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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks!

I'm looking to venture into the world of sailing! My end goal is to sail around the world, but starting on lakes and rivers seems like the thing to do. I've done a bit of research to familiarize myself with all the terms and basic techniques, but I'm lacking hands on experience.

I've been looking at Glen-L plans online, mainly small dinghies as a trainer to learn the basics of building and sailing. I figured building one of those would be a nice starter project to get some building experience and see how much I enjoy it. Afterwards I imagine I'd look into building a larger craft, with the smallest suitable design being the "James Cook" 27'. I chose this design because it's the smallest craft I could see myself living and traveling on that I can build at home. I should also be able to theoretically sail it from the Kentucky River down to the Caribbean, and from there anywhere.

Of course, if I found that constructing a boat was beyond my abilities or I didn't have enough time to work on it I could always buy a similar boat instead. I've seen decent ones around the same size starting around $5K, so that wouldn't hurt the bank too bad.

If anyone has advice, suggestions or other helpful information I would be more than welcome to hear it! :) Thank you all very much for your time.

(PS, I was going to add links to the Glen-L site but I can't until I've made 10 posts. Oh well, a Google search takes 5 seconds if you want to look it up.)
 

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Good luck with your dream!

If building a boat means a lot to you then by all means go for it. If the dream is more sailing related I would strongly recommend skipping that step. Small boats are very affordable. I own a 22' swing keel trailer sailor, and I am pretty close to dirt poor. I could not have built half the boat I have for the same money, and that is just counting materials not time. It will also take lots of time to build a proper boat. Either way, have fun pursuing what you want. I've had a blast learning to sail in the last year and a half, amd am enjoying making all sorts of crazy plans for the future.
 

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seriously.... Get some time on a tiller or maybe take ASA 101 and see how things go. The most affordable way after that is to purchase a Catalina 22 or Oday 22 and get some experience, plus it's an easy boat to trailer....
 

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Welcome aboard.

I also offer the suggestion that you get out there and take some sailing lessons to determine your real level of interest.

You've set forth the mother load of ambition by having a circumnavigation on a boat you built as your goal. For almost everyone, that would be unrealistic. Unnecessary even. I've known lifetime sailors, good ones, that have never left the New England coast and they're jonesing to get back out there right now.

Great to have a dream, I'm not talking you out of it. But take it one step at a time and you may find other paths that are as fulfilling along the way. No point becoming disillusioned by not climbing Everest, when you've lived a life atop some of the most beautiful peaks on earth.

For what it's worth, it's very rare to find someone who has a passion for boat building and hard core sailing together. Many that spend years building their vessel, never sail it very far. Some not at all. The dream and buzz of building are not replicated offshore. Vice versa for those with an affinity to sail.

Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mebbie you should try real sailing at least once before you build/buy a boat...
Well I've been on various boats before, including sailboats. But I was just a passenger, not part of the crew or anything.

My "try real sailing" was going to be building/buying a sailing dinghy. Unless of course by "real sailing" you mean on a sizable boat for several days at a time. If that's the case, I don't really know anyone in Kentucky who sails.. Hahaha but maybe I could look into it and figure something out. Thanks for the reply!
 

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Of course, if I found that constructing a boat was beyond my abilities or I didn't have enough time to work on it I could always buy a similar boat instead. I've seen decent ones around the same size starting around $5K, so that wouldn't hurt the bank too bad.
Yes, there are some decent $5k boats out there that can be had for sailing not too far from shore. But a $5k boat for sailing around the world....hope your life insurance is paid up. When you really start looking into boats, you will find that boats built for blue water (middle of the ocean) sailing, come with a much higher price tag and there are reasons for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lessons and licensing would be a very good beginning point, thanks for reminding me about that. :p I've done a tidbit of research into it but not a whole lot. I live in Kentucky so opportunities there are a little lacking, but I'm sure someone around here does it.

I do realize that building a boat is more than quite a bit of work, but I figured if it was done in spare time over a good amount of time (5-10 years at the most, perhaps?) then it wouldn't be too taxing on me, and I could hopefully save up more funds in the meantime for any journeys taken. With that said though, I do think I lean more towards just buying one. It's easier and faster, but like I said before I want to start small and see how difficult it is for me. It would be nice to be able to point at something and say "I built that." It would be even greater to point and say "I built that AND I sailed it around the world"! Haha! :)

I think before I do any crazy circumnavigation though, I'd like to do that "great American loop" around the Eastern US. To clarify! I don't intended on just up and buying a boat after I get all the proper training / qualifications out of the way and sailing some ridiculous distance. I'd practice on some lakes around here. Stay in the boat for a few days, maybe a couple weeks just to see if I'm not biting off more than I can chew.

