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KMackenzie 05-09-2012 04:41 PM

Sailing from Scratch!
I have learned SO much from this forum already, so thank you all! A few months ago after finishing a project I was sitting on the beach on Tybee Island watching the sea birds, the tide, and the big barges coming into Savannah. How exciting! I had just closed down my 3BR house and moved to a 100 year old grist mill in the woods by a covered bridge and on the shoals of a lovely creek where the blue heron fish. I love this place and it makes a great art studio, but it is not for me long term.

As I sat on the beach watching the waves roll to shore, I reflected on my life and the people who are no longer here - beloved parents, husband, pets and the successes and failures of my career and life so far. The only thing I knew for certain at that moment is that without children or close family that I am perhaps one of the most free individuals I know of and my future is mine to write. So, why be boring about it? I knew that I did not want to continue to drive past the same old places and RISK a never-changing view and outlook. I don't need much STUFF and it has become a hassle. Well, months have gone by and looking at all of the factors, considerations, and options I have decided to become a liveaboard cruiser. When and what in is to be determined. My only must-haves include a small refrigerator/freezer, a separate shower although I'm flexible, and lots of lovely wood in cabin.

I've been on boats, but I am not yet a sailor. I love to be in motion, to drive (OMG, I love to drive) and I love to fly, be on the water, and just travel. I was raised in Kansas - yep, I'm a corn-fed midwest girl who didn't see the ocean until my 20's. I have A LOT to learn and it will probably scare me to death, but what the heck! Cruising is for me with all of the ups and downs that go with it! LOL I'll have tons to learn including how to do mechanical things more than I do now and somehow that doesn't even bother me. So, here I am with all of the newbie dumb questions. My future plans are to fulfill my transition at the mill since I'm not done being here yet, relocate my job to the coast and get first hand sailing experience. But, first I will continue to read, read read, watch videos, and ask questions - I'm a researcher and this is what I do.

All I ask is that you take me seriously, even with my lack of experience. I will be out there just as soon as I can get it arranged ... the plan is in motion!

So here is my first dumb question: At this early stage I am considering either a fractional sloop (highly possible), a masthead sloop, or a cutter rigged boat from the 80's in the 28-34' range with a draft 5' or below. I want ocean capability as well as river/intercoastal waterway capability. I understand the rigging (jib, genoa, spinnaker, gennaker etc.), but then I see an ad for a boat that is a sloop with a cutter rig. So, are a sloop and cutter types of sailboats, types of rigging, both or what? lol I've been reading and then I look at sailing videos to see if I understand what I'm looking at ... the books are on order from Amazon!!

I'm excited to be here. Good sailing and fine weather to you all!

Faster 05-09-2012 05:07 PM

Re: Sailing from Scratch!
Sloops and cutters are often differentiated simply by the existence (or not) of double headsails.. however it's more about mast placement and rig dimensions.. in many cases what might be termed or labelled a cutter is in reality a double headed sloop.

In either case, if you're after that flexibility or 'look' or style, then don't sweat the definition. If you like the boat and it checks out OK... just go with it!

Good luck in your quest.

KMackenzie 05-09-2012 05:15 PM

Re: Sailing from Scratch!
Ahh .. I see. I'm beginning to understand this might not be as complicated as it first sounds. Do you consider one type more balanced than another?

kwaltersmi 05-09-2012 05:26 PM

Re: Sailing from Scratch!
Just to add a bit to Faster's really good reply...

The mast is often set further back (towards the stern) on a cutter as opposed to a sloop. While some sloops are rigged with twin headsails, a true cutter's second headsail is usually set/rigged inside of the foresail (jib, genoa, etc.) and is sometimes referred to as a staysail. As you can see, the definitions and variations can get mucky. But the best advice is:

Originally Posted by Faster (Post 869321)
In either case, if you're after that flexibility or 'look' or style, then don't sweat the definition. If you like the boat and it checks out OK... just go with it! 05-09-2012 06:16 PM

Re: Sailing from Scratch!
Good luck your journey, sounds great..I am on a similar path...I joined a yacht club before I had a boat.. crewed a little, learned alot and made great may want to try it...

KMackenzie 05-09-2012 06:22 PM

Re: Sailing from Scratch!
Good idea and thank you - will, but I need sailing lessons first. I'm afraid no one is going to want a 50+ crew member who doesn't know how to sail. I'm able-bodied and a good cook though! lol 05-09-2012 06:40 PM

Re: Sailing from Scratch!
We all thought all starts with making a friend... going for a sail...doing small sailing tasks when directed by the captin... then doing a few more.. help on just the easy things is welcomed... it all seems overwhelming at first but with help sailing is easy...and it if fun with fun people... don't over think it at first... get yourself on a sail boat any sail boat :-)

KMackenzie 05-09-2012 07:50 PM

Re: Sailing from Scratch!
Sounds like good advice. I'll check out the local lakes since I'm landlocked at the moment. 05-09-2012 08:52 PM

Re: Sailing from Scratch!
You should find a few around Lake Lanier..... worth a google... taking a coastguard course is a must and a good place to make connections.... you will find sailers are very helpful...

bljones 05-09-2012 08:59 PM

Re: Sailing from Scratch!

Originally Posted by KMackenzie (Post 869366)
Good idea and thank you - will, but I need sailing lessons first. I'm afraid no one is going to want a 50+ crew member...

Oh hell, why not? I'd rather have a 50+ enthusiastic greenhorn aboard than a sullen teenager who would rather be anywhere else.

Buy a boat- the rest will take care of itself.

I recommend reading Gillian OuterBridge's book "Going About"- the story of a woman of a certain age who decides to revise her life's second act, by going cruising on a small boat with a small dog.
If you feel like a road trip, come on up and join us on the Dock for a weekend or more- we'll get you out on a variety of boats and get you hooked.

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