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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone.

First post, please be gentle! :)

I am wondering, as per the title of the thread, what made you know you were going to enjoy being a cruiser - before you actually set off being one? By cruiser, in my mind I am thinking either round the world type cruisers or liveaboard for substantial parts of the year sailing in a given favored region (say the Caribbean). Were you a hard core weekend sailperson first who finally got tired of the 9-5 and just set off? Were you someone who just decided that it was time for a change and wanted to be free to go exploring? Did you plan for multiple years or months before setting off? How did you know you had enough skills? How did you know you wouldn't get 100 miles on your journey and not go mad from the isolation of a passage?

For myself, I have been bitten by the bug even though I have only been on a sailboat once (a 48 foot monohull) for a day trip. I have no sail skills to speak of (but am reading the Annanapolis guide to for reference). Clearly I have a lot of work to do getting some sail coursework in before ever starting on a long journey (which I would planning on taking my wife with me for).

I 'think' I would have no problem with learning the required skills. I 'think' the isolation on the open water would be enthralling, not a problem. I 'think' I am handy enough I could handle problems as they inevitably arise. Money wouldn't be an issue, time wouldn't be an issue. I KNOW I am tired of the pointless 9-5 and life sapping drudgery of a 'normal' job. I KNOW I absolutely love the idea of sailing around the world with my wife - even knowing some of the negatives (bad weather, rude customs people, pirates!, gear breakdowns, no fresh steak on the bbq, people pulling in 50 feet from you on an empty 2 mile stretch of beach etc). I believe the positives though would vastly outweigh that stuff (freedom!, friends, open possiblities, learning to be self sufficient, learning to sail, the 'coolness' and freedom again gets an extra mention).

But, none of that says 'you sound like a perfect candidate' really - it just sounds like someone who might have been bitten by the bug but has never really spent any time on a boat.

So, how can you tell? How did you tell? What could my next steps be?

I am thinking first that I maybe try and go on a charter vacation - that way I would get to experience first hand a week (or better yet two) on a boat. I am obviously looking for good things to read - the Annapolis guide for starters but will be looking for more obviously. I would obviously get lessons and start learning about gear and maintenance. I have already done a lot of thinking on what I think would make sense - to me - in terms of an ideal kind of boat anyway, that seems the easy part. Heck, this site along is filled with all kinds of great info I have been plowing through on stuff from 'all about radar' to 'how much clothes to bring'.

What other tips or tricks or thoughts can you share on knowing if this kind of plan is the right thing or just a romantic pipe dream? As mentioned, the money side of it wouldn't be a problem, the cutting the job side of things would be a dream, the skills I am pretty sure are learnable. What else do you 'need'?

Regards, and thanks for reading. :)

Yellowwducky
 

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Yellowwducky-

I would highly recommend you learn to sail...take a few ASA courses, like the basic keelboat, coastal cruising, etc.

Then join a local sailing club and get some time in on the water. Hang out and crew on the Wednesday night beer can races. See if you can help out as grunt labor on some of the maintenance/upgrade/repair projects and get your hands dirty.

Doing all this will give you the skills to handle a bare boat charter sometime next year, as well as expose you to some of the less glamourous side of cruising—boat maintenance and repair. It will also, hopefully, give you some experience on different boats.

I'd also recommend reading a few books about cruising, both practical ones like Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook, and prose ones like Cruising At Last by Elliott Merrick.

I hope this helps. :)
 

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The best advice I ever heard about building a boat applies here.

When asked for advice on building his first boat, the old sailor told him:
"Build the dingy first."

My advice on setting off around the world is:

  1. Learn the basics first, if you still like it:
  2. Go out for a day - just the two of you, if you still like it:
  3. Go out for a weekend, just the two of you, if you still like it:
  4. Go out for a week, just the two of you. . .

You probably get the idea.

Linda and I had done everything we could to the boat we loved. Fixed her up with all we could. She was a Tanzer 22 sailboat. We set off for a ten day "cruise". We came home and put her up for sale. We liked it so much we wanted more "living room"

Two summers ago (after owning our Tanzer 28 for seven years, we set out for two months on our "much" bigger boat. When we got home after two months, she went up for sale.

We now have an Irwin 34. We'll see how long this one lasts. Right now - we think probably for a long time. Are we ready to go around the world, I think not - but we are still "mini-cruisers" and loving it!

Cheers.
 

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welcome to sail net Duckie

You will find a lot of good people here.

You should try to take sailing lessons before a cruise-- you will learn much more about bigger boats if you have better idea of the basic principles of sailing. Remember cruise time on a rental yacht is Holy-Day! time and that is very different from day to day life, on or off the water.

You say that money is not a problem- my congrads on that, want to adopt me?:rolleyes: - you better edit that bit fast --the only thing more expensive and wallet draining than a yacht is a racing or jumping thourough bred....:laugher :laugher :laugher


seriously are you handy?

are you anal about details?

saftey and boat maintenance require a fair degree of both-- you won't find many marine mechanics in that lovely isolated anchorage out in the back of no where.

