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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #21  
Old 08-22-2003
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Crazy?

You’ve been advised to skip the dinghy sailing step. I disagree! Dinghy’s are the fastest teachers - make (even a small) a mistake, and they tell you (right away). A beginner can learn more about sailing in 10 hours of dinghy sailing, than a year (or 2) of cruising a keelboat.
Once you’ve learned the basics, you’ll be (somewhat) competent to crew on someone else’s racing keelboat; another excellent & intense learning experience.
Although the cruiser(or dinghy-sailor) sails differently from a racer ; the skills you learn there will provide the underlying fundamentals (& many advanced techniques) upon which to build your cruising experience.
Knowledge is like money - more is better!
OMO
Gord
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  #22  
Old 08-22-2003
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Stede is on a distinguished road
Crazy?

Epiphany,

Considering you''re 56,I suggest a "Readers Digest" condensed version of your plan.(1)Take a basic sailing course.(2)Follow that up with a bareboat charter certification course.(3)While taking those courses,spend a lot of time on your own studying navigation.(Int.Nav.school-Quebec,Canada offers an excellent home study course.I''m sure they have a web site.)(4)Buy a boat in the 30 foot range that is seaworthy, and set up to be sailed single-handed.(5)Sail to wherever the hell you want to.Good luck!
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  #23  
Old 08-22-2003
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sadie14 is on a distinguished road
Crazy?

Epiphany,

You never mention keeping yourself healthy. Be sure to exercise and eat right or you won''t make it to your dream. Watch out for hurting your back, keep yourself strong.

You really don''t need every sailing course ever created. Get the basics, get your boat, and practice. Practice on small trips and gradually increase.
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  #24  
Old 08-23-2003
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Crazy?

Epiphany,

I am blown away with the great insights offered here. One of the things I LOVE about living in what I consider the world''s largest village is the incredible support that comes without question....and that will continue on the water. One of the reasons I love this life.

There has been one factor alluded to many times but not named outright, and it is of tremendous concern for single handers, though it applies to any crew: FATIGUE.

Do anything you can to minimize fatigue. This principle translates into much of the advice and insight already provided: scale down the size of the boat, fit her out so that you minimize the energy it takes to handle her safely when conditions go into the tank, and plan your itinerary to stack the deck in your favor for a trouble-free (from the elements) voyage.

Some of the things I think of as fatigue reducers: Autopilot with backup unit (this is a virtual crew member), GPS, self tending sails (and I heartily agree with a cutter rig), electric windlass with controls on the foredeck AND the cockpit, lines led aft, lazyjacks....and I''m sure there''s more.

One thought to chew on: I have known a few folks firmly on the cruising path who bought their first boat with the idea that this MIGHT be a trial boat, and that they might trade in for another boat once they get more experience (in their home waters) under their belt. This adds more complexity to the plan, I know, but thought I''d tee it up for your consideration.

Absent that route, DEFINITELY charter as many boats as time and money allows before you buy. You will gain invaluable "on the job" experience, and will be able to figure out what suits you in particular.

There is so much more...fortunately, much is covered by previous posts from other "villagers".

I am thrilled to hear you are determined on this course. I''ve been at it for over twenty years, and it''s one of the decisions made in my crazy youth that I have NEVER regretted!

Trish Lambert
www.takehersailing.com
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  #25  
Old 08-23-2003
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Crazy?

This has been one intensive discussion full of a lot of worthwhile advice. I have to agree with much that has been said here. Get the basic courses under you belt, try to get a year or so under your belt sailing a light responsive 23 to 26 footer to develop good sail trim and boat handling skills, buy a 7,000 to 11,000 lb, 32 or so footer, work on getting into good physical shape(As a 53 year old that routinely single-hands my 38 footer, I find yoga extremely helpful in that regard in that it builds strength, flexibility and balance, all three of which tends to go with age)and go cruising.

