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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I retire in 10 yrs. my mate and I plan on cruising the Caribbean and the east and west coasts of South America for several years on a live aboard. We're both new to sailing and have only limited experience out in open ocean as passengers on charter fishing boats.

No time like the present to start preparing. We both see this as a series of small steps, the first being getting our certifications completed.
As I research this I've become aware of the ISPA, then there is the CYA, the IYA, the ASA and perhaps others. What is the difference between the organizations I've listed? The reason I ask is because there is sailing certification training through ASA for example in Florida as well as the Caribbean where we want to retire to and a training vacation in a tropical setting sounds much more appealing than the colder inside passages of BC, Canada. However what's the point if the Certification we achieve isn't recognized where we live at present and doesn't get us on our own boat here.
Once we achieved certification and confidence to at least bare boat charter in our own waters, we see ourselves sailing as much as possible each season to build our skills and achieve the competence, confidence and the required training and certifications to make long distance passages. We thought we would follow with the purchase a smaller 27 - 32' coastal cruiser in two to 3 years, mooring it somewhere on Vancouver Island or up the mainland coast of BC.
As we get closer to the big day I expect we'll know what we want in a live aboard and would purchase her two or three years before we set off, sailing farther afield, taking longer and longer trips down the pacific coast (if we buy in Canada) or in the Grenadines if we buy there. Still not sure. It's a ways away yet.
We like the idea of setting sail from BC following the North American coastline to Panama and taking the canal through to the Caribbean and Grenadines or even to linger for a few months the first year along the west coast of Central and South America. However, we can be in Grenada in a day out of YVR. Anyways, that's seven or eight years away and there's lot's we need to do first.
Who knows, sailing or the live aboard lifestyle may not be for us, but I know of only one way to find out...
We'd certainly welcome your feedback and any guidance you would care to share.
Best regards,
Cameron & Isabelle
 

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Welcome to SN dudes. You'll like the place.

My advice is to just buy a 25'-30' boat (not too small so you can weekend on it - but not too big that you're freaked), find someone who knows how to sail (like the owner you just bought it from maybe), have them take you out a few times and start learning. It's really not that hard to get started.
 

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So before I offer my thoughts, let me ask, what inspired you to have such a dream? The heart of your passion for this dream will be in that inspiration. I think it is important to think about, not to discourage you but to encourage you. There will certainly be freedom and adventure... but ultimately you are not talking about just sailing, you are talking about the sea, a boat and calling both your home. I wouldn't worry about certifications. Later on maybe, I don't know. I have sailed quite a bit and never been certified for anything. Here it is: Get a really fun and fast little boat. Like a Laser or a Hobie Cat. One for each of you. Then take them out and make them go fast for fun. Race each other! You will likely catch the bug for sailing and for all the little tricks to make the boat go with nothing but a big piece of cloth and a breeze. If you catch that bug you will become skilled out of your love for the sport not so much from any lessons you think you may need. Then you will start to look at all boats from the standpoint of how much fun they can be. As your love for sailing grows, your imagination for what you can do with these skills on the open sea will guide your choices as far as lessons or certifications you may need and the kind of boat that suits you. If you love the sea and you love to sail, it will work out beautifully. And you will have some great tales to tell... Give a shout when you pass by the Channel Islands, I'll come out and race you for a stretch!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks smackdaddy,
Kinda the way I'm leaning, but that's a couple years out. At that time when we're buying, I may see HER - "The One" resting quietly in a slip somewhere in some harbor, all forty feet of her and at first sight be smitten and no turning back.
We learned the ISPA Certification (International Sail & Power Academy) out of Parksville, BC is recognized internationally or at the very least, where we want to cruise. They say they have ASA and CYI trained instructors who hold that ISPA is as comprehensive and as it gets and is an excellent program. I guess we'll see. They contacted me immediately when I enquired about us taking the training.
I think we'll start here with a local school. I was open to taking training and certification outside of BC because we're a 7hr drive or one hour flight to the coast, or a six hour flight to Florida where I was looking at a couples sailing school and a four week live aboard sailing/training/certification adventure. (Hmmm, that still sounds so appealing..) With ISPA there's an ashore component that we can do online followed by the practical component on the water through each of the levels of competence to full Yachtmaster. It may work better for us as my Girl is a nurse and I own a business and getting away for four weeks at a stretch is well, a stretch.
By the way, you've got a beautiful boat. We both love the design of the Hunter. I keep getting drawn to that boat. They sure have beautiful interiors and lots of room.
Well, thank you and take care
Cam & Isabelle
 