It is a great sport and lifestyle and not all great sailors have to go over the horizon and back-- So welcome Duck--you have just contracted a disease for which there may be no cure.....:D
 

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However, there is a treatment...and the treatment regimen is usually quite expensive...:)
 

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Welcome aboard. I think your plan of a charter in a nice place is the way to go. The MOST important element of your plan is your WIFE wanting it as much as you do. A Captained charter where you can learn on a good sized boat, live in close quarters and enjoy the sunshine and water is a great introduction and will minimize the fear factor.
You sound like YOU are a great candidate for enjoying the lifestyle. As another recommendation...suggest you get a copy of "Dragged Aboard" for your spouse.
Amazon.com: Dragged Aboard: A Cruising Guide for the Reluctant Mate: Don Casey: Books

I think you may find the subjects pretty interesting yourself!
 

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Ducky... I am in the same boat as you! After 30 years in the rat-race and 3 daughters through college, I am done and want out. We've done some sailing with others, but don't yet have our own boat. And the SO is not sure she's fully on board the plan. She's not as thrilled with the isolation as I am. But we plan to have a seasonal berth near the girls and another in the south to ease that issue. The longer trips will wait a year to give us plenty of 'quality' time on our boat.

We both plan to complete the ASA program, so if something happens to me out there, she'll know how to sail AND navigate. Another book that was recommended to me is Gently With the Tides: The Best of Living Aboard (ISBN: 087742375X). I've bought it and waiting for it to arrive. And I'll definitely get a copy of Dragged Aboard.
 

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Listen to what Cam said about your wife liking it.

I was fortunate in having an ASA instructor who told me - "Whatever you do, make sure her first time cruising with you is the most wonderful experience she has ever had. Get a comfortable boat, go to a beautiful spot and treat her like a princess. Buy her anything she wants. If she doesnt like it you arent getting a boat, so do it right the first time."

I did what he said and it worked! My wife wants to sail even more than I do (if that is possible).
 

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How did we know the "cruising lifestyle" was for us? Last summer we went sailing around the Bahamas and south Florida for a week. When we finally left the boat my wife said " A week, heck we've been out for 45 days." That's when I knew.;)

And while we're recommending books..... My wife likes the book It's Your Boat Too by Suzanne Giesemann. It's a womans view on how to really be involved in the boating experience. My wife has read it a couple of time.

Other suggestions. Read, Read, Read... Sail, Sail, Sail. Take as many classes as you can. And most of all.....Enjoy!
 

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We started with a smaller power boat. liked anchoring out and week long cruising. decided we wanted to live aboard. fuel prices shot up so we started looking at sail and all the plusses and minuses. decided to take a week long charter with a crew that understood that we were to get plenty of hands on experience. went well, especially for my wife so we bought our new home this year. this tale started in 1993, livaboard discussions started in 2000, sailboat shopping started in 2007.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Interesting replies, thanks!

Am I handy, pretty much. Am I anal about details, oh yes indeedy.

The things that concern me about this is getting it really moving. I don't want to become the guy that plans on doing all this only to do just that...plan. Get a boat, day sail, maybe do weekends and maybe 10 years later finally, maybe, actually do the trip. Slow and steady, sure, but taking 4 years to plan, 2 years to buy a boat and 6 years of offshore practicing is not my plan. For me, the whole appeal is getting away from here and getting on the trip. I know its important to get skills and get your partner the same skills, to bring spare supplies, to know how things work etc etc. I just don't want to get so bogged down in that and become the person that says 'oh, you shouldn't go out until you know how to rebuild a ham radio from spare parts from the microwave' - and I can see that kind of mentality amongst some people. Don't get me wrong, better prepared than not etc but I almost get the feeling for some its an excuse to not jump in and really do it.

Are there people that get the basics and go? I gather on forums there will always be lots of technical speak from people about their favorite aspects of sailing. But to do this, you don't have to know everything about everything do you? I mean, its a sail boat, so, if you lose an engine, you can always sail right? I don't want to learn how to weld just in case a chain link breaks, I will pay for a new chain!

Are most round the worlders long term planers or go out and do it types learning as they go? As you can imagine, I am a bit more of the later type - 'how hard can it be' as I like to say.
 

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I know how you feel ducky. My first boat was a converted perambulator. I learnt a lot from my first sail. Practical things like chewing gum was not adequate to seal the various bolt holes left by removing the wheels. Rest assured the pitch stability of a perambulator is lacking in all regards and the hood was strictly for downwind sailing. Since then I have never looked back or missed an opportunity to get wet. Being able to swim helps prolong the excitement too.
 

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Not yet being either a real sailor or a cruiser I can tell you that unless you and your wife are both "into it" it isn't going to work.

My wife and I have been married nearly 32 years. We've both had hobbies that irritated the other. Over the years, the only ones that "stuck" for both of us was ham radio, shooting guns (for fun of course), making mead and beer.

But between us we've developed a massive number of extra skills most folks don't have, like, I can sew (she can't), she can cook awesome meals out of water and worms if necessary (I can't cook much, chili, chicken and fish that's about it)... but our skills are pretty complementary.

Over all though, we get along. We have spend time in cabins, in the woods in tents and confined for days at a time traveling across county I have no idea how many times.