A couple quick suggestions to add to this discussion, I would try to size your boat by displacement rather than length. While I must sound like broken record, as boat get up in weight, they become harder to handle. It is weight not length that determine the size of the sail plan, the loads on the lines,the energy required to sail the boat, and the amout of gear and supplies that you can carry etc. Within reason longer boat of the same weight will be easier to handle, more seaworthy, have a more comfortable motion,and be faster than a smaller boat with the same displacement. Boats like Flicka''s and Dana''s can really wear you down despite their small size.

I keep seeing people recommend a cutter rig for single-handing. That is nuts for the size boat that you will ultimately end up with. There are few bigger pain in the butt to sail, grind you down with each tack, overly complex rig than a cutter rig on a small boat and frankly when you talk about boats in the size range that you are considering there is absolutely no advantage to a cutter rig and the disadvantages are huge.

I strongly suggest that you try to find a fractionally rigged sloop. Most times the working jib on a fractionally rigged sloop is the same size as the staysail on a cutter and so serves as both your working jib in normal conditions and your staysail in a blow. Because the headsails are smaller in size they are easier to tack and cheaper to maintain. Unlike a cutter, you are not dragging the headsail over a jibstay so tacking is much easier. Fractional rigs are easier to depower without having to reef and as someone who is single-handed on and off for almost 40 years of my life, words cannot tell you just how energy saving that can be.

Make sure that the boat you end up with has all of the halyards and control lines lead back to the cockpit so that you can adjust halyards, outhauls and tie in both reefs without leaving the cockpit.

And lastly, I want to encourage you heartily to pursue your dream. You have plenty of time (my Dad is 77 and still going strong) but you do need to move with a sense of purpose. On the other hand, you don''t need to be so goal oriented. When you get out there, you may find that solo cruising is the reward unto itself and that going around the world is the kind of directed goal that is the antithesis of what voyaging under sail is all about. There are few things in life that are more profoundly moving, than to be underway with only your own skills and abilities to guide you. There is an aesthetic to being alone, except for your boat and the sea, that cannot be duplicated in any other way that I know of. There will be times when you will be lonely and wish there was someone along to whom you could say, "Hey look at that!". But there is an incomparable introspective beauty to living with only the beauty of nature, and your own perceptions of the world around you. To me that type of thoughtful solitude is the greatest luxury that one can find in our sometimes crazy world.

(On the other hand, I am very much a people person and love meeting new folks in each port of call.)

Best wishes,
Jeff
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  #26  
Old 08-23-2003
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Crazy?

Epiphany,

When considering what boat to purchase to cruise on, you might want to take a look at the below website.There''s a section for "choosing a cruising boat" which is really good.

http://www.mahina.com/cruise.html
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  #27  
Old 08-25-2003
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Crazy?

Some really terrific advice here from people who do care and people who have been there and done it. Good to see you are taking it to heart.

I want to make one small suggestion about something you aluded to: time and trading boats. I do not see that you could accomplish your dream in the time you wish if you do take the intermediate step to get a "starter" boat. Selling an older boat costs time and money...and there is NO guarantee that any boat will sell. Quite frankly, I would skip this step....BUT make up for it with MORE training. SO, my ver of your abreviated plan:

1. Get intensive sail training at ASA certified schools.

2. Somewhere along the line, get a cheap, small daysailor...for the sole purpose of sharpening your skills and getting more comfortable with the water. A 420 or lightning would be terrific for sharpening sail skills. But ...there is much more to cruising than sailing ...you need to learn boat systems.

3. Charter some boats in the 30-40 size range

4. Get your boat.

#3 is where most would suggest getting an intermediate boat like a Catalina 22 to Tartan 30 ...a small boat that has many of the basic systems big boats have: electrical, plumbing, electronics, rigging etc. Generally, there is a good market for these and you should be able to get into and out of one quickly....BUT...again my hesitation...no guarantee. SO, you may have to go through this step by getting more sail training as crew on other boats and perhaps get bareboat certified and charter a couple times.

