc. and a tent. may not be able to sleep on the boat but you can camp on shore. IE Blackbeard: went on a trip with them a few years ago aboard the Morning Star. awesome trip! I kept asking myself over and over "whos on vacation here, me or the crew members"? food for thought
while in Bimini a few cruisers pulled in and we swapped stories edit: i'll continue later, Nimfy's calling
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Old 08-27-2007
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Thinking short term, lessons are great. I have taken ASA courses and learned enough to justify the expense. For long term planning, Check out Beth Leonards Voyaging Handbook. It covers quite a few of the topics that you are interested in, boats, gear, finacing, budgeting, getting workers visas, etc. etc. Beth and Evans did what you want to do, quit your office job and cruise.

http://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Handb...8190288&sr=1-1

http://www.bethandevans.com/
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Poker, huh? That's one of my other "escape-corporate-america" thoughts. I'm reasonably decent, although I can never focus playing online (and the UIGEA has hurt the games) so I'm a loser there. I did make my foray into the WSOP this year and played a $1500 event. No joy, although it was a lot of fun and I didn't feel outclassed and I've been crushing the $1/2 NL games the last few times I've been in Vegas.
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Old 08-27-2007
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I'd second Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook, which just came out in a second edition. I'd also strongly suggest you take at least a basic ASA 101 course. The information you learn in it will help you understand what the boat is doing and why. While you're at it, get David Seidman's The Complete Sailor, as it is a good basic book for people learning to sail—well-written and with clear drawings.

Learning on a dinghy, preferably a Wanderer, rather than a lateen rigged Sunfish, will teach you a lot more about boat trim and balance than jumping up to a keelboat would. I would recommend that you also try and learn to steer the boat without using the tiller... Doing that will really teach you about balancing the sailplan and how shifting weight can really affect the boat's trim and handling.

The reason I recommend a Wanderer over a Sunfish, even though I learned on Sunfish and love the little boats, is that the Wanderer is rigged with both a headsail and a mainsail, much like most of the larger boats you'll eventually move up to. It can also be fitted out with a spinnakker, if you feel like moving up to one...
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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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Old 08-27-2007
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Unless you are going to car top, I would look at other options besides board boats (for that matter, car topping 130 lbs is not all that easy). Your eventual aim is cruising and my guess is that you want to hang out on your boat as much as sail it, if you know what I mean. I would suggest you also look at some small boats with benches - Chrysler Mutineer, AMF Puffer and lots of others (those are not the only choices, but they are easy to find pictures/descriptions of) that have the sloop rig and are simple to sail single handed.

I am another "Mitty". I sailed off and on with little rentals for years before getting a little car top boat to start with and then quickly made the plunge to get a trailer sailor (small wannabe cruiser).

Welcome aboard!
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Old 08-27-2007
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Welcome aboard!

From a newbie's perspective (relative to these old salts):

I had some limited experience on small board boats years ago. Then when I decided to make a serious foray into sailing I went right to training on (Shark 24) and buying a (Catalina C-22) small keelboat.

I found that the keelboat/cruising training included instruction on systems that I would encounter on even a small cruiser (such as engine systems) that might not be included on a basic sailing course. This was in addition to the more directed sailing theory and practice.

I guess that I may miss out on some of the learning experiences that come with spending a lot of time on a small board boat, but that's a trade-off that I was willing to make to get into something that could take some friends and me out comfortably right off the bat.
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Old 08-27-2007
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Glad you joined. Hobies and sunfish are fun to sail. THe classes will teach you quite a bit but taking them too far in advance will cause you to forget a lot. Sailing is not hard at all. If you can learn on a controlled waterwy (a lake, for instance), your learning curve will be smaller.

THe dogs are not a real issue, but will be a bit of a pain. We have always had dogs with us, but that is another long thread and other topic.

Hang around. Ask questions. Good choice on the Catalina!!!! (smile)

Fair winds,

- CD
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Well, when I saw that the Catalina 400 has 6'11" of head room, my eyes lit up.

What does it mean to be the Catalina 400 techinical editor?
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