Owner, Green Bay Packers
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SW Michigan
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I'd get the chart catalog and the pilot charts/sailing directions for the areas you wish to visit and transit. While you're learning how to navigate and use your compass you can pour over these to not only dream but learn. Navigation skills are very important, especially given that you're going to be on a boat doing, say, 6 knots and sailing across a current doing, say, 6 knots northwards!
I'd start with learning about piloting, otherwise known as the method and art of coastal navigation. While you can get lost offshore, and even have a collision, most of the things that will just ruin your whole day occur in sight of land or running into land, so to speak. You could do much worse than Leonard Eyges, The Practical Pilot: coastal navigation by eye, intuition and common sense
You'll also want to become vary familiar with your compass, it's errors, and how to use it when plotting a course to steer.
None of this is rocket science but takes a commitment of time and practice. Mark up a few charts!
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.