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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-09-2013 07:21 PM

"So no, you can't do it. It is dangerous, extremely difficult, and only for those with several decades of sailing experience. Stay home!"

'Love it!
Of course I'll do the opposite.

With similar background as yours, I just bought my first boat - a nearly new and totally awesome 42' steel schooner based in the Bahamas. I plan to spend my first two seasons living aboard for six months at a time, on moorings and on the hook more than at marinas, practicing and experiencing everything, learning to single-hand and maintain it. While it's safely stowed for this hurricane season I'll be taking the small diesel, radio, and emergency response classes, and spending many more hours on SailNet studying the logistics and techniques of cruising.

At 60, feeling that I've got little time to waste, I'll mitigate risk as best I can and enjoy this major thrill for all I can get out of it. 'Slowly and methodically, but I'm going to be out there doing it !!!
06-19-2013 08:05 AM
Re: Insane?

Originally Posted by rocdoc22 View Post
Am I nuts?
"If we weren't all crazy we'd go insane."

Sounds like a reasonable plan to me. Better than staying sane.
06-18-2013 11:36 AM
Re: Insane?

Originally Posted by tommays View Post
From owning a 29' boat and regularly racing on many others every time I step on say a J44 it is just FREAKING BIG and every aspect of big makes everything a much more physical task

A simple thing like taking off the sails before winter storage NOW requires a small army of friends as the 44' boats mainsail is both big and heavy

Your certainly looking at a size were things like electric winches and all the complexity that go with it become almost mandatory

The 29' was very much chosen on the workload I feel comfortable with in both repairs and sailing
Well at age 65 I single hand a 44 footer up and down the islands out here in the Eastern Caribbean and while I do have an electric anchor winch all sailing winches are manual and I have no problems.

I have a full batten mainsail made from heavy weight dacron and yes it is a pain to handle with the battens in. So I take them out.

I would not see 40 to 45 ft as being too large for you to learn on with one important caveat which is berthing in tight marinas. Any larger boat can not be 'muscled' around so you will need to learn the 'tricks of the trade' when using lines and cleats to slow stop or turn your boat. Also some dinks are to be expected. If you face a situation where you will be berthing in confined spaces often then a bow thruster is a good investment. They can be retrofitted to most boats.
06-17-2013 07:56 PM
Re: Insane?

BL is right.
the most damage I've done to the boat was the very first time I drove it. Mis-judged the inertia of 30,000 lbs and t-boned a piling with the bow pulpit. Still has a little kink in it... fitting eh?
06-17-2013 10:44 AM
Re: Insane?

Make like nike, and just do it.

In some ways, it is easier to learn to sail on a larger boat especially for those of us who are on the far side of 40 - more stable in chop, wider decks, bigger cockpits, are nice because, let's face it, we are wider and bigger and less agile then we used to be.

You've got a background in the fundamentals- the one reccommendation i can offer is to run reefed and furled in the short term- the sail area and the forces are much much greater than on a 33 and exponentially bigger than your 19, and things happen real hard, real fast when you have a ton of canvas up.
Docking is different on a big boat (I sail a 23 footer- anything over 30 feet qualifies as "big' IMO),- practice, practice, practice. a 43' boat means that it is not just over twice as long as your 19 is almost twice as wide, and easily 3 times as high- that's a lot of windage to get accustomed to, and the only way to get good at it is to do it. spend an afternoon repeatedly docking.
06-17-2013 10:33 AM
Re: Insane?


Fantastic post!! I was LMAO.
Thanks and I appreciate the post!
06-17-2013 08:42 AM
Re: Insane?

We went from a 26' power boat to a 42' sailboat. Took no lessons. Just jumped in and did it.

So far all we have done is cruised the Great Lakes, down the inland rivers to the gulf, down the west coast of Florida, around the keys, up the east coast to Cape Cod, back south to Florida, across the the Bahamas for the winter and now headed back up the east coast. Some ICW, some coastal overnight hops, East River of NYC, Gulf Stream, anchorages, moorings, marinas, 60+ locks, inlets, tides, currents, 40 knot winds, 12' seas.

No disasters, a few soft groundings, lots of fun.

So no, you can't do it. It is dangerous, extremely difficult and only for those with several decades of sailing experience. Stay home!
06-15-2013 03:13 PM
Re: Insane?

My first boat was a 16ft Tri-Sonic walk through runabout. My second boat was a 40ft River Queen steel houseboat. (I needed something to two the ski boat with)
06-15-2013 11:09 AM
Re: Insane?

Originally Posted by rocdoc22 View Post
Thank you all so much. Of course, I was looking for some validation and support on pulling the trigger and I am convinced it is very doable. More importantly, my wife is supportive and wants to move ahead.Downside, is I may have to wait until next year due to our crazy busy summer.

We have sailed last year on a Hunter 33, and both of us feel that we want more space. It was a nice boat, just not a good fit for us. We will be basing the boat in Rhode Island for access to our favorite summer locations, Block Island, Martha's and Nantucket.

