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Old 06-20-2011
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New guy in Florida looking for some advice.

Hello.

I wanted to stop and introduce myself on here. I'm 26 years old, and lived in Florida all my life. Ever since I was a kid growing up, I've always wanted to learn how to sail, and even own a sailboat and live on it. My dad built boats growing up, and he always had a love for the water. I suppose it was born into me. I grew up on small fishing boats, around the water here in Northeast Florida. I've long daydreamed of relaxing on a sailboat, working on sailboats (or any boat), working hard, playing hard, enjoying a lifestyle on and near the water.

But most of us aren't raised that way. At 18 I had a car loan, student loans, credit cards, and all of the other niceties that come with life on land. We are taught to go to college, (be a doctor! a lawyer!) to work for something bigger, to buy a house, a big tv, and raise a family.

Luckily, I think I stopped myself before becoming too grounded. I live month to month, I don't own a house, or have kids. I eliminated most of my unnecessary items such as the big tv, and house full of furniture.* I got rid of most of my debt other than my student loans, insurance, and minimal car payment. I am just simply happy on the water. Me and my girlfriend went on a casino cruiser yesterday and started talking about just how happy I was to be on the water. I've talked to her a lot in the past about wanting this lifestyle, and how I wanted to one day be able to sail around the world. Being the businesswoman she is she said to set a date, and have a plan. Well, not knowing how to sail, or anything about the lifestyle, it's easier said than done.

Anyway, getting off track. After running around college for a while I finally finished my A.A. degree. I also obtained an EMT-B license and I truly loved doing that. But the desire for the water hasn't left. In February of this year my dad passed away. He left a half-built 16' wooden canoe that I have been finishing up. I have woodworking skills - granted not as much as my dad did, but enough to hold my own. He was a carpenter by trade.

I scour craigslist often looking for odd opportunities working at marinas, or for anyone who could take me under their wing, but I have not had any luck yet. My girlfriend suggested a timeline. A goal of say, circumnavigating in 5 years time. Leaving on a specific date (such as 31st birthday). Whether that is obtainable or not, I don't know. I suppose that prompted me to realize that I have to get the ball rolling and learn. I do feel as though I don't want to give up my EMT/Paramedic pursuits, but I am thinking maybe I don't have to. Maybe I can learn to sail, work on boats (even if it's just on weekends), live on a boat... And in due time maybe I could actually obtain a goal such as that. Like most people now a days, I live paycheck to paycheck. I'm not rich and I don't own a boat other than a kayak and the 16' work in progress.

I need to find one of a number of people. Someone who could use the assistance at a marina, or boatbuilding (another skill I would love to have in this lifetime), or as a bottom of the barrel whipping boy on a boat. Any kind of boat. Just to learn, gain experience, and hopefully get on the track towards a goal that I have had my entire life. Me and my dad had always talked of building a sailboat together (wooden, of course) but this never happened. He passed away in a car accident in February of this year as I mentioned above. It made me realize, life is short, I need to attain what I can in this life, and most importantly, I need to be happy. And the water makes me happy.

I guess I am on here looking for advice. Wondering which direction to take. Looking for people with similar interests, or even people in Northeast Florida with the time and space to help teach, in return for any odd jobs I can do. Boat builders who need help, sailors who need a hand, or anyone else who feels the same sentiment that I do (which I am assuming is most of this board) in exchange for any kind of knowledge or experience I can get.

Thanks in advance and I am sorry this was such a long-winded first post.
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Old 06-20-2011
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Good for you. You seem more realistic than the usual "I want to sail around the world" poster. Contrary to your girlfriend I don't recommend a hard date or timeline. For me they lead to frustration. So far you have a good direction toward your goal. Learn to sail and cruise like you did everything else: study and practice. There are many great books on sailing, go to the library. Also I suggest you start small. A used dinghy can be cheap and will provide a good sailing education. For sure to own an ocean cruiser you will need to earn more than living paycheck to paycheck. But there are those who cruise small and cheap. Also try to meet sailors and crew for them. Put posts on forums and bulletin boards offering to crew. Be available and helpful.
You can make this dream come true if you proceed toward your goal with dedication and persistence.
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