Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-28-2019 Thread Starter
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Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

Thank you sincerely for your time and for reading this. I am 38 years old and have a dream of sailing (within 5-10 years) with my family (wife and two boys ages 4 and 6). I want to sail the Mediterranean, Caribbean, the world, stopping at small islands and ports and places I've never heard of, and do this for about 2 weeks every year. I want to skipper myself. But, I've never had any sailing course and I don't live (very) near the ocean. I am however starting to put my vision and dream into an achievable goal and for that I want to kindly ask you for advice.

* How do you recommend I start? What education is required and what is the best way to get it?
* Financially, buying a sailboat is not within my 5-10 year future, but renting one for 2 weeks a year very much could be. Is this a recommendable option? What brokers / websites do you recommend?
* What books should I read?
* What else should I have asked or should know?

I can't thank you sincerely enough for your valuable time. I hope you know I appreciate it and I hope to repay it back to others someday. I hope you have a great day.

Sincerely,

Jeff from Virginia
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-28-2019
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Re: Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

Sounds like your plan is good Jeff , why buy when you can rent .
learn how to sail here https://asa.com/learn-to-sail/
Good luck and keep us posted .

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post #3 of 14 Old 06-28-2019
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Re: Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

If you plan to charter boats and sail in different locations around the world, you will probably need to minimally get ASA certifications. In addition to that, another way to build skills is that you can also perhaps get to sail with people who own boats within driving distance of where you are. Depending on where you are located within Virginia you may be able to get some sailing time in with people on the Chesapeake, Potomac, or on some of the larger lakes near you.

Jeff


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post #4 of 14 Old 06-28-2019
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Re: Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

This can be done!

Begin by immersing yourself in media... books about sailing, how to sail, cruising, owning a boat... videos... subscribe to sailing magazines. If all this still excites you find some time to get to someplace to take some learn to sail courses... all along the ocean coast and many large lakes should have programs.

You need the "book knowledge" before the hands on experiences. Your research will reveal the size and type of boat that matches your sailing goals. As you become armed with some knowledge and perhaps some experience start looking for a boat to buy. Look at lots of them to get an up close and personal sense of what is out there an what feels right.

You may be able to take on water cruising classes... even in the Caribbean. This should give you confidence and some experience. Living away from the sea will make this a bit harder. I am not sure how you can do the hurdle to buy the boat and be confident to begin sailing it.

This will take quite some time as it's a big project... not less than 5 years could be more. Others have done it... so you can. But you will enjoy the learning curve... and know when you have enough knowledge and experience under your belt to go for it. Don't forget the budget. You'll need to figure out what it will / might cost... and begin to develop a financial plan.

One last thing... sailors are very smart, very competent and very prudent. Their wisdom informs their choices.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-28-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

I want to truly thank you for your time and responses. It means a lot to me. Actually interacting with people like you who have done it really helps my more than I can say so I hope you know I appreciate it.
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-28-2019
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Re: Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

Jeff,

You're asking the right questions. While I hesitate to claim expertice in any particular area, I'm in year number 5 of a very similar plan to yours; cold start to sailing away. At present I have about two years to earliest possible sail-away date (751 days, to be exact). So here are some thoughts in hindsight:

-Financial planning: @SanderO already touched on it. You've defined a goal, (I assume the wife is on board) now build a roadmap. Money will define the boat you ultimately buy, when, where, and what training you get, how long you can cruise and what you come back to, etc... Finances are every bit as important as learning seamanship.

-Training: Three aspects: 1) Self directed learning: Read and watch everything you can. Study where your interest takes you. My first book was Sailing for Dummies. 2) Formal training: To bareboat charter most places (that is charter a cruising boat without hiring a skipper) you will need to complete ASA 104 or the US Sailing equivelent. Sailing classes are extemely helpful but as many here will point out; the time the school devotes to the curriculum is inadequate which brings up the third aspect, Experience: Even the oldtimers here (especially the oldtimers) will tell you they learn something every time they go out. So go sailing every chance you get! Charter boat, friend's boat, your boat, skipper or crew... it doesn't matter, just get sailing. Start a log and record your sailing days and some notes about the experience. (I use a simple excel spreadsheet). Good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement.

