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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Minimum Skills to Bootstrap into Cruising
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Thread: Minimum Skills to Bootstrap into Cruising Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-05-2010 11:21 AM
IntrepidManiac
Quote:
Originally Posted by eryka View Post
unless you're incredibly stupid or incredibly unlucky, mistakes may be inconvenient, embarassing, or expensive, but they're not likely to kill you.
Heh... I just have to let you know that my first charter in NC I had a keel unexpectedly fall off of a 24' C&C while I was in the middle of 30 foot water.... Fortunately we got the boat back the 2 mi to port before it sank (in the slip).

So I guess I may be incredibly unlucky, and I still want to keep sailing, so that may say something about my intelligence as well...
04-05-2010 08:29 AM
eryka Like Smacky, we started with a 27-footer that was sailable but needed work when we got her. We made every mistake in the book, and then wrote some new chapters. For what you're planning; buy the boat. 27 is a neat size; big enough to have systems, but small enough that in a pinch you can muscle it about by hand. Find a good working marina (i.e., one that also provides marine services, not just a shiny resort-like place to visit). Leave work every Friday at 5:01 PM (in season) and drive directly to the boat. Sail, putter, chat with your neighbors, cook, sleep aboard, etc till Sunday evening. That's one way you can learn. Because: in North Carolina & the ICW, unless you're incredibly stupid or incredibly unlucky, mistakes may be inconvenient, embarassing, or expensive, but they're not likely to kill you. Join BoatUS and get a towing policy; continue to read, take classes, and soak up knowledge ... and have fun. It would be great to see the next generation get involved with this sport.
04-03-2010 06:45 PM
IntrepidManiac
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
Where will you be cruising and will you be staying for long periods in a marina or moving on from anchorage to anchorage.
My end, long term goal (the dream) is to circumnavigate and see the world. That will probably involve long stays at certain places while I work and save money for more cruising. I want to live life as stripped down and simply as I possibly can.

In the short term I hope to be sailing off the coast of NC, probably up and down the ICW, but hopefully some passages down to Florida, the Bahamas, and maybe Bermuda.
04-03-2010 06:41 PM
johnnyandjebus
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntrepidManiac View Post
Would it be worthwhile to do something like trade in my spiffy Toyota for some beat up old car you can fix with a wrench, spare wires and chewing gum?
Yes, once you have learned wrenching skills it will take you along on the water and off. Plus, once you realize that doing a simple brake job on your car is cheap and easy you will start to ask yourself why would I pay someone to do something I can learn to do myself.

John

p.s I have never sailed a boat across an ocean, my reply should be read with this in mind.
04-03-2010 04:08 PM
TQA Where will you be cruising and will you be staying for long periods in a marina or moving on from anchorage to achorage.

Sailing is mostly common sense and repairing / maintaining a boat is not that difficult but there is a big difference between replacing the impellor in your raw water pump of Cape Hatteras v doing the same job in the Chesapeake.
04-03-2010 01:53 PM
Architeuthis Yeah moving out might be a good thing. You could land hard leaving the nest but I'll bet you'll bounce just fine.

The advantage of leaving the nest is you will be way out of your comfort zone and that will help with one of the most important skills you'll use.

You "need" very little to get into sailing, not having the option of getting anything but the minimum will teach you that.

I'd also say to start with a larger boat 27' sounds good but not so large it does not have a trailer. A trailer quickly pays for itself as you can store it in different/cheaper locations and move it to places to work on it. You should do everything yourself, or almost everything.


I don't know what your skill level is but I did have one trainee reporting to me that had no hands on skills. I gave him several work orders to build basic skills like drill and tap holes in metals, then record breaking torque of the various size machine screws and bolts up to 1/2". Of course I then spent most of the day going over the details needed for him to actually do that, like "....put back the 1/2" grade 8 bolt and use a grade 3..." which lead to a 3 hour tour of the bolt bins to explain all the differences. You don't think there is much to a bolt bin until you have to explain it to someone.

