My family and I are new to sailing, and believe sailnet will be a useful tool for us to learn about our new passion as well as to connect us with the sailing community. We have had a journey filled with obstacles to overcome and we have decided we need a change, a new adventure! We will have many questions and we are open to all advice. Thanks for reading and look forward to posting
No boat yet, looking to learn and possibly travel to golf area and get a boat to sail in the Carribean. But that was just one idea. We are really interested in living aboard the boat. Just really starting to examine options and familiarizing myself with idea and reality of sailing
Hawaii would be a great destination, but I'd probably put that on the "bucket list" rather than the priority list. Tell us more about your family; how many of you are there? Pets? Have you tried renting a boat to see how you all like living aboard? Is the move to the Gulf a permanent thing, or is that just where you'll keep her?
There are three of us and one small dog. My husband has had some experience at sea but not on a sail boat. Myself, I am very new to the idea but I am a quick learner and very adaptable. Then we have our 5 year old who we are homeschooling, and he is very adventurous like his father And last but not least we have our little Weiner dog companion We have a friend that sailed from Costa Rica to Hawaii and that was one of our inspirations. We think that it may be more affordable to get a boat near the golf and go from there, but nothing is set in stone and we are still exploring as we feel it will take some time and preparation before we get to that point. The idea of living on a boat is amazing, small quarters don't bother us, but the chance to see life from a different angle and to go where the wind takes us is quite alluring.
I always give this advice to the newbies, as I was once and not that long ago.
Consider buying a trailer sailor in the 23 foot range. Big enough to learn on, cheap enough to leave a little gelcoat on the seascape and not worry too much, and forgiving enough to keep you dry. Many folks are adamant about learning in a dinghy so you can learn the "feel" of the boat. Meanwhile, your boy grows up and moves out. Go with a sailboat, not a dinghy. You can pick one up in the $3500 range, older but in descent condition. She can be towed or "dry sailed" at a marina. You sail your socks off and once you've made all those mistakes and scare the snot out of yourself, if you still love sailing, sell the little one and go for her big sister. If you decide that sailing is not for you (only a sane person would) you sell the little hole in the water and you're not out too much money. The maintenance and all cost associated with sailing (there are many) are manageable.
Oh, and lean it till they're screamin'. Your boy, being a boy, is or will be most thrilled by sailing if there is an apparent threat of imminent death. At 5, maybe not, but just wait. You are picking a great time to introduce the family to the life. There's a forum here just for cruising with kids. I seriously regret waiting until my youngest was 16.
Although I am among the "do it in a dinghy first" crowd, I agree with most of what Don said, especially if you live close enough to a body of water that will let you get out and sail her. We bought our Catalina 25 for $1000 (without a trailer). I had planned to keep her for a while so we put more money into her (and then she was totaled in a storm). If you know yours is just a "starter boat" you can find one in the $1,000-5,000 range, sail the heck out of her, then sell her. You'll probably be able to sell her for close to what you paid (minus any maintenance and upgrades). The 25's are nice because although the cabins are small, you can squeeze 3 in there for a week or so without it being too nasty. I think the 22's and 23's are a bit small for that, personally.
If you don't live close to a big enough lake/bay for sailing a 22-25' boat, then go the dinghy/day sail route while you plan everything else out. Learning on a small boat is great because you get instant feedback. You have to learn to read everything well, or you're going for a swim. Well, maybe not quite that bad, depending on the boat, but you get the idea. Another beauty of the small boats is that they can be easily moved from place to place, so you can explore remote areas and see how different terrain impacts air flow, including both creating wind and obstructing it.
My kids are 8 and 5, and this will be our 3rd season of boat ownership. There are many others on here who have younger kids, too. If you want to get a sense of what it's like to live aboard, check out CruisingDad's posts, and his web site. Brian is very good about sharing information, and doing so with only a hint of rose to his glasses. There are also a few good blogs about people cruising with kids.
Welcome to sailnet, and good luck with your dream. Two great posts by DonScribner and jimgo to think on. There are as many ways to learn to sail as there are boats out there to sail on. This is a great place to find answers for those questions you have on, ask away as many times as you need that's what this place is for.
Thank you all so much, it is really great to be able to read so many opinions that give me insight into our journey. I will say I already feel more confident about my family testing out the sea... and I am definitely going to check out the blogs as another resource. Now I have to formulate some questions Thank you all