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Old 01-16-2010
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Offering help with repair, maintenance

I am a 63 year old, sailing since age 14, but always "permanent beginner" status-not out often enough to be really knowledgeable. Now have time to learn more. Have had the idea of offering free labor to a smart boatowner with the general trade that the skipper gets help with jobs, I learn from him how to repair, maintain a boat. In time, want to get my own boat.

Is this a do-able idea? If so, how find a smart owner? I want to learn from someone who knows something and does things right. I am in a large metropolitan area of Southern California.

Thank you for any guidance.

Leander
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Old 01-16-2010
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Welcome Leander,
There is another fellow on this forum who has been doing what you are suggesting. I know that he is now looking for his own boat here on the east coast. I don't see why your idea wouldn't work on the west coast as well.

What you are really asking for is: "Offering help with repair, maintenance in exchange for some sailing time with you on your boat." until the owner is confident enough to let you take it out on your own. Of course you will have to win their confidence before this happens.

This is a good forum for your inquiry as is SailboatOwners.com
or
Cruisers & Sailing Forums

Good luck with your quest.
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Old 01-16-2010
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Fine tuning of offer

Thank you for your advice, Caleb, and thank you for the leads to other sites.

Actually, this is a bit of a different offer than you have described, and I'm glad for the opportunity to clarify:

There seem to be plenty of people who want to crew. My emphasis here is more on the non-sailing part of the sailboat experience, although I'm happy to crew as well. I want to learn maintenance, repairs, and good judgment about boats from experienced owners who do a lot of their own maintenance. One of my goals is just to see if I really want to be an owner at some point.

Leander
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Old 01-16-2010
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Wow, free labour??!!!???

When can I fly you up? I have two boats that are due for some major cosmetics, one that needs an engine rebuild, one that needs some woodwork restored, has an unknown engine and wiring that looks like it was installed by a blind crack addict with ADHD, and spring is coming. Therefore, slavery, er, "internship", I mean, is the only labour I can afford.

Waitaminnit.... If I declare any help I get as a "retraining program", I may be able to qualify for government funding... okay, scratch the whole "internship" thing. I am now going to declare my boats as "job retraining centers." If I play this right, I could pull in 5 million dollars in taxpayer money!

Hey, this could work!
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Old 01-17-2010
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Leander, I think it is a great idea, but I wonder about your approach. Better in my opinion to just make a list of the specific things that you want to learn and then approach the people who are in a position to teach you. Example, you want to learn how to swage ? Find a rigger and tell them you are trying to learn that specific skill, or a list of rigging skills that you have made up, and offer them free labor. They could probably use an extra pair of hands and you get to work with people who do it every single day. You probably aren't going to learn something like that from a boat owner unless they just happen to need rigging done, and even then you have no idea if they know what they are doing. You can donate your time at a loft to help make sails, or any number of other things.

Edit - I'd add this too, I have found that you can learn most things with a book, tools, and time. Just take it one step at a time, learn as you go along, experiment, keep trying different things, and eventually you just figure it out. There are some really good books out there, "The Rigger's Apprentice", "The Sailmaker's Apprentice", and many others ...

Edit #2 - Good example of this is how I (and many others) have learned about engines, by getting an engine and tearing it down and then putting it back together. There is always somebody with an old engine laying around that you can tear apart.
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Last edited by wind_magic; 01-17-2010 at 12:40 AM. Reason: Edit
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Old 01-17-2010
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Thanks wind_magic. These are some good ideas. I may try a combination of things and see what works best.
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