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  #21  
Old 03-01-2012
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I concur with pretty much all the replies, especially about not being in a hurry to complete you plan. Your plan is a good one though, to which I would add steps between 1 and 2. Mainly do some day sailing to see how sailboats handle without an instructor on board. If you plan on ocean voyages, be sure to rent and/or charter in the ocean(s) of choice. After the day sailing, proceed to do an overnight passage; things appear different at sea, at night. One final thought, try to get some experience as crew with a sailboat race captain. Short buoy races with an experienced racer can help quite a lot even if you never plan to race after your boat purchase.
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  #22  
Old 03-01-2012
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Bits of information

I like your letter, and that is why I respond. My little offering is just from my own experience. Yours will surely differ markedly.

Your letter of intent tells all of us that you are rational and like planning. It also says you are keen on falling into a sailing life, but donít have experience with it. I chose much the same path. It turned out that I love it. Luckily.

I wish I had had someone when I started down this path to offer me information based on experience, hence this post.

Planning is fun, but you are projecting from a land-based existence. We get hung up on 'must haves' and so on before we eagerly purchase our first boat, but only have dreams to formulate these Ďessentialsí from.
They will mostly turn out to be impossible or silly.
Set your budget (and boy, yours is low) but accept that it will alter, probably dramatically. Things that you hold dear, like a Ďstand-upí shower (you will sit to take showers if you have that much water) will go by the board as being a bit goofy.

Make friends amongst those who have had the experience you seek and who invite you out for little cruises and to help on the boat (beer-can racing too, as has been mentioned).

When you eventually do buy a boat you will get the best deal on everything by leaps and bounds. Never again will you see such economy.
Once you have the boat you will find that having to have the keel re-bedded will cost you $9,000; new standing rigging will be $7,000; a new suit of sails could be $6,500; bottom paint alone will be $2,000 with the haulout; replacing the engine will be $12,000. You get the idea. You want to buy a boat that REALLY doesn't need work that you have to pay for for as long as possible. Or do everything yourself from bits out of a dumpster, which is difficult, especially without a boatyard.

Sailing long distances I find both exhausting and fairly boring until something goes wrong, when it can become both scary and exciting. I love my boat and I love sailing, but avoiding expense whilst creating the ability to sail the oceans is a matter of knowledge gathered and personal experience, and even then, is best fitted to the type of person who has oodles of common sense, is very practical and is gifted with their hands.

Not to say that effective social skills could not be more important sometimes....

Good luck!
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  #23  
Old 03-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesonclouds View Post
All,


Does anyone else have an affordable sailing school they can recommend?

Henry T
Check these guys out. If you have a way to swing the fee, their school its an experinece of a lifetime. (S Pacific) They also offer boat search assistance that might be well worth the cost. We have been restoring and outfitting our boat for 5 years now. It was damaged in Hurrican Ivan. Even doing the work ourselves, I wonder if we should have found one ready to go. THe expense and time add up quickly.
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  #24  
Old 03-02-2012
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I wish you the best in reaching your goal. I would echo the advice that, "Hey you're retired, what's the rush?"

My suggestion would be to come to the Chesapeake to take lessons and buy your boat. There are many good schools and a huge supply of used boats to consider. You could easily spend a year just looking for the right boat. Choose one of the low cost areas of the bay for a marina that allows liveaboards and a yard that allows DIY work and spend a year on the bay learning to sail, navigate, anchor, maintain your boats systems, etc. The Chesapeake is a great place to learn the skills you'll need to venture further afield and once you and your boat are ready, it makes a great launchning point for voyages north or south.

Deltaville VA, is one less expensive area on the Bay to look into, but there are others in MD. Keep in mind if you buy and keep the boat in MD, you'll pay higher tax than if you keep the boat in VA until you are ready to leave. Be aware of tax ramificaitons as you travel as well. You may need to move more often that you'd otherwise like to avoid getting nailed with taxes in the States you visit. Deltaville offers several do it yourself boat yards, experienced marine trades, and several marinas that allow liveaboards. Its a tiny community that is so marine focused that it supported 2 West Marine stores with in a few miles of each other (Both are being closed and they are building a WM super center that will be larger than the two stores combined.)

You may benefit from talking to Norton's Yacht Sales down in Deltaville. I've never bought a boat from them, but I know a lot of folks that have and have gone back a bought their next boat from them as well. That says a lot to me since I've yet to meet a boat broker that I'd willingly deal with again. They do have a sailing school, but I don't know anything about them other than that they exist.
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  #25  
Old 03-02-2012
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We've been cruising the Pacific for 6 years and sailed for a long time before that. I agree with the comments that have been made, for the most part. Especially true for us:
- be sure to read Nigel Calder's maintenance books. Cruising sailing is essentially boat repair in exotic locations. Advice about returning to the US for anything beyond small stuff is very good, IMHO. Remember that the US uses a different standard for a lot of things--pipe thread, shorepower, measurements for hoses, screws, and plumbing fittings--and you'll have trouble finding them in some parts of the world, especially the further you get from the US.

- we owned sailboats for 40 years before setting out, but we also chartered boats in the BVI, Belize, and other places. We learned some interesting things. For example, you'll shower in the cockpit, usually in salt water (ambient temperature) with a freshwater rinse (ambient tank temperature). Short hair is easier than long hair, takes much less water to keep clean. You'll want cabin fans, and enough charging capacity to run them.

- bigger boat holds more stuff, has better seakeeping, but also is harder to dock, costs more to fuel up, maintain, and fit out. I'm not small, but I can't do a lot of stuff on our 40' boat because I either can't reach it or haven't the strength to manage it. Smaller is easier. It's a tradeoff. We have seen lots of couples cruising in 30' boats and having a great time doing it.