When we started talking about cruising, it was really her idea - not mine.

That's 90% of it :)

So... we'll know for sure in a couple of years if that's what we truly want to do.

========

As others have pointed out, taking some classes and getting out and doing it are the first steps.

We're on those steps now.

Rick
 

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YellowDucky...it can be very hard and frightening indeed. You cannot imagine this from your place on land.
That said...it does NOT take years of experience to SET OUT on the journey..staying safely inshore at first...working coastal next...taking short jumps offshore...taking longer jumps and learning to deal with bad weather/seas, learning how to fix stuff when there IS no one and no place around to pay to do it. It is ALL part of the cruising lifestyle. I would say you can buy, outfit for cruising and learn the basics you need in a year with sufficient cash and effort. After that, your next year should be spent cruising in relative safety as you become confident in your skills. Then you will have enough experience to decide which horizons you want to tackle and what type of cruising lifestyle has the most appeal to you.
I will say this to you...FORGET around the world. FOCUS on something do-able in the short term and appealing. (i.e. do the ICW in the next year, spend a winter in the Bahams, do the Ba-Ha-Ha-Ha etc.) The world will be waiting for you when you are ready for it.
 

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I' d go with Cam on this advice --You will never "know everything" before you do something for the first few times- but you should know the sailing basics and basic safety and survival skills before you go offshore--

Much like driving a car-- I do not need to know how to take apart and rebuild a tranny-- but I do need to have a basic idea of how it works, why I need it, what it can and cannot do and what I need to do to ensure it continues to function safely and efficiently-- so that I don't have to worry about it when I am driving in a winter ice storm and viasability is limited. At that point I time I need to spend my attention on other things to make a passage safely.

Does that make more sense?

We are not trying to discourage you, far from it- we are trying to make the odds be more in your favour--we want the sailing fraternity to grow and be healthy-- it is better for all of us.

Yes there are those who prepare forever and just can't seem to leave the dock--but who am I to judge? everyone follows their own path IMHO and some of those paths are convoluted and long, who cares?-- but there are just some basic things that every successful pathfinder does have to do before setting out on a successful voyage. Some do it in a shorter time, others take longer

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
NONJY, If its all the same with you, can I have your chicken instead of the wife's worms ;)

And yes, I am not judging those who like to prepare for whoever long, I just know that I want to be a doer - it isn't a saleable idea to my wife that 'lets go cruising' and then spend 2 years working on lubing a diesel engine in the harbour. She would be looking to be 'doing' as well - of course, the question is, how best to achieve that.

Its kind of like building computers - something I have done. I know friends who will spend forever debating the merits of scsi hardrives vs sata vs sas etc etc etc. They do eventually end up with a great build. I on the other hand, do my research, find out as quickly as reasonably possible what is up to the task (of course, at the poweful end) and start ordering parts. I might later find out I could have got faster via x y or z but I am doing that while on the new build. I would think that way for sailing as well - figure out boat design ideals, figure out kit ideals, have training, get going. If I then find out 'boy, I really like xyz and only have abc' guess what, I will buy it.

I would think the most dangerous bits are actually not so much passages, but docking, other boats docking (and crashing into you), anchoring (and not being good at it), getting into shallower water of any kind. At sea, with big wind, just have the minimum sails for steerage? Well, unless there really is something like 'freak waves' with regularity like I saw on a Horizon show once.
 

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Oh.....my....

"I would think the most dangerous bits are actually not so much passages, but docking, other boats docking (and crashing into you), anchoring (and not being good at it), getting into shallower water of any kind. At sea, with big wind, just have the minimum sails for steerage? Well, unless there really is something like 'freak waves' with regularity like I saw on a Horizon show once.[/QUOTE]

Sorry, I think you have that backwards...;)

ahhhhh......
 

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One of my friends who is a very seasoned bluewater sailor once said that the passages are the easy part in many ways... it only when you bring a boat close to land that you start to complicate things. As he pointed out...there's a lot more you can hit once the bottom of the ocean rises to meet the shore...boats, rocks, reefs, shoreline, piers, docks, etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ah, I just read about so much more going wrong resulting in damage at docking/reefs/anchorages. At sea, you don't hear about catastrophic sinkings quite so much - but I need to do more research it seems! I thought it was racing boats that were fragile were the ones most at risk far offshore of breakage resulting in major problems. Aside from that, I figured crunching into reefs or over/underestimating the tide on an approach to a dockage would be more risk than 'just' being in wind/waves with nothing around to hit you.

edit - you were typing that as I typed my response sailingdog! haha.
 

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What would be wrong (I know, lots) with initially purchasing an existing fully equipped (marine surveyed) live aboard situated in an existing paid up marina and testing the waters so to speak in a semi safe environment.
I suggest this in order to get on the water fast while finding out if this life style would suit a person. In the mean time one could be taking sailing and associated courses at a nearby sailing school and/or crewing neighbors boats to gain experience. You could also hire a captain or a friendly experienced neighbor to take your own boat out on short trips to get used to it until you got some experience under your belt
This is assuming that money is no problem and the better half will go along for the ride.
 
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