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Old 08-04-2003
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dameware is on a distinguished road

My advice is to get whatever boat appeals to you, but to spend a lot of time learning how it was put together and how to maintain it. A good set of tools (especially a digital multimeter) and lots of spares will server you well.

I like your determination – go for it!!!!
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Old 08-04-2003
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Emerson is on a distinguished road

Wanting to go isn''t crazy... I think most people want to go. Getting educated is good, though sometimes after daysailing and cruising courses, it becomes theory.

Getting a 43'' boat is not crazy, but it is irrational and it does indicate that you are indeed a novice. That''s all good. Just don''t buy the boat until you''ve got some experience. Then you''ll see why everyone here suggests smaller. My wife and I recenty bought a 24'' boat. We looked in the range from 20-40 feet, knowing only something 32'' or less would really do. We decided, in the end, that a better smaller boat is many times better than a larger, questionable boat. Now, fixing our little darling, (she''s had some mechanical / electrical problems), has been doable, but I can''t imagine having twice the boat, and therefore twice the costs, time, systems, everything. Not to mention, when it does blow, our small(er) sails are a blessing. When we''re maneuvering around the marina / anchorage / traffic, the smaller boat is appreciated.

Good luck and enjoy. Prudence and simplicity are virtues in sailing, flash and complexity are liabilities.
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Old 08-04-2003
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h37skipper is on a distinguished road

Consider a cutter-rig. I single-hand my 37-footer without a problem. She sails very nicely on the main and staysail. The staysail is self-tacking with it''s own boom. The main is not oversized. Winds below 20 knots? Unfurl that big jib and make an easy 7 to 8 knots. A quality authelm goes without saying. Ocean crossing? Then you will want a windvane.
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Old 08-05-2003
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Ahoy, dreamer, the Epiphany comes when you buy your own boat and sail it anywhere alone.It does you no good to take any other course than the basic USPS Course , and possibly a sailing course in basic handling. After that your choice of boats is dead wrong. Anything over 30 feet for a person your age is dangerous and unless you have money to burn, expensive while you spend the next two years learning not to get yourself dead and your dream boat sunk. I urge you to buy an inexpensive 16'' boat and sail the heck out of it while your taking your courses. By the time your course work is done (3-6 Months) you can move up to the range I suggested and keep it simple and as middle of the road in price as you can. But look long and hard first, ask every question you can of anyone who will listen and have at least two subscriptions of Sailing magazines. Buy and read every sailing book or manual you can find. Sail the heck out of the choice you made and don''t worry about far away destinations. Your going to find it challenging enough to find your way around your home waters. Lastly after you''ve done all this you will not have to ask how much boat you need or can handle and if your not broke and want to venture into the big blue well then I''ll SEE you out there. Pirate of Pine Island.
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Old 08-05-2003
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dameware is on a distinguished road

roller furling on the fore sail(s), and a fully battened main attached to a track system will allow for easy sail handling.

Another good idea is to run all sheets back to the cockpit.

You could spend years progressing up in boat size gaining more experience, or you could buy the right boat and hire professionals to help sail the thing and teach you what you specifically what you need to know.

With confidence and knowledge there''s no reason you can''t fullfill your sailing dreams on a 43'' sailboat although is sure is a lot easier when you have crew helping.
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Old 08-05-2003
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Sailormon6 will become famous soon enough

Size does matter. It''s easy enough for a singlehander in good health to sail a 43'' sailboat in pleasant weather, but changing and reefing big, heavy, stiff sails in rising winds and big seas is exhausting, especially after about the third day.
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Old 08-05-2003
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Here''s my suggestions:

Read the following:

1) Lin & Larry Pardey [anything they''ve written...but especially the books that recount their early voyages in Serafyn]

2) Alex Graham''s book Voyage of the Dove

3) Frank Guzzwell''s book about his voyage on Trekka

4) Tania Aebi''s voyage

Visit the following and read about their preparation and/or adventures:

I would seriously look at some of the following:

27'' NorSea
32'' Westsail
37'' Pacific Seacraft
24'' Flicka
32'' Tartan
32'' Southern Cross

Frank Gurnsey did a remarkable voyage around Cape Horn in a 24 (or 26?) ft. sloop - after some serious modifications. His voyage is recounted in "Race the Ice to the Cape"
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Old 08-15-2003
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thefantasea is on a distinguished road

Rather than decide the length of the boat first, I would initially determine the safety features, comforts, and necessities that should be aboard. I would then make it a point to see every boat that I could so that I would know which boat contained what. If I found a boat that contained all of the safety features, comforts, and necessities I required, I would then know the length of the boat I would need. It would not surprise me if the boat turned out to be considerably less than 43 feet.

Many responses refer to age/health/strength issues. These are real concerns and must be addressed. Fortunately, advances in rigging and sail handling make it possible for a single hander to manage a large spread of sail. Take the opportunity to investigate what''s available.

