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Hey everyone!

I'm interested getting started in sailing and cruising, but I'm not sure how to get from beginner to ocean passage level competence. I took the ASA 101 class, and I'm signed up for the 103/104 and intend to keep going with the rest of the classes on offer. But where do I go from there?

I'm an avid learner and over the years I've tried all sorts of stuff - flying, diving, languages, etc. One thing that I've found is the classes really only get you in the door to the point where you're inexperienced but theoretically know what you're doing. AKA the danger zone. There's an experience gap where I've found what you really need is to practice with someone who is 'master level', but not necessarily as a formal student/teacher relationship.

The tricky thing here is that I'm 30, single, semi-retired, and all my friends are into the whole 'career' thing. I'm also not really from an area where there is a strong nautical culture (midwest) I have the funds to buy a boat, and support myself in the cruising lifestyle indefinitely. I don't want to get in over my head by just buying a boat and heading solo into the deep blue beyond. I'm open to things like single handed cruising, but again the experience issue seems like it would be even worse there.

Does anyone have suggestions for what to do after completing all the classes in order to be a competent, capable sailor who can traverse the oceans of the globe safely and enjoyably? Obviously not gonna be a weekend project but I'm unsure as to what the next step is after classes.

I do have one idea, but I'm not sure if its reasonable or not. I see a lot of crew postings on various sailing websites. If I owned my own boat, would it be reasonable to post a request for someone experienced to skipper the boat and cruise around to build up that experience to a level I feel comfortable? Would that be something people would want to be paid for, or would there be people interested in doing that on a shared costs basis?
 

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#1: Get on a boat! There are a number of "social clubs" whose purpose is to get folks sailing. E.g. SinglesOnSailboats.
#2: Buy a little boat and sail that wherever you can.
#3: Keep reading.
 

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Like mf70 said, buy a smaller boat you are comfortable with and start sailing and learn as you go. You don't have to buy new or something made to cross oceans. Start looking around and pick something you feel like from day 1 you can handle.
 

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Freedom 39
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Cainiao, welcome to the forum. Get all the basic training you can and then get on a deliveries. Volunteer your time to assist moving boats. You will learn a bunch about different boats, what does and doesn't work and what attributes you like. If you are semi retired then why not move to where there are more boats? Find a yacht club and hang around. Somebody will eventually offer a ride.
 

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Freedom Chip Counter
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A great book that was recently recommended to me from another member on this forum is "Sailing the Serious Ocean" by John Kretschmer. Lots of great advice on crewing, sailing, safety, and different boats. He also runs passages / classes from the NE to Bermuda and the Caribbean where you can gain some great experience in rough weather.
 

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1. Move to a very sailing-centric area (I HIGHLY recommend the Seattle area)

2. Buy yourself a cheap learner boat, live on it, fix it up and maintain it

3. Sail the crap out of the thing. Start with day trips, build up to weekends, week long trips, and longer voyages. You need to live where there's ample outrageous sailing to do this, see #1

4. Once you're well experienced in sailing, navigation, fixing boats etc., then shop for the real boat.

5. Get to know the real boat, then cast off the lines and make the Big Left Turn.
 

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Buy a modest sized boat, something in the 30 to 35 foot range with a full keel and loads of interior and storage space. That's a prerequisite.

Next, find yourself a hot honey that doesn't require lots of maintenance, one that can live aboard for extended periods, knows how to cook, and enjoys sailing as much as you. If you find one, don't let anyone know or someone with a bigger boat and bankroll will try to steal her away, me included.

Then, begin taking relatively short trips, nothing longer than a week. Sail to neat places, remote places, places where you can just kick back and watch the sun go down while you both enjoy a tall, ice-cold Margaretta and some fresh caught fish on the boat's kettle grill. After a year or so, if you have not killed each other, and you still enjoy what you're doing, then head for someplace where the average temperature is above 70 degrees, and there are palm trees, sugar white sand and turquoise colored water, also prerequisites for successful cruising.

The downside is all your belongings must be able to fit in a shoe box, showers may be infrequent, and taken in both fresh and salt water. Meals, well, that solely depends upon your culinary skills and creativity.

Good luck,

Gary :cool:
 

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Bill SV Rangatira
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Hey everyone!

I'm interested getting started in sailing and cruising, but I'm not sure how to get from beginner to ocean passage level competence. I took the ASA 101 class, and I'm signed up for the 103/104 and intend to keep going with the rest of the classes on offer. But where do I go from there?

I'm an avid learner and over the years I've tried all sorts of stuff - flying, diving, languages, etc. One thing that I've found is the classes really only get you in the door to the point where you're inexperienced but theoretically know what you're doing. AKA the danger zone. There's an experience gap where I've found what you really need is to practice with someone who is 'master level', but not necessarily as a formal student/teacher relationship.

The tricky thing here is that I'm 30, single, semi-retired, and all my friends are into the whole 'career' thing. I'm also not really from an area where there is a strong nautical culture (midwest) I have the funds to buy a boat, and support myself in the cruising lifestyle indefinitely. I don't want to get in over my head by just buying a boat and heading solo into the deep blue beyond. I'm open to things like single handed cruising, but again the experience issue seems like it would be even worse there.

Does anyone have suggestions for what to do after completing all the classes in order to be a competent, capable sailor who can traverse the oceans of the globe safely and enjoyably? Obviously not gonna be a weekend project but I'm unsure as to what the next step is after classes.

I do have one idea, but I'm not sure if its reasonable or not. I see a lot of crew postings on various sailing websites. If I owned my own boat, would it be reasonable to post a request for someone experienced to skipper the boat and cruise around to build up that experience to a level I feel comfortable? Would that be something people would want to be paid for, or would there be people interested in doing that on a shared costs basis?
first question where are you located at the moment
2nd get some time on a variety of boats
get to know the cruisers in your area many a good tale heard on the dock has some truths hidden in it
3rd buy your first boat with all intentions of moving up to something bigger 3ft itis will not hurt as much if you don't have a ton of $$ invested
after you have gottent to your 3rd or 4th boat you wil know what you like and dislike in a boat ... listen to the boat you will see one and it will speak to you
 

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You are already doing the right thing, The courses are the best way to start.
The next is expierence.
Charter a boat, with friends.
or buy a smaller older boat and head out on the water, The Pacific North West is great. Its my local so I am biased.
You could by and hire a Skipper but that's expensive.
I've never done the crew finder thing as crew or skipper but it wight work for you.

If you ever find yourself in the PNW send me a PM if I'm free. I sail in the SGI.
 

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For avid learners, with good aptitude, I'm a fan of the liveaboard courses. You can take them right up through ocean passage. The real key is that you quickly put the skills you learned through immersion to use quickly, or you lose them. Volunteering for deliveries was a good suggestion. Having your own boat and sailing often can work too.
 

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.......

If you ever find yourself in the PNW send me a PM if I'm free. I sail in the SGI.
In case you're wondering... Southern Gulf Islands (BC, Canada)!

btw I'd add my vote for the PNW region for stellar, though seasonal (depending on how hardy you are) cruising. From Olympia in Puget Sound to Alaska, with BC's waters in between it's hard to beat. Relativley sheltered waters the whole way, with odd stretches of open ocean here and there. Southern US coasts have better weather but in many areas rather limited cruising potential (ie good hidey holes, harbours, secluded coves with shelter, etc.)

I think Maine would compare topographically (fewer mountains) but suffers much harsher winters. We do/can sail year round, boats stay in the water year round and winters are generally mild, though often grey and wet. Both Seattle and Vancouver have healthy year-round racing programs, another way to keep sailing through the seasons.
 
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