Thank you all for your responses! They're much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, there are some decent $5k boats out there that can be had for sailing not too far from shore. But a $5k boat for sailing around the world....hope your life insurance is paid up. When you really start looking into boats, you will find that boats built for blue water (middle of the ocean) sailing, come with a much higher price tag and there are reasons for it.
I've heard of people making similar journeys in even smaller craft. I was also looking at more of a coastal route because of that exact reason... Is that feasible? Up the west coast to Alaska and from there Russia and Japan? Or is it not quite that simple?
 

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Your plan sounds great! Learning on small dinghy's is the best way to learn, as bigger boats are more forgiving (booms above head height and you are unlikely to capsize a larger boat).

If you love building, go for the build. However, most people who build do it because they are very passionate about building boats and never sail that much. If you want to sail, buy something affordable at prepare to put in at least what you paid for the boat in repairs.
 

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I have dealt with Glen-L , they are good people and their plans are excellent . Building one of their sailing dingys should be a blast . And like you say get some real building experience. Here is a thought build one of their rowing dingys . Then take it to a marina, row it around and you will see a lot of cruising boats . That will help you decide what boat to get and I'm sure you will see some for sale . And when you get the big boat you will already have your tender.
 

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I guarantee if you build a boat without sailing experience if you finish it and learn to sail it
You’ll wish you had done a lot of things different.
 

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I've heard of people making similar journeys in even smaller craft. I was also looking at more of a coastal route because of that exact reason... Is that feasible? Up the west coast to Alaska and from there Russia and Japan? Or is it not quite that simple?
While size does matter, yes, people have sailed across the oceans in even smaller boats. The point I'm making, blue water boats are different from coastal crusiers in many ways from a design and build standpoint more so than a size standpoint.

I have a 34' Catalina. It was designed to be a coastal cruiser and yes, you can island hop all over the Carribean since you are never far from land. It was not built to cross oceans. I'm sure someone has, but it was not built for that purpose.
 

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I have dealt with Glen-L , they are good people and their plans are excellent . Building one of their sailing dingys should be a blast . And like you say get some real building experience. Here is a thought build one of their rowing dingys . Then take it to a marina, row it around and you will see a lot of cruising boats . That will help you decide what boat to get and I'm sure you will see some for sale . And when you get the big boat you will already have your tender.
I've got a good buddy who built a couple of Glen L boats back when we were kids in the late 60's. He built a 12' skiff and later, a 15' inboard runabout. They were good, solid boats, but I almost got myself killed in the runabout one day.
I even bought plans back then for a Sunfish style sailboat, but never got around to building it.
 

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If you want to build a boat, build a boat.

If you want to sail, buy a boat. Much cheaper than building one.

(Some people do both - my previous boat (my avatar pic) was built from a surplus lifeboat in the 50s. The PO sailed it during the short Ontario summers, then worked on the "big boat" in a shed behind his house in the winters - a 34' steel ketch. Sadly he passed on with the project just needing final fitting out, but he never missed a season on the little boat over half a century!)
 

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A note on building;
People build boats allot... doesn't mean they know how to use them. This is very true for those that build kayaks or canoes. building a sailing craft.. not so much.. It's easy to sail.. no mystery or secret. just get out there on a nice day and "have at it"!

Modern boat building in "stitch and glue" plywood" can beget you a vessel in a few weekends. Depending! On what kind/size boat you want to build? It is NOT cheaper to build a boat then buy one.

Pardon me for saying.. but your ideas are all over the place!

learning to sail, landlocked, building, taking lessons, expeditions, survival, international sailing in a cork, with a tin cup, fishing line, roll of duct tape, and wool blanket and a compass... no.. you aren't quite ready. which I say based on many many years of loving such activities myself. You may want, to do some survival type classes while you are at it.
 

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I think before I do any crazy circumnavigation though, I'd like to do that "great American loop" around the Eastern US.

Thank you all for your responses! They're much appreciated!
I have some friends who have done the loop and enjoyed doing it.
That being said, a sailboat really isn't the best boat for the loop as you will probably be motoring a lot more than sailing. If you do it in a sailboat, I would suggest one with a shallow or swing keel to get you thru a lot of skinny water along the way, and a good, dependable inboard diesel engine for all the motoring you will be doing.
 

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Whatever you do, don't build a boat to take you seriously sailing for the first time. That's nuts.

Find a cheap boat and go sail the hell out of it. Trade up to a bigger better boat and do it again. Then, after you've sailed for a good long time and know much, much more about sailing and sailboats (e.g. - after your circumnavigation) - you'll have a better idea of what kind of boat you'd want to build and the experience to know if it's worth it.

IMUSO - newbs who get suckered into building a boat before they've got much sailing experience rarely end up happy at the end of a seriously long, expensive, and frustrating process.

Just go sail and have fun. It's easy.
 
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