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When it is time to start looking at boats I recommend reading what the gentleman has to say on the site called "Atom Voyages."


and if you are determined to get a 40 footer then look at the
bluewaterboats website.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Since I was a child I have dreamed of sailing. In my tearly twenties I moved to the coast from the interior and for five years lived on Bowen Island just to be near the sea and the marinas full of sail boats.
Life happened, I got married, moved about as far inland as you can get in Canada before you start coming out the other side and raised five wonderful children with my wife of 26 years. Our children moved away and my ex asked me to do the same. She wanted to be herself and I guess we both lost sight of who we are. We're now friends and I hope always will remain so.
We've been apart for two years and the boy at heart that I thought was long dead timidly started to come out again. I'm doing the things I love and even forgotten I loved.
Recently I started my business succession planning. "Start at the end with the beginning in mind" so I looked at where, if I could be anywhere at all and live the lifestyle I wanted to live, where would I be and what would I be doing in 10 years from now. It had to be a vision so audacious as to be almost unattainable. It came to me in a flash. There was no thinking about it. I was lounging with my love on the prow of our 40' + cruising yacht, our home, sitting at anchor in an emerald green, crystal clear bay of an uninhabited tropical island, sailing where and when we wanted.
We started to do the math. If I want to be there in ten years, what do I need to do now to live that lifestyle? Well, I can tell you I was surprised. I can actually do this. I can make this happen. When the light turned on that was it. I've been pouring over everything about sailing and live aboard cruising ever since. To say I've become obsessive might be an understatement. I feel myself there already on some level. I'm so going to do this! I believe that true success is directly proportional to the passion one has for what they're doing. Otherwise it's a shameful waste of precious time.
 

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you posted this on another board and my answer is below - but will post it here for the sake of others

if you are seriously thinking if sailing down the usa west coast to the canal and across why buy a boat to try and sell later.

as for courses, in the med there are occassions that you have to show your certificate of competence and they do accept asa. have no idea on the others and i must say asa did provide us with a firm foundation.


we were never on a sailboat until dec 2000 when on a lark we took the first asa sailing course.. liked it so much took 2 more lessons in march and the boat 3 days after the lessons. we chartered a couple of times and in 2003 bought a brand new jeanneau ds40. at the time we lived in miami and we sailed 3 weekends out of 4. we kinda learned to sail. 2007 at age 62 i retired, we got rid of everything and headed out. we have not been back. and we are still learning how to sail. we will never be great sailors but then we know a lot of sailors who are much better who can't seem to get much beyond their home port while we have sailed the east coast of the usa 3 times, bahamas twice, the western caribbean from mexico to colombia and across the caribbean to jamaica and down the eastern caribbean to trinidad the back up to antigua and across the atlantic on a 2 peron crossing. we just completed year 2 in the med. great sailors we will never be - adequate i guess would describe it. we can hold our own but will never be great.

as for a small boat in our opinion not. a few reasons.
first boats never appreciate in value and depreciate a lot and the curve is steep. how much of a loss are you willing to take?
second the market for used boats is not great. we know of a couple of people who went small and could not sell small or took a huge hit on it. how long are you willing to sit and read about those out cruising while your small boat is for sale and you sit.
third you can write off some of the cost of the as a second house and get it partly paid down while you have an income.
fourth you will get to know your boat and what works and what doesn't and what you think the boat needs and spend some time getting her ready.

good luck and lets us know if we can help in any way. in 8 years out now we have made more than a few mistakes but what a wonderful life.
 

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Very well said. If you look at Bluewaterboats.org, check out the ones that are also on the "vote for" list as many of those are also excellent candidates. And I would not discount the older plastic classics, in fact many are some of the best ever, and still are, in my opinion. I got one myself! The 60s were great years for strong, sea worthy and sea kindly boats. There are great performers like the Valiant 40, but one I'd love to sail one day is the Pearson Rhodes 41. But if I sail it I may have to buy it! I like the old school designs for the way they feel offshore. That's just me. Everyone has their preferences. I am just saying newer does not necessarily mean better. It helps to get some time in different kinds of bigger boats out in some big seas and big winds if you can. If you can't then call on the advice of those nearby who have before you buy.
 
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