Self tailing winches are a must. So is an extra winch handle that is the longest you can find. As an example, a 10" handle provides 25% more leverage than an 8" handle.

You specify a sloop. In any length, a sloop requires larger sails and offers less flexibility than a cutter or ketch. Smaller sails and more combinations can make single handing less taxing and considerably more comfortable.

All head sails should be on furlers. I''m partial to the old fashioned kind with a wire luff built into the sail. These are hoisted apart from the forestay and are dropped to the deck in the event of a sail change or jam.

If the mainsail is not roller furled, then it should at least be restrained by a Dutchman system or lazy jacks. A Stack-Pack, or Mack-Pack is not a bad idea either. (Both maintain websites.) An easy to work reefing system with three sets of reef points falls in the category of "necessity". Stuggling on a slippery deck in a blow, with what seems to be an acre of wet sail that weighs a ton, will quickly sap the strength of an Olympic class weight lifter. Get all of the "mechanical" help you can.

The weather is often the "unknown" in the equation. As long as it''s favorable, it''s of no consequence. When it''s unfavorable, you, as well as your boat, will be put to the test. Most serious sailors find that the boat is stronger than they are.

Whether you can or will do it is not the question. When you are out there, just a few miles offshore as well as in the middle of an ocean, the question is whether the boat is configured and equipped to enable you to do it.

This turned out to be longer than I expected, yet it only scratches the surface.
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Old 08-21-2003
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Since my first posting on July 30, I''ve learned a lot. SailNet has got to be the premier website for information. I''ve been extremely impressed with the number of responses and their quality. You folks really care about your sport, and it shows, bigtime.
To boil it down, your advice has caused me, for the most part, to scale back the scope and timing of my quest to become an offshore single-handed master of my fate. You''ve injected me with a dose of reality that has brought the fantasy into sharper focus.
So here''s my revised plan, for which I will genuinely appreciate your honest and candid feedback:
1) Regardless of when I can retire, I can start the process of developing my knowledge and skills.
2) First step is to enroll in a basic local course of instruction in sailing a dinghy.
3)Next step is to purchase a quality older boat in the 20-30 foot range.
4) Concurrently, I begin taking every US Sailing Association sanctioned course available, starting with basic keelboat sailing and progressing to offshore passagemaking, interspersed with sailing my 20-30 footer within the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean to put my training into practice, and a lot of it.
5) With my offshore passagemaking certification, I hire out as crew on charters to get first-hand experience with different boats in my ultimate range of 35-37 feet.
6) I purchase my boat in that range and do single-handed Gulf and Caribbean voyages, then cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, then make my first Atlantic crossing.
7) With the Atlantic experience, and after bouncing around the Mediterranean for a few months, I make a wide passage around Cape Horn, into the Indian Ocean, and from there, with appropriate stops in the Comoros and Maldives, set sail across the Pacific, ending my circumnavigation with a transit through the Panama Canal and back to Galveston where I decide what''s next on the agenda.
My questions are as follows:
1) Is this a doable plan?
2) What''s the shortest reasonable time frame for accomplishing it?
3) What''s the best boat in the 20-30 foot range with which to start?
4) Can I realistically compress the timing (I''m already 56 years old) by doing a time/money trade-off by purchasing a 35-37 footer first and hiring an experienced (and patient) captain to teach me to sail her?
I know this has been a lot longer than most postings, but I''m getting a little antsy about the required learning curve up against my age and health. If I could invoke some magic spell, I''d spend one intense day acquiring the knowledge and experience I need, and the rest of my life sailing around the world.
My fascination with sailing and my determination to be out on the open seas all by my lonesome have, if anything, become stronger. I just don''t want to die before I can make them a reality.
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Old 08-21-2003
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I think those would be great if you want to spend alot of extra money on the sport. I think taking a few week long crusing courses would be very helpful. I have sailed in a Hunter 19, a Catalina 22, a Hunter 23. All fum sailing boats but nothing like my Lancer Ok she is only a 30 but I was one who put the first 35 years of my adult life into Wife home and family. That and living in Utah didn''t lead it''s self to even thinking about sailing for years and years. In my late 40''s I started thinking about it. Reading eveything I could get a hold of. Now I have a boat that I can take anywhere. I can live aboard (And I have for almost a year), I can coastal cruse, Or with afew upgrades I could set sail west and see the whole pacific rim. I have learned from my sailing here how to handle winds in excess of 60 MPH and how to love just sitting in the still of a day on the water totally becalmed. I vote that you buy the boat you will be sailing from this point on and learn her inside and out. Let her become part of you. You become part of her. It''s like a marriage. Trust me I am not telling you not to learn how to sail. But I understand your time of life you need to jump into it since you are old enough to knom that the sailing life style is for you. Don''t wait playing with Dingies. Go find your boat. Fal in love and Make a sailing life togeather.
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