Circumnavigation advice for complete novices - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-10-2009
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Circumnavigation advice for complete novices

Hi

We are completely new to this site and in reality to sailing. Our plan is to learn to sail, buy a yacht and sail around the world for a few years. We are hoping to start this adventure in around 6 months and so we are now seeking as much advise as possible. We have sailed on yachts before and one of us crewed a long passage but overall we really are quite clueless so please bear with us.

We believe that an appropriate CIRCUM yacht to be handled by a young inexperienced couple would be around 40ft - 45ft and after some back and forth have decided its probably best to learn, provision and set sail from the UK (as opposed to NZ being our other option). Any thoughts on UK v NZ. Based on our estimated monthly running costs (being USD 4k PCM - does this sound reasonable?), we will have around USD 225k for the yacht itself (including fit out, insurance, provision etc).

Basically through looking at pictures and reading articles we are trying to work out what type of yacht is best for us given our budget. Our latest preference is something like a Sun Odyssey 42DS (2006), but we are really keen to hear comments as to the suitabilty of this yacht compared to other Jeanneaus. We like the light the DS provides and also the 2 cabin version. We have also looked a few Benneteaus, Hunters, Dufours, i.e. production line boats. Would appreciate any feedback from people who don't just have to rely on pictures.

Naturally we need to learn to sail before we cast off and so we have been looking at various courses. The 14 week yachtmater course looks pretty comprehensive but reasonably costly at around GBP 7K + per head. Should we buy our own yacht and then try and find an expert who would be willing to teach us over a couple of months or would a structured course be best. Either way any info on both options appreciated.

Many thanks for your time.

FANDO
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Old 10-10-2009
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phew!!! Somebody please try to answer these naivxxx nice folks. I would suggest, to start. just build an entire boat.Thata way you can repair most things. Also, You might consider chartering a circumnavigation. OK guys take it from there.

"It is better to be a has been than a never has been"

Last edited by Capt.Fred; 10-10-2009 at 11:17 AM. Reason: misquoted myself and add an addled thought.
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Old 10-10-2009
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It's good that you're asking. It's good that you know that you don't know. But a few observations: buying a boat for long distance cruising is about how the boat handles weather and water and how practical it is for stowage, fuel range, etc. It's not about liking the light or the interior. That's marina stuff. I have met a few people who have fast tracked a yachtmaster and I wouldn't trust them on a watch alone. 14 weeks to yachtmaster is far too short. I guess my own view is that there is no short cut. Sailing can be dangerous and suitable preparation is vital. But knowing that you don't know is a good first step.
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Last edited by kairetu; 10-10-2009 at 11:20 AM. Reason: stupidity
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Old 10-10-2009
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You are asking the right questions... my advice would be to not set a timetable. And don't be in a rush. Spending 3-5 years learning to sail, learning whichever boat you buy, cruising coastally will help prepare you for offshore, but even then there will be things you maybe never thought about til you're out there.

You do have a reasonable budget, I think, but the mainstream production boats you mention are not likely to be on anyone's "prime offshore/bluewater boats" (btw here's a thread that lists such favoured designs)

Updated Offshore Cruising Boat List - January 2008

. I'd start looking at a Passport 40/44/47 and similar boats if I were you. Also wouldn't put 100% stock in any 'fast tracked' courses.. by all means study navigation, radio, lifesaving etc but there's nothing like experience and having some experience before taking these courses will help you get a better perspective and more out of them.

Good luck.
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Old 10-10-2009
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I'm sorry, I can't help butting in again , but Fando's dream got my juices going. With that kind of $, and I were 40 years younger, I would buy me a couple acres in the country, fairly close to some funky boat yards in a nice climate. Hype my beautiful wife, buy an old Airstream, put up a 50'x60' air conditioned (geothermal) metal building. Put the Airstream inside, live a life similar space wise as a boat. I would buy a blue water fibreglass hull of my dreams and go to work. Make sure the work area dust is completely vented to the outside.
Good cheer and good luck, what fun!

"It is better to be a has been than a never has been."

Last edited by Capt.Fred; 10-10-2009 at 11:58 AM. Reason: type of airconditioning for building
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Thanks for your comments. Safety is naturally the number one priority, for which we will endeavour to minimise the inherent risk that comes with sailing. Any significant passage crossings we will enlist qualified friends to assist in skippering the yacht. Interesting that you believe the yachtmaster fast track courses add limited value.

Captain Fred - as to building an entire yacht, although I appreciate your point about being in a better position to repair it, given my skills, I believe I would be better off buying one built by experts.

All advice appreciated.

FANDO
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Old 10-10-2009
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FANDO, your plans are admirable, but naive. It takes a year to learn how to sail and five years to become a sailor.
Long before you head out into the blue you have to know your boat inside and out and know how to fix everything that can go wrong - because it will. You can go to all the sailing classes you can afford, but what are you going to do the first time you are caught in a major storm and your dream boat is knocked down to spreaders in the water and rounds back up with the main torn and hung up in the spreaders, cockpit filled with water and draining slowly, 1/2 of the water coursing down your companionway steps and across your cabin sole filling your bilge and soaking all the stuff that got dumped onto the sole while you were sideways?
Don't think that can happen? It can and does. Go to the BFS thread and read some of the disasters - many in protected waters. It's all part of the sailing dream.
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Old 10-10-2009
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Complete Novice and Circumnavigate do not belong in the same sentence;
It takes many years of experience to be able to do and very few actually accomplish.
Buy your boat and go sailing for a long time, and than decide if you are up to it.
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We do plan to sail around the MED for a year + before making an ocean crossing to the the Caribbean (for which we would invite / pay for a qualifed skipper to lead the way). Also one of us has crossed the Pacific before albeit part of a 4 man crew. Even given our slow and ocean accompanied passages - are our plans still deemed unrealistic and foolhardy? Thanks
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Old 10-10-2009
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Long time boater, first time sailor. I bought a 27' Catalina to learn on. I think you should change your goal. Plan on sailing around the med or wherever for a year. Buy a boat for that purpose--instead of circumnavigating.

Then after your done with local cruising, consider circumnavigating. You'll know if you can handle it, and you'll know what you like and don't like in a boat. They're all different. When you get time on the water you will figure out what features you like, and which ones you don't. You can sell your local cruiser and upgrade to something more suitable for heavy weather, but you'll have a much better time identifying features that are really important to you.

No amount of googling or classroom teaching can replace time on the water.
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