If you do your own work you will learn all about stripping rusty old bolts and overheating cheap tools. Maybe contact the local trade college and see about attending some of the hand tools classes. They may also call it Labor training or something. Those classes should cover the basics of tools and fasteners. That way when you put the hacksaw blade in backwards you'll know it first stroke and not figure it out after burning through a piece of work.

A pet peeve of mine is the lack of knowledge in the boat repair biz about different threads, in particular pipe threads. Try to get a class that covers pipe related info. Most boats are depending on these threads and connections to stay afloat so it is good to have a basic idea of how a pipe or tapered thread is handled differently than a straight thread.

Now that I think about it that's what I would suggest. Taking classes in college. Not for any particular trade, unless you have an interest, but to get a leg up on those who have learned along the way. They may have years more experience but many have never attended a class so are not doing things properly (ok even those who have attended class are not doing things properly but at least we often know we are not doing them properly).

If you could get into the first year of Carpentry and Automotive, or just some of the classes you will get a great headstart. Call and find out costs and programs. I have sat in on many classes I never paid for so that might be an option. I never got in for free on any practical classes which you would want to do.

Who knows could help out in lots of other things as well.
04-03-2010 01:24 PM
wind_magic Intrepid,

I think the most important skills you can work on now are taking care of yourself the same way you would on a boat. That means limiting water and electricity usage, learning to cook using ingredients you will have on a boat, heating and cooling without electricity, etc.

Taken to the extreme, if you had been a self-sufficient nomad living in a yurt on the Asian steppe, transitioning over to a boat would be little more than a change of location, because it is the convenience and creature comfort that modern civilization provides that people have the most trouble giving up.
04-03-2010 12:28 PM
smackdaddy I agree with Eryka (especially because she's actually out doing what you want to do) - get the bigger boat, making sure to have a quality survey done before you buy.

My first boat ever is a C27. It was sail-able when I got into it, but it needed TONS of work. It's been great learning to sail it WHILE working on everything that needed fixing (plumbing, electrical, cushions, motor, you name it). And 27' is not a big deal in terms of "big boat". You get used to it real fast.

It takes money to pay slip fees and repair/upgrade stuff, but the return is awesome. You're learning everything on your own boat. That way you'll know exactly when you and it are ready to push off for the horizon.
04-03-2010 12:15 PM
Michael K "Would it be worthwhile to do something like trade in my spiffy Toyota for some beat up old car you can fix with a wrench, spare wires and chewing gum? Are there other such near-to-home projects I could take up that would be easily transferable to cruising life and forcing me to be more self sufficient? I guess the trailer sailor makes the most sense. I don't know why, for some reason, I feel hesitation about that... none of those boats really speak to me, and the ones that do would be too heavy for lake sailing."

I wouldn't trade cars. The time you spend on a clunker isn't going to add to your knowledge base for cruising. But here is a project that is directly relevant: build a dinghy. Plans are plentiful, some are even free, the process of building will teach you much (about fiberglass, epoxy resin, discipline and determination). And, of course, in the end you'll have an item that you can take cruising.
04-03-2010 11:54 AM
IntrepidManiac Thanks for the replies so far guys, keep them coming, I am writing down books to get from the Library!

I think (I hope) I have enough common sense to pull this off. I guess in the end there is only one TRUE way to find out

Being of my generation I realize I focus a lot on skills like how to use and fix a computer, and not much on more practical "hands on skills". I want to turn that around.

Would it be worthwhile to do something like trade in my spiffy Toyota for some beat up old car you can fix with a wrench, spare wires and chewing gum? Are there other such near-to-home projects I could take up that would be easily transferable to cruising life and forcing me to be more self sufficient? I guess the trailer sailor makes the most sense. I don't know why, for some reason, I feel hesitation about that... none of those boats really speak to me, and the ones that do would be too heavy for lake sailing.

(un)fortunately I am cutting cots by living with family. This is amazing for saving up my Sailing Kitty, but not so good for self sufficiency and scaling back on material things. Even if I don't buy stuff all the modern conveniences are right at hand.

I can't think of good ways that get me substantially out of my modern comfort zone without incurring a lot of extra monetary cost. But damn if I'm not gonna try.
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