The problem is going to be that there is no substitute for having your own boat. An option then: charter at least twice, crew for other people and then get a boat that will be your ultimate boat. Jeff H is right on target when he talks about displacement and LOA. LOA means little. As you have been doing, get online and study the characteristics that make a boat livable, safe, sturdy, sea kindly and offshore long distance cruising capable. The range of boats in this category is quite wide and could easily take a lengthy discussion. There is Trish''s Baba 30, a few 32 footers, a friend''s wonderful Union 36, Tartan 37 (from someone who used to post here), Jeff''s 10,000 lb displ Farr 38 and my 22,000 lb displ Hood 38. All boats capable of doing what you wish to do... We could all go on for quite a bit extolling the virtues of each of these truly fine yachts, and they are. But...each of these outstanding boats were designed for very different sailors ... not just in terms of ability to handle each but different in terms of sailing and design philosophy.

When you have been sailing for a bit, on OPB''s or charter boats, you will know what kind of sailor you are and what kind of boat you want. Then you can take the lists garnered from all these discussions and find your boat. It will be easy then.

Hope this helps

John
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  #28  
Old 08-25-2003
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Crazy?

I want to underscore my point above. You really do have to know what kind of sailor you are in order to buy your ultimate cruising boat. I can illustrate this point by taking a single LOA: 38ft. And list a small selection of boats that are well documented and well accepted livaboard, bluewater cruisers or circumnavigators. This will illustrate the incredible diversity in design and build quality that is out there AND...more to the point CAN do the job you want the boat to do for you. Thus, just looking for a bluewater cruising boat of a certain length, or even one that you could singlehand, is just the tip of the iceberg. Here is a short list of 38 footers you could take around the world:

Farr 38
Beneteau First 38
Wauquiez Hood 38 (sistership to the Bristol 38.8 and Little Harbor Hood 38''s)
Hans Christian 38
Ingrid 38
Hughes 38 (and the Hinckley 38)
Alajuela 38
Shannon 38
Cabo Rico 38
Morgan 382/3/4
HR, IP AND MORE...38''s

The above list contains a wide diversity of boats. Full keel, fin keel, Keel/CB. Light, moderate, moderately heavy and heavy displacement. High quality build and low quality. Luxurious accomodations and quite spartan. FAST (PHRF of 90) to Slow (PHRF of 168 and 195). Modern to traditional. Narrow beam and wide beam. Bowsprits and plumb bows. Prices range from 50k to 150k.

All are good boats, some are great boats. You could take any one of the above around the world. But, of the ones I could afford, there is only one I would write a check for.

And this just covers 38ft LOA.

:O)

Hope this helps

John
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  #29  
Old 08-25-2003
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Epiphany is on a distinguished road
Crazy?

You folks just blow me away. I haven''t come across a group of more knowledgeable, dedicated and helpful people since my early days of whitewater canoeing. If you''ve got anything else to offer, I hope you will because I''ve learned more from than I would have thought possible. A great big Texas THANKS to all of you!
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  #30  
Old 09-16-2003
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bert2 is on a distinguished road
Crazy?

As a fairly recent sailor with a small boat I cannot help but to admire your ambitious plan. It seems to me that starting off small, with a keel boat of about 20 to 24 feet would be a good way to begin. Sailing is an end in itself and the fun you will have in learning on a smaller boat should not be considered a waist of time. From mistakes I have made in my 2-1/2 years of sailing,often I was thankful that the boat was not more then 20 feet. Yet a boat around this size with a fixed keel will provide you with a feel for sailing and be forgiving when errors occure, especially if solo sailing. In my humble opinion only the more experienced sailors should try solo sailing and that with a boat properly set up for it. I have never taken my boat on the ocean. The river system where I live is wide and has a large Bay that make for fun and adventurious sailing. Some day I plan on taking it out into the salt water. What I really want to say is, start off small and enjoy the ride, be patient. To start off to big and fast could ''take the wind out of your sails'' and ruin your sailing experience. Good luck with your plans, hope your dream materializes.
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