- If chartering would break the budget, offer yourselves as crew for a cruising sailboat. You'll learn a lot and often the only cost to you will be whatever air tickets you have to buy. Cruise with folks who have done a lot of it. You may not have to do any persuading about the shower if your wife sees that most everyone showers on deck.

- Don't put everything on the boat from the first that you think you'll ever need. Go slow. Take more time, if necessary. We are nearly 70 and there are lots of us geezers out here. You'll learn what you really can't do without--and some of it will be stuff you haven't even thought of yet.

- The cruising guides I read for years before we set out painted a really rosy picture of cruising. We've had equipment failures (although we specified what we thought was really good equipment when we had our boat built) and waited in ports for a shipment to come through. Often it's been a tiny part--a pulley, a solenoid--that had to come from the US. Eventually we built up a stock of spare parts that keeps us going. Good advice from Lyn and Larry Pardey: "Make your boat unstoppable." Pare it down, make sure you know how to fix what's on board.

- Sailing classes are often offered for a small fee by parks and rec departments, and most Navy bases (my husband was also career Navy) offer sailing classes. Check these out.

- Consider taking a class in engine maintenance if you don't know how to field strip your engine (and you want a diesel, not a gasoline engine), and learn how to repair sails. Learn splices. Basically, learn the same skills that might have been critical 100 years ago, plus electrical, electronics, and diesel mechanics. I note that you're a weather forecaster--great! You've got an important part of cruising sailing down already. Get piloting and then navigation skills (tip: women can be great navigators).

Nobody and no book can give you all you need to know, and you'll keep learning as you go. That's the fun part of cruising. Take it easy, don't be too set on firm schedules (they'll likely get blown away anyhow), and concentrate on getting all you can from every experience. It's often the ones you didn't expect that will be the ones you remember the longest.

-
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  #26  
Old 05-07-2012
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Re: First post, big questions

New Friends,

It has been an eventful few months since my first post. Shortly after I made that post I the most unexpected thing happened. I received word that I had been selected for promotion. So, my wife and I had to make a decision to stay in the military another 2 years or retire as planned. We decided to stay in order to build a larger retirement fund that will allow for more a more comfortable sailing experience. Also, as fate would have it we were informed we'll be relocating near Savannah, GA this August.

We're excited about Savannah since we can sail, develop our skills and look for a suitable boat while still earning a paycheck for the next couple years. We're positive we can make the best of this temporary delay. It all makes me think of something John Lennon said "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans".

Thanks once again for all the absolutely excellent advice. I appreciate the diverse points of view present in this community. It's a valuable resource. I’m also very interested in any advice or opinions on sailing in the Savannah area (schools, clubs, boats for sale).

Warmly,

Henry T
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Old 05-07-2012
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Re: First post, big questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesonclouds View Post
New Friends,

It has been an eventful few months since my first post. Shortly after I made that post I the most unexpected thing happened. I received word that I had been selected for promotion. So, my wife and I had to make a decision to stay in the military another 2 years or retire as planned. We decided to stay in order to build a larger retirement fund that will allow for more a more comfortable sailing experience. Also, as fate would have it we were informed we'll be relocating near Savannah, GA this August.

We're excited about Savannah since we can sail, develop our skills and look for a suitable boat while still earning a paycheck for the next couple years. We're positive we can make the best of this temporary delay. It all makes me think of something John Lennon said "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans".

Thanks once again for all the absolutely excellent advice. I appreciate the diverse points of view present in this community. It's a valuable resource. I’m also very interested in any advice or opinions on sailing in the Savannah area (schools, clubs, boats for sale).

Warmly,

Henry T
Funny how the Army has a way of offering promotions/ good duty assignments right as you're eligible to ETS.

Congratulations on the promotion, and I think you'll find the delay will give you a chance to really wrap your head around the intracacies of long term sailing, boat selection and outfitting, refining your sailing skills, and you'll ultimately be all the better for it!!
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Last edited by creedence623; 05-07-2012 at 04:43 AM.
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  #28  
Old 05-07-2012
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Re: First post, big questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesonclouds View Post
New Friends,

It has been an eventful few months since my first post. Shortly after I made that post I the most unexpected thing happened. I received word that I had been selected for promotion. So, my wife and I had to make a decision to stay in the military another 2 years or retire as planned. We decided to stay in order to build a larger retirement fund that will allow for more a more comfortable sailing experience. Also, as fate would have it we were informed we'll be relocating near Savannah, GA this August.

We're excited about Savannah since we can sail, develop our skills and look for a suitable boat while still earning a paycheck for the next couple years. We're positive we can make the best of this temporary delay. It all makes me think of something John Lennon said "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans".

Thanks once again for all the absolutely excellent advice. I appreciate the diverse points of view present in this community. It's a valuable resource. Iím also very interested in any advice or opinions on sailing in the Savannah area (schools, clubs, boats for sale).

Warmly,

Henry T
That sounds like the best scenario to me. Build up your retirement points and live in a great location to get some time on the water. And now you don't have to feel rushed about finding/buying a boat and hopefully can find the right one for you and your wife. Good Luck!
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  #29  
Old 05-07-2012
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Re: First post, big questions

Congrats on the promotion. I wouldn't look at the assignment to GA as a delay in your plans, I would say it is more of a gradual training and settling into your cruising life. Two years is a good time frame to really find a good boat, get it set up how you want it (which you won't know how you want it until you spend time sailing it) and build your skills. Hopping down to the Bahamas from GA is quite doable with a week or two of leave. The east coast up and down offers plenty of good sailing.

Cheers!
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