Some of the comments received were enlightening, particularly how the sailing part was easy- but be prepared to be a mechanic, plumber etc. I appreciate all comments and critiques and look forward to moving ahead.

Thank you all!
It sounds like you're ready for that size boat and the sailing you have in mind. Sailing a bigger boat can be easier. Just be extra cautious of weather conditions.

Many boat owners have their yards do the bulk(or all) of their maintenance. Probably a good idea especially to start.

I think the most important are the people and their attitudes, first.
06-15-2013 10:49 AM
Re: Insane?

I aplogize that this was originally written for another purpose, and so it contains some items which may not apply directly to you. But this question comes up frequently, and the following was written as an answer to a similar inquiry to yours.

The dream of voyaging under sail can be a powerful one. There was a period when several times a month I would receive an email from someone who is considering doing just what you are proposing. I have watched literally dozens of folks go through this. Some are successful in getting 'out there', some discover that they really enjoy sailing and find that they really have no need to 'go out there’; some have discovered that the sailing life is just not for them, and others have not even gotten past the dreaming stage.

From what I have seen, the most successful (especially when children are involved) have been the ones who have been somewhat systematic about going. There is a lot to learn before one can safely venture offshore. No one would assume that they could buy a jet airliner take a few lessons and be able to fly around the world. I think most rational people would expect to start with a small plane and work their way up. But for some reason people assume that they can just go out and buy a big boat, take a couple lessons, may be sail a little with a professional skipper, read a few books, and then go safely cruising.

While there are people who literally taken a few lessons, read a few books and went out cruising, those that were successful going that route are far more rare than those who have done some kind of apprenticeship. Learning to sail and learning to cruise involves a lot of knowledge and no matter how much you know, there will always be more to learn, but I suggest that you at least take the time to learn the basics and beyond, and that just about can’t happen if you buy ‘a big sailboat’ as your first boat and move aboard.

I find myself saying this a lot lately but here I go again. We all come to sailing with our own specific needs, our own specific goals and our own specific capabilities. The neat thing about sailing is that we all don’t have to agree that there is only one right way to go sailing. There is no more truth in expecting that there is one universally right answer about many aspects of sailing than there is in trying to prove that vanilla ice cream is universally better than strawberry ice cream. One area of sailing for which there is no one universally right answer involves the amount of knowledge one needs to go sailing.

For some, all they need or want to know about sailing is just enough knowledge to safely leave the slip sail where they want and get back safely. There is nothing inherently wrong with that approach. But for others, like myself, there is much more to sailing than simply developing a rudimentary knowledge of sailing basics. If you fall into that camp, it is next to impossible to learn to sail really well on a boat as large as the one in question.

While I am in no way suggesting that this makes sense for everyone, for those who really want to learn to sail well, I strongly suggest that they start out owning a used 23 to 27 foot, responsive, light-weight, tiller steered, fin keel/spade rudder (ideally fractionally rigged) sloop (or if they are athletically inclined then a dinghy.) Boats like these provide the kind of feedback that is so necessary to teach a newcomer how to really sail well. Boats like these have small enough loads on lines and the helm that you and your children can all participate and learn together. Being able to learn and participate, the children will be more engaged and less likely to be bored and feel kidnapped.

By sailing well, I mean understanding the nuances of boat handling and sail trim in a way that cannot be learned on a larger boat. Used small boats generally hold their values quite well so that after a year or even few years or so of learning, you should be able to get most of your money out of the small boat and move on to a bigger boat actually knowing something about which specific desirable characteristics of a boat appeal to you as an experienced sailor rather than the preferences of some stranger on some Internet discussion group.

From the advice that you have already gotten you can tell that there will not be a consensus of opinion on how to go distance cruising. With all due respect to the well-meaning advice, in my opinion it is that some of it is exactly the wrong advice for what you are proposing to do. It is nearly impossible to learn to sail on a big boat, and without highly developed sailing skills, a boat that large is pretty dangerous offshore.

In any event, if I were in your shoes, I would sit down and put together a list of all of the things that I would want to know before I set off voyaging such as:
• Boat handling,
• Boat husbandry, repair and maintenance
• Diesel maintenance and repair
• First aid
• Financial management from offshore
• Home education methods
• Heavy weather tactics
• Legal restrictions on leaving and entering foreign countries
• Navigation, (Celestial, dead reckoning and electronic)
• Provisioning
• Radio operators license exam requirements
• Safe and dangerous fish
• Sail trim
• Survival skills
• Etc………..

Once I had what I thought was a complete list, I would set up a schedule to try to develop those areas of skill that I was currently lacking. As much as possible I would try to involve all those involved in as many of those aspects as each is capable of understanding. This process could take as little as a year, but more often takes two to three years. The process itself can be very rewarding and can build the kind of family bonds that are required to be cast away on that oh so small island that a boat underway represents.

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