Join Date: Jul 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.