Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of Old 03-24-2012 Thread Starter
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Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

Hello, my name is Al, and I'm a 21 year old man from Northern British Columbia. I have moved to Vancouver to pursue a BA in Video Media Production and Music. My main pastime is hiking in the mountains up north during my time out of school. While I have always enjoyed being on water, in anything from a canoe on a lake, to riding in a friend's boat, either on river or ocean, I have never done anything with a sailboat.

After I finish my university education, I hope to have one grand excursion before settling down to a career, as I am sure I will never get another opportunity again to have such a long trip.

That said, I would like to sail around the world, if possible. I should be ready in about 5-6 years. Because of how little I currently know, I would like to begin collecting advice and build up a general plan that I can act on when I get closer to the date. I am starting to plan this early, so as to see if it is actually a viable idea, or a bad one, and to look into courses/experience/money-saving that I should not leave to the year of my trip.

My current question for now is, which forum section should I pursue this in?
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post #2 of Old 03-25-2012
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Re: Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

Great plan!

Lots of fantastic experience and knowledge on these forums; as you browse through the various topics you might start to build a picture of how you could proceed. Reading everything from Joshua Slocum to "Heavy Weather Sailing" to the "Annapolis Book of Seamanship" will either hook you or scare the &@&$ out of you....

Most importantly, GO SAILING.

Join a dinghy club or as take out a crew or social member at a yacht club. Search out "crew wanted" listings for club race nights. Take a sailing course or two...

Before you know it, your new sailing connections may start asking you join them as stand-in crew, or for day sailing excursions. Being willing to help out on boat repair projects and on launch day can earn you some major brownie points with many skippers; but even more important is enthusiasm and an openness to watch, listen and learn.

Funny, most Sailors love being around other people who are enthusiastic about sailing. With recreational sailing, skippers often see this as a more valuable attribute than sheer knowledge and experience.

If you love it, and make it part of your life experience, there is no End Goal...there is always more to learn and experience. Maybe one other suggestion as you look for various sailing mentors; be a little skeptical of those who might sound like they know it all, or have done it all. That goes double for situations where safety is a priority issue, eg. long-distance cruising or racing where mother nature (or Murphy's law) may hold more cards.
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post #3 of Old 03-25-2012
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Re: Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

Welcome. I can only offer two pieces of advice:
1) Have fun
2) Try not to kill yourself while doing it

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post #4 of Old 03-25-2012
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Re: Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

You've picked a great area to build up experience. You can experience a wide range of conditions here without having to travel very far.

You might consider checking out the Barnet Sailing Coop. A friend of mine is a member as has given it some good reviews.

Experience on a variety of boats is the most important thing. Aside from the Coop, look into local racing as it's possible to be a volunteer crew, and you will learn a lot and learn fast.

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post #5 of Old 03-27-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

Thanks for the ideas!

While I plan to take the appropriate courses and try to gain practical experience as time goes on, I am wondering if you guys have any suggestions for me.

While I know that by the time I get to actually shopping for a ship, there will be different models of ships sailing and etc., making it foolish to settle on one now with the intention of buying in 6 years, I would like to ask everyone which type you'd recommend. If I end up buying a ship, it won't be for racing I'm sure, but rather for cruising. I'd probably want to end up with a ship that was versatile, but most of all, relatively stable.

Also, I've been noticing as I look up different ships, there are some with a wheel for steering, and others with only a rudder shaft. Is the wheel a luxury item, or merely preference?

I am realizing that perhaps around the world won't happen, not because I can't make it happen, but because I do worry about various countries' political instability, as well as the (as I've heard) growing number of pirate visits. But that doesn't deter me from at enjoying the Pacific!

Last edited by Alsandair; 03-27-2012 at 11:46 PM.
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post #6 of Old 03-28-2012
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Re: Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

Pretty well all the sailing related forum sections here will be of use to you.. do yourself a favour and avoid off-topic!

It's very early days for you.. check into the various co-ops in the area, do a lot of dock walking and try to talk to people you see down there.. we're almost always ready for an eager beginner's questions.

Wheel vs tiller, Full keel vs fin keel, heavy vs light, sloop vs ketch, big vs small ....the debates are never ending - even (or esp.) among long time sailors. Your eventual budget will have a big effect on what you will be able to consider. In the meantime you can try to get enough experience to develop your own preferences.

There are various yacht clubs that hold casual racing programs, the Vancouver Rowing Club probably has the most relaxed program, but all clubs sponsor races of one type or another, and boats are often looking for crew - reliability and good attitude will be more important than experience in many cases.. and before you pull the 'I don't race' card, know that this way you might get experience on a number of different boats and sizes for little or no cost. You'll learn the mechanics of sailing very quickly and learning how to get the most out of the conditions under sail will only do you good when you're cruising.

This is a great area.. winter sailing/racing is challenging, and in summer there are few spots in the world better for scenic, sheltered waters. Fascinating inlets, a good park system, and the ability to offer everything from daysailing and short harbour hopping to treks outside Vancouver Island, to Haida Gwai, or Alaska and beyond.
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post #7 of Old 03-28-2012 Thread Starter
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Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

Thanks for the advice. I wouldn't want to cross forums.

It is not that I plan not to try racing, it's just that I believe u will prefer cruising. Anyways, like you say, I will have to develop that preference through experience.

Again, thanks to everyone who posted!
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post #8 of Old 03-28-2012
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Re: Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

Racing is a great way to train on account of it being very intense. You learn to make quick sail changes, use wind shifts and currents to best advantage (hopefully!) and a LOT of reacers are highly experienced. They're always looking for crews, so it's easy to get out for a midweek around the cans blast on a range of vessels, and who knws where it'll lead you? I'd not raced until a few years ago, having always cruised, but found it to be different and very useful for higlighting the gaps in your knowledge. Good for exploring outside your comfort zone. Not to be discounted. Good luck and have fun! I'll maybe see you around later in the year...
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Re: Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

Are any of you from Northern BC?
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post #10 of Old 03-28-2012
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Re: Hello from Canada. Looking to plan a long trip, any help would be appreciated.

Not many from Northern BC in Sailnet. Lots of Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, with sprinkling of Albertans (like me).

You might also take some lessons. There are lots of schools in Vancouver.

The coop idea is worth exploring.

Many race boats are looking for crew, especially those who can commit. Some crews ask for cost sharing which can be variable; others are free rides. You just need to show up with the right gear and some beer.

My start was on a race boat, I then shifted to cruising and have raced occasionally; including some of the bigger races on the coast. The racing experience was very valuable as a cruiser. It is like skiing the blue runs after the black runs.

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