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Old 12-13-2007
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Father-son sailing sabbatical, possible? or just a stupid dream?

Hi folks, im new here on this forum. I am a pretty inexperienced sailor, my father and I have done some sailing around some of the lakes here in the midwest on dads 20-footer over the last few years but thats about it. I couldnt tell you a slipknot from a bowtie, but i do know starboard from port

Anyway on to the topic at hand. Dads retiring this year, and I'm at a bit of a crossroads in my life. I've always had a dream of just cashing it all in, buying a sailboat & hitting the waves for a year or two.

I see 30 footers & such on various sites with reasonable accommodations at prices that seem well within reach. Made to sleep up to 6, with full kitchens & such... They look pretty nice.

It seems to me that the old man will be getting older before long, & i'll be tied up in other things... But right now im pretty much unfettered, and as i said dads retiring & as of right now is stong as an ox & healthy as any man half his age.

A lot of you folks here on this forum have considerable experience navigating the bays & coasts i can only scroll through on google earth & dream about. And its you I want to ask... Could a couple guys who have only toyed around in a dingy around the local midwestern party cove hop into one of these bigger boats & head off for adventure in the carribean? Or indeed the east coast? Is it realistic? Are we bound for davey jones' locker? Have i gone off my rocker?

I mean we've been sailing for years, but to go off on something like this. Volumes have been written about the subject of sailing. Surely theres some licensing involved, & youd be daft to go off without some sort of training. Would it be reasonable to think we could hire an experienced hand to sail with us & get us started? Are we going to be robbed at gunpoint by pirates off the coast of Trinidad? I honestly dont know!

Anyway, long story short, do you think im crazy?
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Old 12-13-2007
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I hate to be my own first reply, but after reading my post i think i should put in a little more background.

Dads an old navy man, hes lived at sea before, although its been quite some time ago. Hes an experienced doctor, very wise & very educated.

Im a licensed pilot, so im no stranger to radio navigation, reading charts, deciphering cryptic weather reports, fiddling with GPS systems, sleeping in cramped noisy places, and coping with bad weather.

We both get along very well together, and work well as a team. We both love sailing, even if its not moms cup o tea.

Seems like the adventure of a lifetime doesnt it? the kind of things people write books about!
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Old 12-13-2007
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You can definitely do the East Coast, particularly from Chesapeake Bay to Florida, as you have the option of open water or the ICW. I would though, recommend something more in the 35-36 foot area. I think you'll find a world of difference by adding a few feet.

Best of luck,
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Old 12-13-2007
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May I recommend the book "my old man and the sea". A father and son story about rounding Cape Horn. Let your dreams soar and go sailing with your father.
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Old 12-13-2007
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Chewd, you don't mention your ages; but let me tell you this.

As someone who is losing his dad at a ridiculously early age (68!) to dementia; GO FOR IT.

If you both are in good health, can take the time and money, and have at least the rudimentary skills .......... GO


Oh, did I mention GO??????
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Old 12-13-2007
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I have asked my son to sail down the ICW with me. Ok, I use the word sail loosely. I should say motor. His reply was he will meet me in Miami. He doesn't yet realize that getting there is often more fun, then being there.
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Old 12-13-2007
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Absolutely go for it. Mid--30 footer. Take some lessons and a nav course. East coast and Bahamas are easy to do if you prepare yourself. Caribbean requires a better boat and higher skill level so cross that bridge when you come to it...but you can really have a great time seeing the coast, exploring the Chesapeake, and among the 700 Islands of the Bahamas without risking life and limb.
Lots of help can be found here on the details... but don't miss the opportunity!
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Old 12-13-2007
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I absolutely agree with camaraderie's comments above. The Chesapeake could be a benign place to start (if you can tolerate the summer heat, lack of wind and violent Tstorms.)

Experience starts when you begin. You'll accumulate it fast when you start cruising in your own boat. Lots of things you might do in the meantime, from joining up for a time with others on a cruising boat, to signing on as paying working crew on a vessel like the schooner Virginia, which is sailing to Bermuda and back in the spring. There are many similar opportunities. Forgive me, but I'm partial to schooners.

I abandoned my job at age 25, while still unfettered, and sailed for a year, as mentioned briefly in my "Lake Winnebago" post. It was the experience of a lifetime. Now I'm 72, sailing around with my young grandson, and having the time of my life (again.)

Work is the curse of the sailing class. So go for it now.
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Old 12-13-2007
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Yes, just do it.
Start with small steps in the Bay and work your way up to crossing the Stream and the Islands.
Its not rocket science.
(Can you tell I have the same dream) (I Too want to become an Island Hopper)
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Old 12-13-2007
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I would have to say you and your father should go for it. Given that you don't know what the future holds, and he is fit and able at the moment, and you have the chance to do so. I think you would far more regret not having done it, than going out and sailing with your father. Even if you only sail the coast or down to the Caribbean, it will be something that you and your father can share and talk about for years.

Just be aware that most boats say the can sleep far more people that is realistic. My friend has a C&C 38, and he describes her as a boat that sails with six, feeds four and sleeps two... You and father would do well in many of the boats in the 30-38' range. Anything larger than 38' starts to get really expensive, and anything smaller than 30' isn't going to be comfortable for two people, unless they're a couple.
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