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  #1  
Old 09-01-2011
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Permission to come aboard?

Hello everyone! I wanted to introduce myself as I'll be pestering many of you for information. I live in north Alabama right next to the Tennessee River. I grew up here and spent a lot of time on the water, but only to water ski and fish...never sailed. It always seemed inaccessible, for a variety of reasons.

Well, I'm older now and I realize that sailing is no longer quite as inaccessible as I once though. As I said, I've never sailed, so my fascination may seem unusual to someone who grew up sailing, but there is just something about it that is tugging hard at me. When we go to the beach, my wife and I like to drink coffee on our balcony and watch the sun rise. Seeing all those sails dotting the horizon makes me rotten with envy. We also really enjoy walking the docks when we are at the beach or at the local marinas, simply looking at boats. It's hard to articulate, but there's just something about it...I want to sail!

I'm thinking about my sailing future in phases. Phase 1 is educating myself and getting some experience on the water. I've read several books and have been lurking sailing message boards. I have a couple friends who have sailboats and they have both offered to take me out on the river. I also have another friend who may be looking to unload a small catamaran. I've also considered taking some of the ASA courses. Those provide several days on the water, plenty of information, and some sort of certification. Phase 2 would be procuring a boat and slip at the local marina. I'm thinking about a used 25'. Hunter, Catalina, and C&C are all very popular on this river. I figured a 25' is enough boat to accommodate me, the wife, and my three boys for daysailing, and then me and one or two others for overnighters. Phase 3, and much longer term, would be acquiring a larger boat (30'+) and coastal cruising in the Gulf of Mexico. I'd like cruise with my oldest son to Key West before he goes to college...within the next 7 years.

Anyway, that's my story. I hope to get some sailing experience on the river this fall, and then maybe head to the gulf for a couple ASA courses this spring. I welcome any wise counsel from you sailing veterans. Thanks!
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Old 09-01-2011
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Permission granted.

Welcome aboard.

That is a good plan.

JAck
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Old 09-01-2011
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Welcome aboard! Sounds pretty well thought out but from my somewhat limited experience Phase 1 is concurrent with all other phases and pretty much continious with sailing life.
Good luck, I wish you the best!
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Old 09-01-2011
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Welcome aboard AU! Do get out here on some of the boats friends have offered to take you on. Suggestion, wait on buying a boat until your sure of your needs.. 25 ft imo,is small for 5 people. Heck, even on my 30 ft. boat, 4 seems a crowd to me.
Years back I listened to the "buy smaller first" advice and wound up with a lovely hunter 23, I sold it in the first year! Way too small for my "needs"
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Old 09-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AUspiciousAU View Post
When we go to the beach, my wife and I like to drink coffee on our balcony and watch the sun rise. Seeing all those sails dotting the horizon makes me rotten with envy.
Wait until you're drinking your coffee sitting in your own cockpit watching the sun rise. Heaven.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AUspiciousAU View Post
It's hard to articulate, but there's just something about it...I want to sail!
Seemed pretty darn articulate to me.

One word of caution about your kids: Don't be upset if they don't share your dream.

When we bought a boat large enough to haul more than the two of us I was excited about getting my niece and nephew involved (we have no kids), imagined trips with their friends, etc. They both took a boating safety course and did well. My niece was all into charting and navigation. Then their teenaged lives interfered with my plans. In theory they love the idea of sailing and the few times they sailed with us, they had fun. They simply have other activities going on that interest them more.

A neighbor of ours spent years with his family (wife and four or five kids) sailing all over the Chesapeake in a 27 foot boat. When he was able to he moved up to a 36-footer to give his family more room and expand their cruising beyond the Bay. Once the kids reached aged 18, one by one they refused to step foot on another sailboat. Now he hopes that his grand kids are more open to sailing but in the meantime, he and his wife sail up and down the East coast.

You mentioned "your" sailing future. I like the plan, but if your wife shares and encourages your dream (and some don't), I hope that she participates in the sailing classes as well and learns how to operate the boat equally. If something should happen to either of you, the other should know how to get the boat back to a safe harbor (dock, anchorage, etc). And really, it can be fun to learn as a couple and interesting figuring out each others strengths. You each might surprise the other, no matter how long you've been together. It can also make the division of labor aboard the boat more natural.

Also, when you choose your boats, don't forget to consider her input if she will also spend time on them. Nothing worse than one partner blindly and enthusiastically making all the decisions and finding out the other is miserable.

Actually, I would encourage your wife to join the forum herself.

Good luck and welcome to sailing!
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Good points, all well made DR.
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Old 09-01-2011
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XXspiciousXX, your plan sounds great to me, but YOUR plan has to be YOUR plan (and of course your mate's). Great to get advice here, but the great thing about sailing and the sea is the xxtonomy you have, and the liberty to make every little thing about your life at/around the sea your own.

This site is a great place to learn. Another will be any forum you find that is made up of owners/salivators of the boat you decide to own. Long term owners of boats like the one you will eventually buy will have already solved most problems you will have with sails, rigging, engine, interior, leaks , autopilot, lighting, and so on, and will have discussed them at length at their forum.

Good luck. Sorry, but I can't bring myself to type that XX thing you have as part of your ID. Roll Tide!
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Old 09-02-2011
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Ya'll have a great time out there, you hear!

Ya'll - you all
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Old 09-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fryewe View Post
XXspiciousXX,
Good luck. Sorry, but I can't bring myself to type that XX thing you have as part of your ID. Roll Tide!
I was reading that, thinking, what's wrong with that guy's keyboard? Very apt-RTR!
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Old 09-02-2011
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Hi and welcome! Nice intro, BTW. One thing that's certain about your plans at this stage ... whatever you plan, it won't turn out exactly that way (but that's part of the fun.) Try to sail on as many different types of boats as you can before narrowing down anything to look at buying. Friends, courses, charters, you haven't had time yet to establish your style. Donna has given some good advice.
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