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post #1 of 8 Old 10-25-2008 Thread Starter
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stepping up, stepping back in. If you had the options...

first off, what a great site. You are all so helpful and so friendly, I've spent the last few mornings digging through these forums. Now it's time to get specific...

I'm currently sitting in a beautiful port town on the island of Cres in Croatia. I'm 23, a chicago native and backpacking Europe for a few months. Walking around the marina here has reignited my love of the water from my childhood. I've always thought about sailing again, but I'm now set on it when I head back to the states. As a teenager, I sailed small 16 foot jobs on a inland lake (about 1000 acres and great for sailing)

I was quite good then, but that was years ago, and not at the level many of you are at. I'm thinking of buying a basic boat (25' or so, doesn't need to be fancy) when I get back, living on it (I've had apartments in Chicago that are smaller), and maybe taking lessons/daytrips to learn the ropes (no pun intended).

Since Chicago winters aren't friendly to this, I sold all my possesions before I left, and I have family in San Diego, the world is my oyster. Is this doable anywhere? Or would some ports be more friendly for a new(is) sailor? My understanding is the pacific coast isn't always the friendliest, but it does have the best weather!

I guess my question is this- if you were in my position- if you knew you wanted to sail, had nothing tying down but wanted to learn as much as you could with a little adventure and not a ton of money- what path would you take? Classes? Long term crew? Live aboard and learn when you can? East coast, west coast? Think big picture, the details are easy to research! You all have so much experience, I'd love to hear the stories of how you started and how you'd do it over!

Sorry if this is a little disjointed. I'm pretty jazzed at the possibilities and staring at some gorgeous boats tied up under the sun just a few feet away as I type on my mobile phone. I miss the water like normal people miss...food? Women? What do normal people miss?

Cheers! Can't wait to hear the replies!

I sleep on water like a baby and learn quickly.
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-25-2008
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Motis

Define what "not a ton of money" is?
Also, what skills do you have??? Can you repair what needs repairing on a boat—electrical, plumbing, fiberglass, carpentry, mechanical, etc.?

You can buy a solid little bluewater boat, like some of the ones on James Baldwin's list, for relatively little money. Get one and liveaboard it, while working and daysailing/coastal cruising for a couple of years to build up your sailing skills and experience. Here's an example of a well-equipped Alberg 30.

It would be ideal if you could get a job working at a marina or yacht club, where you could also liveaboard the boat. That would probably give you a good chance at crewing for more experienced sailors and possibly reduce the costs of living aboard your boat. One couple I know has a 38' boat and they live on it while working at a sailing school. Neither teaches, and they've both learned a lot, since they can often "audit" the classes for free.

After you've gotten yourself some experience sailing in nastier weather and learned to navigate and such... and learned the systems on your boat and how to fix what breaks... head out and go cruising for a couple of years...

I'd go with the east coast, rather than the west coast. The southern Chesapeake and parts south are not too bad in the winter time. The coast is friendlier and there are more places to sail to that are still in relatively protected waters while you're gaining experience, unlike most of the Pacific coast of the US.

Then, when you're ready to go, you can drop down to the Caribbean, and test your skills on short open water passages...and then, if you think you are interested, try crossing the Atlantic, or crossing to the Panama canal and going to the Pacific.

While you're learning, I'd highly recommend taking the ASA 101, 103, 104, 105, 106 courses or their equivalents. They'll get you a lot of knowledge in a relatively short period of time. However, without a boat and the ability to practice what they teach, it is less than useful. Also, I'd highly recommend Dave Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor, while you're getting your sea legs back under you.

Welcome to sailnet... I'd also recommend you read the POST in my signature to help you get the most out of your time here.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 10-25-2008 at 07:48 AM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-25-2008 Thread Starter
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Sailing dog,

Thanks for the advice! I'm thinking you don't sleep much with reply times like that!

I figure not too much money is around or below 10k. Saving for the trip Im on was easy with a goal in mind. A few months of tireless work does the trick. I'm a simple man . I'm definitly going to look up some of your suggestions when I get a real computer in front of me. I'm relatively handy in carpentry and minor electric, I'll have to think about brushing up.

I'm definitly going to find the book you recommend and look for some sailing resources related to what I'm thinking about. Maybe some classes while I'm in the mediteranean? We'll see!

Cheers!
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-25-2008
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Since you are standing on a dock and looking at some beautiful boats. Why not strike up some conversation and see if you can go out with someone. You do have some experience sailing even tho it was when you were a teenager. Which was not that many years ago for you.

You are in a place a lot of us would love to be.

Fair winds
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-25-2008
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What Lostmt said. Start right now where you are standing. From what I understand there is some fantastic sailing there.


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post #6 of 8 Old 10-25-2008
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SD
Two thumbs up for your reply to Motis. Nice (friendly) job.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-25-2008
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Having a relatively intelligent Opening post helps with that...
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Originally Posted by FarCry View Post
SD
Two thumbs up for your reply to Motis. Nice (friendly) job.

Sailingdog

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #8 of 8 Old 10-27-2008
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I gotta agree with both SD- and henuki- . Start now. None of the options you mentioned have to be done independently of the others. If you can buy a boat, live aboard, crew for others, and take a class or two as you can afford them. Not sure of your profession, but if you're flexible I would be looking for a job at a marina or worst case even at a WM for the discounts and access to parts.

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