-A boat: Boats are expensive, so is chartering. Chartering the costs are all up front. Owning, you get to experience "care and feeding." Buying a ready-to-sail boat is usually much less costly than buying a fixer-upper. However, nothing will teach you about boat systems like repairing boat systems. You need some experience to know what you want in a boat (performance characteristics and amenenities). Consider a small boat to learn the basics, then upgrade when the time is right.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-28-2019
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Re: Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

Many of us started out with the same dream. Sailing tugs at the soul, once its in your blood it is difficult to turn a blind eye to it.

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post #8 of 14 Old 06-28-2019
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Re: Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilCarlson View Post
Jeff,

-A boat: Boats are expensive, so is chartering. Chartering the costs are all up front. Owning, you get to experience "care and feeding." Buying a ready-to-sail boat is usually much less costly than buying a fixer-upper. However, nothing will teach you about boat systems like repairing boat systems. You need some experience to know what you want in a boat (performance characteristics and amenenities). Consider a small boat to learn the basics, then upgrade when the time is right.
This post is quite good. I differ on the boat. Perhaps a very small boat to learn sailing basics. But it's better not be spending, selling and buying a bigger and then selling and buying a bigger one. Experience wise this is fine... but it's a waste of money.

Your research will reveal what min size you need... what maximum size you can afford and handle. I would survey what others with similar families have done. For offshore cruising I suspect the absolute smallest would be mid to upper 30s. This is fine for a couple... maybe with a kid or even two. But you likely will be more comfortable in something over 40's.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-28-2019
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Re: Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jojobead View Post
Thank you sincerely for your time and for reading this. I am 38 years old and have a dream of sailing (within 5-10 years) with my family (wife and two boys ages 4 and 6). I want to sail the Mediterranean, Caribbean, the world, stopping at small islands and ports and places I've never heard of, and do this for about 2 weeks every year. I want to skipper myself. But, I've never had any sailing course and I don't live (very) near the ocean. I am however starting to put my vision and dream into an achievable goal and for that I want to kindly ask you for advice.

* How do you recommend I start? What education is required and what is the best way to get it?
* Financially, buying a sailboat is not within my 5-10 year future, but renting one for 2 weeks a year very much could be. Is this a recommendable option? What brokers / websites do you recommend?
* What books should I read?
* What else should I have asked or should know?
There are about a zillion and a half ways to do this.

I started with a 1 week cruise and learn that had a competent crew and day skipper course combined, but it was powerboat only. I followed that up with a navigation course (bookwork only) and a vhf course. The next year the charter place let me take out a powerboat on my own (on the recommendation of my instructor) for a week and we took another week long cruise and learn on a sailboat. After that is was mostly sailing charters, 1-2 weeks at a time until we bought our own boat. We did do one 2 week flotilla cruise ( sailing in a fleet with with a lead boat) to explore some more remote areas and a two week circumnavigation course around Vancouver Island that included some open ocean sailing.

The only thing I would have changed is getting my ICC certificate during one of the courses as more and more Med companies are looking for something like it.

I would also encourage you to try and extend some of your trips beyond 2 weeks to get more practice or, if you can't, try and avoid, at least at the start, making just a holiday of it and concentrate on doing lots of sailing and anchoring and avoiding just going from point A to point B and tying up every night in a marina to eat out or drink at the local pub. There will time enough for that later. The more you do, the faster you learn.

Gaudeamus igitur iuvenes dum sumus...
before it's too late
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-28-2019
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Re: Newbie needs EXPERT advice about how to get started.

JoJo wrote he doesn't live near the ocean. To get hands on experience with boats one needs to be where boats are... rivers, lakes and bays. This will become a barrier. The question is how far from a body of water where boats are found (sailboats) does the JoJo live?

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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